As Social Bookmarking Reignites, Venture-Backed Clipboard Acquires Clipmarks & Amplify

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Clipboard, the web clipping service founded by former Overture vet Gary Flake, has just completed the acquisitions of two competitors, Amplify and Clipmarks. The startup, which is taking on the challenge of reviving social bookmarking, is backed by many top notch investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, SV Angel, Betaworks, DFJ, First Round, CrunchFund (note: TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington is a founding partner in CrunchFund) and others.

Current Amplify and Clipmarks users will be invited to join Clipboard via email, but anyone else can request an invitation to the Clipboard private beta directly from the the service’s homepage.

As per usual, terms of the acquisition are not being disclosed, but users are in the process of being notified now. An official blog post will also go up later today, serving as “official notification.”

For those unfamiliar, both Amplify and Clipmarks served similar interests: social bookmarking. To be clear, Amplify is actually owned by Clipmarks, LLC, but functions as a separate service. Amplify allows users to clip excerpts from an article, photos, videos, and other content, and then share those items across social media. It was more of a utility for posting content to multiple networks at once (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, WordPress, etc.). Meanwhile Clipmarks, an older service, did much of the same, but focused more on publishing clips to your blog, emailing items to friends or even printing them out. It also once included a Digg-like feature that allowed the most popular bookmarks to “pop” up to the top of the site.

In 2007, TechCrunch reported Clipmarks may have been acquired by Forbes, during a time when Delicious still reigned in the social bookmarking space. But instead of improving on the original Clipmarks product itself, Forbes spun it back around as a new service called Amplify.

Although social bookmarking once seemed to be a bit of a holdover from the Web 2.0 era, the recent success of startups like Pinterest have shown that there’s still life in this category yet, especially if you leverage the social backbone of Facebook to go viral and combine that with a more appealing, visual user interface.

On that front, Clipboard announced a design refresh earlier this month that clearly puts it in Pinterest’s territory. Web clips now appear as tiles with thumbnail previews, action counters and annotations (hashtags), and are laid out on the page as tiled boxes of varying sizes.

The most intriguing thing about Clipboard at present, however, is its current list of investors: Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, CrunchFund, DFJ, SV Angel / Ron Conway, Betaworks, First Round Capital, CODE Advisors, Founder’s Co-Op, Acequia Capital, Vast Ventures, Ted Meisel (former CEO of Overture and now at Elevation Partners), Blake Krikorian (former CEO of Sling and now an Amazon board member), and Vivi Nevo.

Clipboard isn’t the only startup outside of Pinterest working to revive social bookmarking, others in this space include Snip.itSnipi, and the newly relaunched Delicious.