Click to viewDigg users should be glad merger talks with Google have cooled, writes Slate's Farhad Manjoo. Had Digg fallen into Marissa Mayer's frosting-laced clutches, the site would have probably become another startup lost in what Manjoo calls "the Google Black Hole." It happened to FeedBurner this week. And the RSS ad network, was just the latest, following Jaiku, JotSpot, Dodgeball, GrandCentral, and Measure Map. Their tales of doom in the Googleplex, below.
In private moments, Dodgeball cofounder Dennis Crowley will tell any startup entrepreneur in New York asking: Avoid getting acquired by Google. "Sure, he's not upset about the $40 million and he's glad to be dating models," a source close to Crowley told me. "But he's not happy with Google." Not all Google-acquired founders are so bitter. Word is the FeedBurner guys love it at Google. But FeedBurner's best innovations are in advertising, not engineering. Some say the same goes for Google these days. (Photo by rosswerks)
Someone broke into the offices of Area/Code, the startup where Dodgeball.com founder Dennis Crowley currently works (after bitterly leaving Google just three months ago). Taken were Crowley's laptop, a flatscreen monitor, and a digital camera. Left behind was the transvestite hooker still asleep on the office couch. [Teen Drama]
NICK DOUGLAS — [UPDATE: It's alive! Dodgeball is the Terry Schiavo of Web 2.0!] Sometimes a product just dies, horribly and suddenly, as if it were unlucky enough to be under a falling piano, stepping into an empty elevator shaft, getting smacked upside the head with a very large rock. It seems that's the fate of Dodgeball, the text-based find-your-friends-at-the-bar service that Google bought in 2005 and promptly abandoned. As of today, the front page is just a "502 server error" (a friend tells me that means the backend server, which actually handles page requests, is dead).
NICK DOUGLAS — Dennis Crowley announced Sunday night that he's left Google. (His friend Andrew Krucoff scooped him.) The Dodgeball founder said that the company had never given his team the resources they needed to maintain and expand the location-texting service. "The whole experience was incredibly frustrating," he wrote on a group blog. Crowley posted the same story on Flickr, where he also commented that he and co-Dodgeballer Alex Rainert left "regardless" of their Google stock (or options) vesting schedule. "Regardless"? Ha! Google bought Dodgeball 23 months ago. One would assume his contract made him stay two years to collect a stock or options bonus, and Crowley can't be dumb enough to walk away one month before payday. Assume he and Rainert got their money's worth out of these dreary two years — and they sure deserved it, having to sit back and watch startups Twitter and Jaiku take over the group-messaging field. The next question is, will Google shutter Dodgeball? (Photo: Dennis Crowley)