The rumors have actually been flying for quite some time that Bloglines was on the verge of an acquisition, but they've apparently reached the stage where most people assume it's a done deal, thanks to a post by Mary Hodder announcing that AskJeeves had answered Bloglines' questions about an acquisition. AskJeeves had been named more loudly in rumors starting last week, but now everyone assumes it's a done deal. I'd been trying to hold off commenting until there was some sort of confirmation, but why let a little confirmation spoil the party? First off, this isn't that surprising. Lots of companies and venture capitalists have clearly been buzzing around Bloglines (and a few other small, but very very hot startups) over the past year or so. Selling out serves two purposes. One, it helps Bloglines get additional resources without getting into the whole VC grind, and secondly it should bring in more users to Bloglines at a time when other RSS aggregators are starting to get more attention (though, for some bizarre reason, very few seem to work all that well). The fear, of course, is that AskJeeves will end up ruining Bloglines in some manner, though, one hopes they realize that the faster they ruin Bloglines, the faster they would push competitors to develop a compelling competing offering. Instead, maybe they'll treat Bloglines more along the lines of how they treated MyWay when they bought it -- recognizing that its audience wasn't going to take it if they took away what was good. Instead, Ask has used MyWay as simply another way to drive traffic to their search engine. Also, Bloglines' Mark Fletcher has said in the past that he built Bloglines to be useful for himself, and he wouldn't want to sell it if he couldn't guarantee that he'd still be able to keep it useful for himself. Here's hoping that Bloglines remains useful to Mark, because that should mean it's useful for the rest of us, as well.
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