AOL Strengthens Brand Group, Acquires gdgt

Building up its newly formed “Brand Group,” AOL has acquired electronics review site gdgt for an undisclosed sum. Last year, gdgt (pronounced "gadget") partnered with Engadget to provide structured product data to the AOL-owned tech blog.

“We got to talking further and realized that gdgt, its team, its technology, and perhaps most importantly its DNA, were a natural fit for AOL,” Gdgt co-founder Ryan Block explained in a blog post.

An AOL spokeswoman said the company was "thrilled," regarding the deal. On background, however, another company source said the deal was “tiny.”
 
The alliance is not surprising, considering that Peter Rojas, who co-founded gdgt with Block in 2009, created Engadget back in 2004. So auspicious was gdgt’s 2009 debut, that CBS and Amazon were reportedly kicking the blog’s tires within months of its launch.
 
Known for its lists -- from lists of gadgets people want to lists of gadgets people already have -- gdgt more recently repositioned itself as a gadget-ranking aggregator.
 
The site did so with a "gdgt score," which is an aggregate score compiled by weighting scores from different magazines and Web sites, and then ranking a product from 1 to 100.
 
Last week, AOL said it would manage its business by segments. Gdgt will no doubt fit into its “Brand Group,” which already includes AOL.com, The Huffington Post, local news network Patch, tech blog TechCrunch and MapQuest.
 
Thanks to healthy increases in global ad revenue, AOL reported fourth-quarter revenues were up 3.9% year-over-year -- to nearly $600 million -- which represents the company’s greatest sales gain in eight years.
 
Last year, rumors swirled that AOL was preparing to sell off TechCrunch and Engadget, along with smaller assets like TUAW and Joystiq. Denying the reports, TechCrunch said at the time they stemmed from a never-executed plan by AOL executives to turn its tech properties -- including TechCrunch and Engadget -- into a separate entity, which they would have valued at around $200 million.

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