Yahoo! Buys BuzzTracker for $5m

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This Week on Rev2 (TWOR) - 15th September 2007

BuzzTrackerYahoo!, into Day 59 of its 100 day Jerry Yang-rethinking-strategy, announced that it is acquiring Buzz Tracker and Chicago-based parent company Participate Media for a reported sum of $5 million. Buzz Tracker is a blog meme aggregator a la TechMeme which tracks the latest buzz in the blogosphere across an number of categories.

For Yahoo!, this is more of a talent-scoup than a technology-scoup. Alan Warm, Participate Media’s CEO, will be joining Yahoo! as Vice President and General Manager to run the Yahoo! News division. Warms also plans to use Yahoo!’s existing technology and partnerships to augment BuzzTracker’s efforts to ‘millions of users and thousands of advertisers.’

Yahoo! has long been on the lookout for someone to lead its 60-person Yahoo! News team. They also reportedly talked to a number of players in the area before coming to the decision, including True Ventures-backed Sphere, who reportedly gave too outrageous valuations for the sale to get through (a sign of VC dominance?).

Yahoo! News, which currently gets an excess of 35 million unique visitors per month, will be going through a series of changes in the coming months. The purchase of BuzzTracker will also enable it to promote more third-party content providers rather than news from its own properties.

$5 million is a fairly good price for Buzz Tracker, which itself has failed to gain any buzz (when compared to competitors like TechMeme and Memorandum, which are hailed at in the blogosphere.) One wonders why Yahoo! made the choice that it did, but we can wait and see as to its outcome on Yahoo! News and the implementations that result.