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Ask.com

Bloglines Gets A Band-Aid; And We Hear It's Still For Sale

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Bloglines got a much needed band-aid this weekend that fixed the feed update problem that has plagued users for weeks and caused long-gone founder Mark Fletcher to write “Bloglines, please stop sucking. It’s been a couple weeks now. I don’t want to have to move to Google Reader. Sigh.”

In our continued testing we see all of our feeds now updating regularly on both the default and beta versions of the site.

But we’ve also heard that the service has been up for sale throughout this last summer, with no serious bidders so far (Microsoft and Newsgator may have had a passing interest). Bloglines was originally acquired in February 2005 for around $10 million, and our understanding is that Ask isn’t necessarily even looking for a break-even sale.

The Bloglines team is currently led by GM Eric Engleman, who we’ve heard has been doing a “heroic job” despite prolonged resource starvation by the parent company. Google Reader probably has 2-3x the number of engineers working on the product that Engleman has under him.

The reason that Bloglines has become the unwanted stepchild at Ask? It drives next to no revenue, and it’s excellent blog search engine has become less strategically important as Ask.com defocuses on competitive search.

It might be time to dust off that resume, Eric.

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