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BOOMj merges with Time LendingTechcrunch is reporting this morning that real estate sales company Time Lending California has acquired social networking site Time Lending admits that it deals in "direct marketing" and is a site aimed at the Baby Boomer (and older) generation. Let's connect the dots, shall we?

Since it's not likely that social networking is part of Time Lending's business model, what other reason could they have for buying BOOMj? An opt-in mailing list full of sitting ducks, perhaps? According to a press release, the merger (or acquisition, depending on which section of the release you read) will provide "shareholder value," give the company "access to capital markets," and "enhance (their) visibility and market awareness."

What's in it for the registered members of BOOMj? Well, according to the privacy policy, they can expect to receive "product offerings" from collected account information. Whee!

It seems to us that Time Lending just bought itself a pretty darn detailed mailing list.

Neither company has done anything wrong, of course. In fact, if touting its products is Time Lending's intent, it's actually a rather brilliant move since all the information they acquire from the BOOMj's members is strictly opt-in -- no one forced them to provide it.

Our concern is a little more broad than that, however. These days, it costs next to nothing to toss together a Web site aimed at a certain segment of Internet users -- underwater tent building enthusiasts, for example. Get a few hundred thousand people with something in common to sign up for "social networking," collect some general information along the way and -- BAM -- you're a cherry of a Web 2.0 mailing list, ripe for the plucking by groups looking for a new way to reach consumers.

If the sale of BOOMj to a marketing company is a sign of things to come, we'll ditch our social networking accounts and find another way to keep up with our friends.

Tags: acquisition, boomj, lending-time, merger, privacy, social-network