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VeriSign Enters Blogosphere With Weblogs Purchase

The $2.3 million deal put Verisign into the infrastructure business for delivering blog updates.
VeriSign Inc. on Friday said it has bought Weblogs.com for $2.3 million in cash from Scripting News Inc., launching Verisign into the infrastructure business for delivering blog updates.

The deal gets Mountain View, Calif.-based, VeriSign Weblogs.com's ping servers that automatically notify subscribers when new content is posted to a Web site or blog. The notification is usually sent via an RSS feed to a newsreader.

VeriSign bought Weblogs.com from Dave Winer, owner of Scripting News and a pioneer in the development of the blogosphere and RSS, or Really Simple Syndication. RSS is an Internet distribution format based on extensible markup language.

Weblogs.com has been a free service used my most blog software. Web services like Bloglines, Feedster and Technorati monitor Weblogs.com for the latest blog postings. Weblogs.com is unrelated to Weblogs Inc., which was bought this week by America Online Inc.

VeriSign plans to continue operating Weblogs.com as a free service, Patrick Burns, a spokesman for the company, said.

VeriSign is no stranger to Internet infrastructure. The company runs the naming and directory services for .com and .net, under contract with the Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers. VeriSign handles 14 billion Web and email look-ups each day.

In buying Weblogs.com, VeriSign recognized that better infrastructure was needed to handle the increasing number of blogs. The service handles nearly 2 million blog updates a day, which is about half of the amount six months ago, according to Burns.

"We expect this to continue," Burns said. "So Bloggers and readers of blogs can't continue to have a good experience without a more stable infrastructure."

Indeed, in the first quarter of the year, 50 million people in the United States visited blogs, which amounted to 30 percent of the total online population, according to Web metrics firm ComScore Networks. Fully 45 percent more people visited blogs in the first quarter than in the same period a year ago.

VeriSign expects to make money later offering services on top of Weblogs.com's core service, Burns said. Besides the ICAAN contract, VeriSign also makes money processing e-commerce transactions on the Web. The company claims to handle 34 percent of all such transactions.