This is sad, and I have to wonder what the motivations behind it might have been.
About a year ago, Google bought Feedburner, an RSS tracking system that did a very nice job of creating advertising revenue for RSS powered content. Google announced they'd shut it down a few days ago.
Why would Google spend a reported $100M on a company and then, a year later, shut it down? I don't think they transferred that business to their adsense network (Allen Stern, in the video above, agrees with me here).
I suspect this was an example of a big company seeing that a small company had something very innovative, were first movers and were creating an 'alternative' ad network to adsense on Google.
Having worked in some really big companies I've seen this kind of behavior over and over so it's possible I'm being overly cynical ... Maybe I'm giving Google too much credit for thinking into the future and being a little bit evil here. But, maybe not.
I'm effectively saying that Google bought Feedburner with the intention of, eventually, shutting it down. They did it in a way that bought off the digitari so their image as 'not like other big companies' would be held intact. Feedburner folks and it's investors were well paid and, in the end, that's what makes for a lot of positive buzz in the blogosphere. I find this to be the goodness part of this. Unlike some companies that smash small startups that might threaten them, this IS, in a oddly mercenary way, a 'nice' way to shut down a budding competitor.
I still think it's sad though. Dick and gang put a lot of mental horsepower and hard work into creating a great company and a compelling product. I'm sorry to see it go.
The good news is without a similar product that provides similar functionality and monitization levels to take it's place at Google (adsense is not that product) someone, somewhere, can now do it again.
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