Would Mashable Acquistion Grant Aol a Social Media Strategy? [Updated]

Last Updated Jan 7, 2010 2:39 PM EST

(UPDATE: Some tepid water has been thrown on a possible Mashable/Aol deal. Writes Staci D. Kramer at paidcontent.org (who quotes @scobeleizer), there may only be talk about an ad revenue deal. That would make sense, given that Aol is still in layoff mode.)

It already owns Engadget, but that apparently hasn't stopped Aol from desiring Mashable, the hot tech site. Per Gawker, and @scobleizer, the two are in negotiations. If Aol pulls this off, it will have landed what by some reports is the biggest tech site of them all, with almost 1.9 million page views as of mid last year.

But here's the thing. While my original theory was that Aol wants to buy Mashable both to further its king-of-content aspirations and to help the brand regain its long lost tech-hipster cachet, I have to agree with Gawker that a more compelling reason to buy it, lies in its great, wonderful redundancy. In short, as a site that bills itself as "The Social Media Guide", it not only gets a lot of traffic, but its content gets blasted. Everywhere. It is social media upon social media. As my colleague Diane Mermigas pointed out last month, Aol has been lacking a social media strategy.

If you're not familiar with how well Mashable works the system, here are some stats. Last night, when I perused the Mashable home page, there were 18 blog posts. Those 18 blog posts were tweeted 6015 times. That's really just another day's work at Mashable, so much so that it's actually unusual for one of its posts to be retweeted less than 100 times. And, of course, Twitter is just part of it. Its content is also extensively shared on other social platforms. That's what made Gawker say: "The site excels not only at writing Google-friendly content but also at earning a flood of links on social networks, most notably Twitter."

As is well known, Aol is also trying to run much of its content via algorithm, through its recently-announced content platform Seed. Gawker hints Mashable would sit on top of that, sort of like the icing on the Seed cake (sorry about the insanely mixed metaphors). Sure, the timing for an acquisition is a little strange, given AOL's recent mass layoffs, but one wonders if Seed needs an adrenaline injection in order to work. To that extent, maybe CEO Tim Armstrong & Company are hoping Mashable is it.

Previous coverage of AOL at BNET Media: