Blog network Weblogs, Inc. sold to AOL in October 2005, for a reported $25 million. I was in San Francisco when it happened, at the Web 2.0 Conference. The morning the deal went public, I remember founder Jason Calacanis arriving at the conference with a smile as wide as the Cheshire Cat himself. He positively glowed, while basking in the congratulations and praise from fellow entrepreneurs at the event. Come to think of it, I've rarely seen Jason Calacanis without a smile on his face. It's usually a mischievous one too, because he likes to be the center of attention.
An excerpt from Dan Frommer's Rise of the Tech Bandits:
"After the crash, the Web 2.0 boom in the mid-2000s gave birth to a new batch of media startups running cheap publishing software and network ads. Free of expenses like copy editors, design staffs or Midtown offices, they told Silicon Valley’s inside story, started breaking big news and quickly caught on.
The most famous, of course, is TechCrunch, the site founded in 2005 by former attorney Mike Arrington and operated for years out of his house in Silicon Valley. (AOL bought TechCrunch in 2010 for more than $25 million.) Mashable also launched in 2005, the creation of 19-year-old Scottish kid Pete Cashmore, now drawing more readers than TechCrunch and, reportedly, with acquisition interest from CNN.[...]
The Web was finally covering itself better than its print counterparts — and independently."
The Weblogs, Inc. sale was the first high profile acquisition of a blogging business, setting the scene for future blog acquisitions like The Huffington Post, Ars Technica, TechCrunch and PaidContent. Calacanis wasn't even a pro blogger. Rather, he was the CEO of a wide-ranging network of blogs that began in September 2003. The most high profile blog under his stewardship was Engadget.