Cheap at Twice the Price: VeriSign Buys Blogging Site
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Any web host who considers hosting a ping server should learn from Dave Winer's situation; by the time he sold Weblogs.com to VeriSign, his infrastructure could no longer handle the traffic. But now that VeriSign has it, what are they going to do with it? That's a good question.
VeriSign effectively purchased a piece of very active Internet history when it bought Weblogs.com and its ping service from Scripting News, Inc for $2.3 million. The ping server was created and developed by Dave Winer, who was also one of the pioneers behind Really Simple Syndication (RSS). For those who aren’t aware, the services are part of the larger field of “push” technology. A ping server automatically notifies users when new content is posted to a website or blog. It’s a great way to keep loyal readers informed – not to mention develop a loyal readership in the first place.
The sale solves a problem Winer was running into. At just under two million pings per day, the load on the Weblogs.com servers was getting beyond the point they could handle. It looks like, for the popular ping servers anyway, serious infrastructure is needed – and gone are the days when you could stand up a ping server as a single box on a fast business DSL connection.
There is no question that VeriSign can provide this ping server with the infrastructure it needs. The company boasts that it enables more than 14.5 billion Internet interactions each day. In North America alone, it handles more than 30 percent of e-commerce transactions, processing $100 million in daily sales. With those kind of numbers, it probably won’t even notice the extra two billion pings per day.
Okay, so we know what Weblogs is getting out of the deal. What is VeriSign getting out of the deal? To read the comments by Mark McLaughlin, senior vice president of the company’s Naming and Directory Services, the company is doing this out of the goodness of its heart. “The Internet has experienced an explosion in both the number of bloggers and the number of daily RSS feeds from bloggers over the past 12 to 24 months, but the infrastructure to support that level of Internet communications has not kept pace. VeriSign is uniquely positioned to provide the scalable, secure infrastructure that the blogosphere needs. Purchasing the ping server architecture of Weblogs.com enables VeriSign to continue supporting the vast numbers of Internet communications and improve the experience of millions of Internet users.” That sounds nice, but I’m certain there’s more to it than that.
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