Why did Yahoo Buy Summly? Part One

On the 25th of March, 2013, Yahoo publicly announced a purchase. Yahoo bought a small ISV by the name of Summly. The acquisition made the front page of the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and lots of other publications. The most interesting point about the acquisition for the general public is the age of the CEO of Summly. The CEO, Mr. Nick D’Alosio, is 17 years old and, as of now, likely a millionaire.

But we didn’t find much interesting about this point. The US and most of the western world is rather taken up by youth, but we don’t share their fascination. We were after a real answer to the question of what Yahoo found so compelling about this company to justify an acquisition.

A visit to the Summly web site produces no information of any significance. But a visit to the cached web page for the company with Google did reveal a lot of useful information:

  1. Summly won the “Innovative Touch” award for 2012 from Apple for iPhone Apps. But what does “innovative touch” mean? We found some equally obscure descriptive information on this topic at iPhoneLife, something about ” . . . apps that use new forms of gestures and unusual ways of interacting with content.” (quoted from the iPhoneLife web site)
  2. The Headline banner on the old Summly site reads “Pocket sized news for the iPhone” and, just below, “News you want. Now” — OK, but what’s the big deal about these benefits? After all, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of news apps for iOS to choose from, almost all of which offer a summary feature

There is even a video on the cached site, and, yes, it does work.

This short video told us a lot.

Summly is a curation tool like Newsisfree, or one we liked a whole lot but can’t use lately, Eqentia. We like these tools quite a bit. We also agree with the point made in the short video: there is just too much “drivel” (quoted from the video) out there to put two and two together, successfully, on most topics. Curation tools are useful to get to the point you’re after at a more rapid pace than pushing through a lot of useless content.

In the next post to this blog we’ll dig further on this one.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved

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