His name is Cashmore, but is his company cashable? Might Mashable, the number one Social Media Blog in the world entertain an offer from AOL? Already having acquiring Endgadget but having lost its high-techie appeal over the years, AOL needs something like Mashable to distinguish itself in the social media space - a territory that has up till now eluded them.
Mashable not only ranks number 5 on the Technorati TOP 100 list, in July according to Compete, Mashable grew 127% over 2008 to attract more unique visitors than Techcrunch (ranked #3 on the Technorati list) . At the end of last May, Mashable came in at an estimated 1,899,380 pageviews versus Techcrunch’s 1,862,612. A difference of only 36,768 pageviews. Not a big number in the grand scheme of things, but significant enough to pique the interest of AOL.
Tim ArmstrongAOL's CEO Tim Armstrong seems focused on acquiring content-based companies, after its nasty split with Time-Warner last year. Mashable not only excels at writing content that ranks high on Google's SERPs, but it's also tightly knit to social networks like Twitter and Facebook.
Almost all posts on Mashable are retweeted a minimum of 300 times or more, sometimes several thousands. To put that statistic in perspective, the most retweets I have ever received on any one of my posts was 830, but my average retweet quotient per post is slightly less than 50.
The number one factor behind Mashable's meteroic rise in just five short years falls squarely on the shoulders of its 24-year old wunderkind founder, Pete Cashmore. Having just been crowned the most influential Twitter user, Mashable now tallies over 1.9+ million followers on the microblogging site, ranking his persona in the same stratosphere as celebs like Ashton Kutcher, P Diddy, Oprah and Stephen Fry.
Gawker first broke the AOL story on January 6, but I waited until today to post my findings hoping that thePete Cashmore and Robert Scoble rumors would lead to fact. Up till the time of this posting, no one is confirming or denying the leak. Even noted Silicon Valley tech blogger Robert Scoble was surprised by the news. He posted this tweet on Twitter as soon as he heard: "My sources confirm that Mashable is being sold to AOL. Trying to get more details now."
Once called the "Brad Pitt of the Blogoshpere," Pete Cashmore has admitted to having gone to "first or second base with (some) companies and flirted with others, but isn't about to close a deal."
According to the Business Insider, Pete is presently portraying himself as 'hard to get.'
- "We’re very open to partnerships and always talk with those that get in touch. We’ve certainly spoken to lots of potential partners, some of those conversations more significant than others. But I don’t feel that any of those conversations reached a point at which Mashable is likely to cease being independent."
The operative word here is "likely". And Cashmore is wise to continue to play coy while being pursued. I am sure with each passing day, the potential acquisition pricetag of his company rises accordingly. On the flip of this, Cashmore may be privately negotiating for a sale that allows "Mashable" to remain independent and still be controlled by him.
With AOL currently trading at $24.62, I am certain that the company would love to have the Cashmore GQ appeal give its stock shares a boost. Whether the Mashable deal materializes is presently a very big question mark. However, this wouldn’t be AOL’s first blog acquisition. The company acquired Weblogs recently and in 2005, it took ownership of another prominent technology blog, Engadget. If the Mashable deal happens, AOL just might resurrect itself, and regain its street cred as the Web's "king of content."