Facebook has just issued a press release confirming its acquisition of the social-sharing site FriendFeed.
As a result, FriendFeed's staff will integrate with Facebook, and its four founders will assume "senior roles" at the company. So far, no financials have been disclosed or made up by tech bloggers.
A couple of things are funny about this acquisition. Let's start with wording.
Perhaps this is just me, being a wordswoman and all, but I found it comical to read the headline on Facebook's press release: Facebook Agrees to Acquire Sharing Service FriendFeed [emphasis mine]. Agrees? Was there begging involved? Perhaps FriendFeed aggressively Poked Facebook until the company consented to the purchase? Or maybe Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a hasty bet during a beer pong game with FriendFeed's co-founder Bret Taylor. If I lose, I'll buy you.
Weirder than the verbiage is why Facebook has made this acquisition at all. Some bloggers are gleefully citing the "obvious" synergies between the sites. It's true. Both are great places to waste time, stalk people, make capital-F Friends, and write narcissistic rants. Also cited are the ways Facebook has recently made itself more FriendFeed-esque with its "Like" feature and real-time microblog.
The difference between the two sites is their traffic. This Compete graph below will show you that Facebook has a lot of activity and FriendFeed is as active as my dead grandmother:
So, from Facebook's perspective, why the purchase?
Facebook and FriendFeed both claim to be impressed with each other's simplicity and passion for sharing. "Since I first tried FriendFeed, I've admired their team for creating such a simple and elegant service for people to share information," said Zuckerberg in a statement.
According to FriendFeed's co-founder, Taylor, "As my mom explained to me, when two companies love each other very much, they form a structured investment vehicle..."
Save for the exciting new names we can come up with (FriendFace, FaceFeed, yours here), this purchase seems unnecessary, and hardly monetizable, if Facebook already has the userbase and the ability to create the technology in-house -- which it's proved by releasing features that mimic FriendFeed's Functionality. Rob Salkowitz reported here that social aggregators are some of the most difficult Web services to profit from. With this buy, Facebook may have inherited another boulder to drag along on its crawl toward profitability.
And on that note, have you yet taken our poll asking which CEO of a Web 2.0 company should step down? Good old Zuck may have just made this too easy.
— Nicole Ferraro, Site Editor, Internet Evolution