The best ideas are almost always the simple ones, and are usually the hardest to come up with and execute effectively! MyBlogLog, a barebones social network with huge appeal and upside for bloggers, clearly did both and was rewarded with a $10 million acquisition by Yahoo!
In relation to the inflated valuations we’ve seen recently, I think this is a pretty smart, if not risk-free, acquisition. I’m a big fan of MyBlogLog because it’s a simple and clean tool that appeals to bloggers’ self interest (getting read, making connections, yakking about areas of expertise) in much the same way the most popular social networks appeal to teens’ desire to express themselves and connect.
The killer app is a MyBlogLog widget that bloggers install on their side nav. When MyBlogLog members visit a blog, their profile picture shows up in the widget. This is a powerful and visual way to let bloggers know they're being read by actual humans – something Matt McAlister calls distributed identity. Clicking a profile picture takes you to a MyBlogLog profile, where you can add contacts, join communities, and send private or publicly viewable messages. Quite simply, there’s nothing cooler for publishers than spending time crafting a piece and then seeing the thumbnail profile picture of those who are checking out your story.
And that's basically it. The features that the MyBlogLog site offers will undoubtedly get buffed out by team Yahoo!, but I hope they don't go too crazy with the bells and whistles. MyBlogLog could become the "MySpace for bloggers" in all the best ways, specifically huge potential users and traffic figures.
Until recently, bloggers came to the Internet able to easily publish, engage and interact with readers in the comments area of each post, and distribute their wares easily via RSS. Now a new front in stimulating communication and networking comes in the form of MyBlogLog-style widgets (and the simple social network that backs it) and may represent a new key element for online communities.