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Mashable: Not bought by CNN yet

14th Annual Webby Awards

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CEO/founder of Mashable Pete Cashmore attends the 14th Annual Webby Awards at Cipriani, Wall Street on June 14, 2010 in New York City.

Just a quick follow up on yesterday's rumor that CNN is buying Mashable for $200 million. Nobody has bought anybody yet. But at Phillymag, Brian Howard provides some useful speculation on what a sale could ultimately mean:

CNN’s interest is, ultimately, a nod to the future—a tacit acknowledgment that social media may finally be the panacea that allows the robots and algorithms that search the Internet for us to give us exactly what we want: the best content available. It could signal a return to the concept of content as king (rather than the content on the first page of search results, regardless of quality, as king).

Mashable is, by most objective standards, one of the best blogs on the Internet for coverage of social media and technology issues. How ironic indeed if this were to lead to its compromised relevance.

I think Howard is giving too much credit to the ability of social networks to anoint quality, but then again, he does make a decent overall point about search versus social, about algorithms versus REAL LIVE HUMANS.

That said, he also offers the requisite AOL/TechCrunch cautionary tale. And that's warranted. But then again, Pete Cashmore, Mashable's 26-year-old CEO, is no Michael Arrington. As I argued in my post yesterday, Mashable is TechCrunch optimized for the far better mannered world of social media. And optimized it is! CNN would have a very hard time building up its social media cred on its own. So the deal makes a lot of sense. After all, who knows how big an impact social media will have in five years? Best to strike now.

One curious thing: Howard says the price CNN will pay is $20-25 million. Not sure if that's an error, as I haven't seen any other changes to yesterday's rumored $200 million price tag.

Follow Matthew DeBord and the DeBord Report on Twitter.

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