More acquisitions: Comcast buys Plaxo, Ask.com buys Dictionary.com
There must be something in the water this week. While the biggest new media acquisition story of the day has to be CBS buying CNET for $1.8 billion, big companies are swallowing up smaller ones left and right. Media company Comcast is buying social networking site Plaxo for something like $150 million, while Ask.com is shelling out an undisclosed sum for Lexico, the company that runs Dictionary.com.
While there's been a lot of speculation recently that someone was going to buy Plaxo, Comcast wasn't the first company that sprung to mind. We figured a company that already has ties to the social networking space like Google or Facebook would have made more sense. In a blog post on the subject, Plaxo CEO Ben Golub says Comcast has plans to "bring the social media experience to mainstream consumers." That means using Plaxo's technology to connect with your contacts across multiple devices. And since Comcast is already in the TV, phone, and ISP business, it should be interesting to see how this plays out. Perhaps your TV viewing habits will automatically be added to your social networking profile? Yeah, we hope not.
The Ask.com/Lexico deal seems like a more natural fit. We doubt Lexico's popular web sites like Dictionary.com will disappear. Rather, Ask will be able to increase its overall web traffic by bringing the new sites into the fold.