MSNBC Interactive News, a Microsoft and NBC Universal joint venture with 27.3 million Web visitors in August, announced Sunday night that it has purchased Newsvine in a deal of undisclosed size. It is the first acquisition in MSNBC.com's 11-year history, one that President Charlie Tillinghast hopes will lead to additional news-sharing features on MSNBC and tap an audience of highly engaged news readers.
Newsvine will continue to operate as a separate business unit and brand under the direction of Davidson, with the team remaining in its Seattle offices.
Though Newsvine will operate autonomously, Tillinghast said MSNBC will benefit from technological innovations and community features that Newsvine brings to the table. Meanwhile, Davidson said Newsvine will use MSNBC's technological resources, advertising capabilities and marketing muscle. For example, MSNBC could place a button on the bottom of stories to drive traffic to Newsvine -- a service that The New York Times introduced late last year.
While its Web site touts itself as "an instant reflection of what the world is talking about at any given moment," Newsvine, like other news bookmarking sites, is potentially prone to spamming and gaming by political partisans with lots of time on their hands.
Conservatives have often complained about Newsvine competitor Digg.com, arguing problems with liberal spammers voting down conservative content. Supporters of libertarian Republican presidential aspirant Ron Paul have also been accused of gaming Digg.
For its part, Newsvine insists one major benefit of being bought out by MSNBC will be increased diversity, although a greater breadth of diversity in political opinion is not specifically mentioned as an objective:
So What Does It All Mean For You?
So many good things! Following is a list of things you can look forward to:
A bigger, more diverse community. Msnbc.com's user base is spread across the world in every age, income, and demographic group. You'd be hard pressed to find a town in the United States which doesn't count some of its residents as readers. It is our hope that eventually, readers of both Newsvine and msnbc.com will be able to jump from site to site and share in the benefits that each destination offers.