November 1, 2007
coRank is a site where anyone can create their own social news site. Kind of like a Blogger for creating Digg-like sites instead of blogs. Well, you can also create sites that have little to do with Digg, but the Digg-cloning feature seems to be one of the most widely used.
Meneame is the most popular Digg clone in the Spanish speaking world, with many stories reaching hundreds of meneos (the Meneame equivalent to diggs), something unusual for 99.9% of all Digg-like sites out there. Also, it was released as Open Source, which in fact was the foundation of a project you may be more familiar with: Pligg. In other words, Pligg originally used Meneame’s open source.
Both stories came from the same source, backed up by some solid facts that unfortunately have to be kept under the rug. Regardless, after some further investigation, where my High School Spanish came in very helpful by the way (I asked for help from my friend Pablo anyway) there were some more indications that the tip was right on the money.
Regarding Meneame, it has been publicly, but not officially, confirmed by their founders that they’re having talks with Digg. Ricardo Galli, co-founder of Meneame, was caugh here saying (in Spanish, loose translation follows):
… we are trying to find a collaboration point with Digg. Martin has already met twice with them. So far it seems there is mutual interest but there are some long and hard meetings pending.
Benjami Villoslada (the other Meneame co-founder) leaves no doubt when he later goes (again in Spanish):
Early September they already told us they were interested in Meneame
Thanks guys! That’s all we needed to know! Acquiring Meneame would be the first known international attempt by Digg to reach a non-English audience, and it’s clear that Digg is thinking about moving in that direction.
As for coRank, we were not able to catch any loose comment from them as straight forward as those from the Meneame guys, and an email sent to them went unanswered, but we did find this (again, original is in Spanish) from coRank founder RBA:
Today I had a chance to chat with Kevin Rose. I don’t think is prudent to comment what we talked regarding Digg’s future plans, but if I could put it in one word, that would be “holy shiiiit!”
Now, that statement proves nothing other than RBA and Kevin had a chance to chat, something they could do in the hallways of a conference, and we don’t know if that “holy shit” was because RBA was so excited from the prospect of being acquired, because what he and Kevin talked about scared the shit out of him, or because he simply loved Digg’s future plans.
However, this also makes a lot of sense, especially considering the recent Jay Aldelson’s declarations to The Guardian regarding the possibility of a Digg white-labeling. Despite Jay tried hard to be as vague as possible, it’s clear that Digg is definitely looking into this space, and right now the only company allowing people to do their own “Diggs” is coRank (there is Pligg, but that’s an Open Source package, not a service being offered by a company).
Now if I were coRank I would be careful. While an acquisition does make sense, it also seems logical that Digg attempts getting into this space going solo, in which case Digg might just be learning from coRank’s experience.
Bottom line: Companies talk to each other all the time, and Digg might be talking to another 10 or 20 companies at this time. So what? The main reason we believe this is significant is not by speculating that Digg might acquire such or such company, but because these talks do confirm that Digg is interested both, in going international and in getting into the white label arena. And that is significant.
August 26, 2007
Remember Pligg – the site – went up for sale not long ago? Well, despite its bumpy road towards a sale, after the listing received amost 5,000 views, only 8 bids have been made, and apparently, none of them has been good enough for the current owners of the site, because one bidder told us that they are sending a counter-offer, asking for $150,000.
Overpriced? A steal? The point is, what’s for sale here is mainly a domain and a community of 10,000 users (no word about how many of them can be considered “active users”). Say the domain itself has a value of no more than $5,000 (and we feel that’s already generous), asking for $150k is pricing each member of the Pligg community just below $15 per user.
That’s not cheap.
August 12, 2007
It seems that many people are not very clear about what’s for sale and not in the sale of Pligg.com.
Of course, those familiar with the Pligg history shouldn’t wonder, but it seems that the majority of people aren’t.
The Affero license is a modified version of the GNU General Public License. Whether you’re familiar with any of these licenses or not, the basic premise that affects this deal is that you must release your own derivative works under the original license.
In short, this means that regardless of what the Pligg team includes in the package, you will not be able to own the Pligg code, make it proprietary or hold copyright rights over the code.
Is that a bad thing? Well, that depends on what you want. Becoming the controller of an open source project is not a bad thing. In fact, it could be a very good thing. My fear is that many people simply don’t understand a thing about the license, or what they’re bidding on (as this comment proves) and the code might end up in the hands of some clueless deep-pockets ignorant that could do more damage to the project than anything else.
Let’s hope that’s not the case.
August 12, 2007
The minumum bid is $25,000 at this moment. But bidders beware. The CMS itself is not for sale. Only the domain, the software that runs the pligg.com site and the community behind it (about 10,000 users) is. So what you’re bidding on is a business – or the chance to start one – that gives support to a Open Source CMS.
Would Digg buy it? Doubtful. Why would they need such a thing? Any other popular social news site? Also unlikely. How about the only competitor to Pligg I know of? It doesn’t make sense to me. Some media outlet? Why would they need a developer community site? The most valuable asset of this whole thing is the software itself, precisely the only thing that’s not for sale.
Am I worried that the winning bidder may be someone who actually believe they’re purchasing the software itself? You bet! Hopefully the winning bidder will be someone who knows what they’re doing and with experience running a developer oriented website, but there are many idiots out there loaded with cash and anything could happen.