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Facebook scoops up Storylane in acqui-hire move

Blogging platform launched in October as a way for users to share meaningful content

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
March 9, 2013
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/2e03

(Updated to reflect comment from Facebook)

Facebook is good for a lot of things. It's the best photo album in the world, and best way to asynchronously have conversations and games with friends. Blogging, though... not so much. Sure, there are "notes" you can write, but they aren't organized and they don't have much visual appeal. That might be changing after a key talent purchase made by Facebook yesterday.

The team at blogging platform Storylane will be joining Facebook, company founder Jonathan Gheller announced in a Storylane story Friday.  The site is no longer allowing for new sign-ups and there is no indication as to when the service will officially end.

Given that Storylane just launched in October, it seems obvious that this is another one of Facebook's acqui-hires. 

"After a lot of discussions with Facebook about how our teams might work together to have even greater impact, we are announcing today that the Storylane team will be joining Facebook," Ghellar wrote.

"This is an exciting opportunity. Facebook’s mission of connecting the world has always been at the center of our work, and like our friends at Facebook, meaningful connections are what our team is most passionate about."

In the post, Ghellar noted that users will have access to the stories that they have written, and that the stories will not be automatically shared with Facebook.

"The beautiful stories you have decided to share with us are yours to keep and share in however way you want," he said. Instead, Storylane is "building tools that will help you migrate the content to other services if you so desire."

“The team from Storylane will be an incredible addition to Facebook. Their previous work showcasing real identity through sincere and meaningful content will make them a perfect fit at Facebook," a Facebook spokesperson told VatorNews.

Palo Alto-based Storylane launched in October 2012 as a way for users to share meaningful content with each other. 

 “It is the difference between just communicating and truly sharing and self expressing,” he says. "It's about sharing things that really matter to people," Ghellar said in an interview with VatorNews at the time.

Storylane worked in a similar way to Medium, the publishing platform from Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone that launched in August.

Medium organizes posts into collections with a theme and a template. Collections include This Happened To Me, which is a collection of crazy stories, or When I Was a Kid, which features pictures of users as children.

Storylane acted as more of a social site than Medium, though, as users are encouraged to follow each other, in order to get to know their friends better, as well as strangers.

When users signed up they were then asked a series of questions, such as "what are the most important lesson you've learned in life?" or "Where was your favorite vacation?" which are meant to illicit a deeper response from the user than on a typical social media platform. The user becames a "storyteller," and is prompted to share his or her life. 

On Storylane, people are meant to feel like they are part of a community, Gheller said in the interview.

The site has 12 verticals: pets, life, politics, work, DIY & hobbies, people, sports & leisure, writings, fashion & style, places, science & tech, and other. 

Facebook acqui-hires

Facebook has made three acqui-hires in the last year.

In May 2012 Facebook made an acqui-hire when it purchased mobile social discovery app Glancee for an undisclosed amount in May.

Glancee works on top of Facebook, so in order to use Glancee, you have to sign on using Facebook Connect. By signing into Facebook Connect, Glancee takes your "likes" and compares them to other people's "likes" to find matches and similarities. People with similar interests are then shown to one another, depending on location.

In August, Facebook acquired the team at Threadsy, the operator of social marketing tool Swaylo. 

San Francisco-based Threadsy was founded in 2008. It began as a tool for users to see all of their feeds from various social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, in one place.

After shutting down in November 2011, the company shifted to focusing on Swaylo, a service for people to find out their audience and reach on social media. The service was similar to the one offered by Klout, which scores a user’s “social media influence,” based on 400 different variables.

Most recently, in October, Facebook hired Dwight Crow and Christopher Berner, the creators of used car price comparison website Carsabi.

Facebook has acquired around 40 founders through acquisitions and of those, only a few have left:

  • Brett Taylor, co-founder of FriendFeed, which was purchased by Facebook in August 2009 for $50 million. Taylor left in June to start his own company with Facebook engineer Kevin Gibbs.
  •  Paul Buchheit, co-founder of FriendFeed, who left to become a venture capitalist at Y Combinator.
  • Carl Sjogreen, founder of travel recommendation website Nextstop, left in July. His company was purchased by Facebook in July 2011 for an undisclosed amount.
  • Sam Odio left in June 2011, a little over a year after his company, Divvyshot, was purchased by Facebook in April 2010.

(Image source: http://www.storylane.com)


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