Don't call it a social play, but AOL has acquired personal profile network About.me. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but they must be modest -- considering that the startup literally launched less than a week ago.
Quite simply, About.me lets anyone quickly build a personal "splash page," including a profile, email address, and links to online channels from Facebook and LinkedIn to Flickr and Twitter. "About.me is one of those 'duh, why hasn't someone done that' type of ideas," according to founder Tony Conrad. "While a simple concept, it's clear that it has struck a nerve given the accelerating adoption."
Indeed, since the site began letting people reserve personalized urls back in September - for example, say, about.me/john -- over 400,000 sites have been created, TechCrunch reported earlier this week.
A serial entrepreneur, Conrad actually sold his last company, search service Sphere, to AOL in 2008.
Still, might it have been wise for About.me to remain independent for just a little while longer? Say, for two weeks? Not at all, insists Conrad.
"We are joining Aol at an opportune time," he said in a blog post. "Aol is doing what great, sustainable business do every so often -- they're reinventing themselves. As the business model of the oldest and one of the most venerable Internet businesses evolves, about.me becomes an important piece of their strategy to reach across and engage the web."
According to Conrad, About.me will fall under the direction of Brad Garlinghouse, president of Consumer Applications at AOL. "We think it's a huge advantage to ... become part of a suite of communication (AIM, Aol Mail) and community driven (Patch, Seed) services," said Conrad. "This is truly a win-win for our users, investors, team and Aol."
Prior to AOL stepping in, the company had raised a reported $425,000 in angel funding.
Amid a rapidly evolving digital landscape, AOL has pursued an aggressive acquisition strategy over the past year. In November, AOL said it had spent $97 million during the third quarter to buy tech blog network TechCrunch, social media startup Thing Labs, and mostly, online video distributor 5min Media.
Earlier this year, AOL launched its social networking aggregator Lifestream as a stand-alone product.
Lifestream lets users view status messages and posts from "friends" on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, YouTube and other popular platforms as a single stream. As a stand-alone service, Lifestream added updates from Foursquare and MySpace.