In a play that helps move RSS into the mainstream, VeriSign bought Weblogs.com and its ping service. The announcement, made on Friday, unites the tiny company, run by Dave Winer, one of the creators of the RSS protocol, with a company that enables over 14.5 billion Internet interactions each day.
VeriSign said the goal is to provide more stable and reliable communications for the Internet's blogosphere.
"The Internet has experienced an explosion in both the number of bloggers and the number of daily RSS feeds from bloggers over the past 12 to 24 months, but the infrastructure to support that level of Internet communications has not kept pace," Mark McLaughlin, senior vice president of VeriSign's naming and directory services, said in a statement.
Neither VeriSign nor Scripting News responded to requests for comment.
Weblogs.com was the first ping server, accepting notifications when new content is posted in the RSS format, then sending that information to subscribers of those sites' or blogs' RSS feeds.
Weblogs.com handles around 2 million pings each day and supports thousands of daily RSS feeds. By migrating Weblogs.com's ping service to VeriSign's, the companies said, VeriSign will be able to offer RSS users a sturdy and "intelligent" platform.
VeriSign said it would continue to operate Weblogs.com as an openly available service, greatly benefiting the entire blogosphere from individual bloggers to value-added feed applications, such as blog search services.
VeriSign purchased Weblogs.com from Scripting News, the consulting company run by Dave Winer, for $2.3 million in cash.
On his blog, Scripting News, Winer wrote that while an individual or small company was best for starting a new service, eventually a bigger company needs to step in.
Winer wrote that bootstrapping a company such as Weblogs.com requires inspiring trust in users, and that's easier for an individual.
On the other hand, running a service that huge companies such as Google or Microsoft can rely on isn't something he wanted to attempt.
"I think VeriSign is the perfect company to do it," he wrote.
While VeriSign is best known for its security and DNS services, the company's strategy is to place itself into the middle of all kinds of transactions and interactions by providing what it calls "intelligent infrastructure" for both voice and data networks.
Its Internet Services Group handles not only naming and addressing, but also authentication, payments and managed security.
Its Communications Services Group manages SS7 and IP connectivity, billing and payments, network mediation and also mobile content. Last year, the company bought mobile game developer Jamba.
It's been moving into Voice over IP, mobile commerce, RFID infrastructure and multimedia messaging.
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