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Why About.me was acquired by AOL for millions four days after launch

Published: Feb 12, 2011 4:15 pm

Why About.me was acquired by AOL for millions four days after launch

About.me is an online profile aggregator that attempts to be the go to spot for finding peoples online identities. For about 3 and a half months About.me was in private beta, and you had to have an invitation to sign up. Four days after About.me opened up to the public, they were acquired by AOL. it surprised a lot of people to hear that AOL was going to acquire the four month old company for several million dollars. Reports on the deal varied from $1.3m to $10m.

A lot of tech pundits were caught off guard with the acquisition, but I believe there are three key reasons why About.me was able to succeed so quickly.

1. Demonstrated traction:
In 3 months About.me had a little under half a million people signed up for their invite only beta. Their average rate of signups was over 100,000 users a month. Active users talk, b.s. walks.

2. Provide Value:
Anyone can buy a domain with $5 hosting and throw together their own personal website, but About.me allowed users to be up in running in no time with an artsy page. It didn’t try to do to much, but it nailed it’s (admittedly narrow) focus of being a fun hub to your social graph.

3. They leveraged their connections:
A large part of their successes was being able to get big names on board quickly. Leo Laporte and Kevin Rose were some of their biggest supporters out of the gate for example.

Why do you think? Did I miss any reasons to About.me’s success?

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Hi, I'm Paul Hontz.

I'm a YC alumn and I love startups. I created TSF to highlight companies I find interesting. You can learn more about me here.

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