The founders of About.me, a site for creating personal home pages, have bought their company back from AOL, Nick Bilton at the New York Times reports.
AOL bought About.me in 2011 for ~$25 million, according to our sources. There is no word on the price About.me’s founders are paying, but Tony Conrad, one of the founders, told Bilton it was a fraction of the price AOL paid.
Conrad explained the decision to Bilton saying, “I think we can build it so much faster, and so much better, by making it independent again … There’s no obvious leverage in being part of the AOL media network, and there’s no synergy and integration.”
From AOL’s perspective, About.me was just a cost-centre, says Bilton. It wasn’t investing in the property and it didn’t really fit. Two years ago, AOL was pursing a dual strategy. It was leaning into digital media while still experimenting with more software products. It tried to revamp instant messenger. It has offices out West.
Lately, it has pulled back on the software strategy. It’s basically cut the instant messenger staff to zilch. As such, About.me didn’t fit anywhere at AOL.
About.me sale to AOL was a surprise at the time. It had only existed as a standalone product for a week before AOL snapped it up.