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Last Updated: Friday, 7 October 2005, 13:50 GMT 14:50 UK
AOL to buy leading blog company
AOL website
AOL is keen to expand into other areas beyond its core business
AOL, the world's largest internet services provider, has agreed to buy leading web journal firm Weblogs Inc.

The deal will add 85 new websites to AOL's network, including contributions from more than 100 freelance bloggers.

The agreement, which is expected to be completed next week, will turn Weblogs into a subsidiary of AOL, but with full editorial control and independence.

AOL has not said how much it will pay, but unnamed sources told news agencies the deal was worth $25m (14.1m).

'Citizen media'

Weblogs is one of the more successful attempts to bring together a stable of individual blogs in order to attract mainstream advertising, analysts say.

It includes consumer technology blog Engadget, rated by blog search and indexing site Technorati as the third most popular web journal in terms of links from other sites.

Weblogs chief executive and co-founder Jason Calacanis described the tie-up as "a milestone in the development of citizen media".

The deal is AOL's third acquisition in three months, after it bought software company Wildseed and online data storage firm Xdrive in August.

AOL has 21 million subscribers in the US, with a further six million in the UK, France and Germany through AOL Europe.

'Ping service'

In another sign of the growing attraction of blog firms, domain name provider Verisign has bought the similarly-named but entirely separate company Weblogs.com for $2.3m.

Unlike the company bought by AOL, Weblogs.com is not a content provider but a "ping service" - that is, a service that alerts subscribers to new postings on their favourite blogs and other websites.

Veteran blogger Dave Winer, who created the service in 1999, said he had decided to sell it because he felt Verisign was the perfect company to handle it.

"This is the perfect example of individual innovators (myself in this case) working with large companies in ways that leverage the strength of both," he wrote in his blog, Scripting News.

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