Six Apart acquires Rojo Networks

Six Apart Vox logoRojo Networks logo

Blogging company Six Apart has acquired online feed aggregator Rojo Networks. Rojo technologies will be integrated with the Vox blogging tool allowing users to browse updated content and create more blog posts. Rojo co-founder Kevin Burton confirmed the news on his blog this morning.

A press release from Six Apart names former Rojo CEO Chris Alden as executive vice president and general manager of Movable Type and former CTO Aaron Emigh as executive vice president and general manager of core technologies. Chris Alden is the fifth general manager of Movable Type in the last year. The press release is all about Chris and Aaron without much mention of Rojo technologies or feed syndication in general.

Rojo launched its online aggregator at the original Web 2.0 conference in 2004. Rojo currently includes tagging, Ajax, and Digg-like functionality for every post. You can browse your friends’ feed subscriptions or search the full content of all feeds in the Rojo database.

The acquisition gives Six Apart both a feed reader and feed search engine. Rojo will help generate more pageviews, allowing Six Apart to further leverage its newly created advertising network covering LiveJournal Plus accounts and Vox. Six Apart may bundle the Rojo service with its licensed personal blogging service currently powered by TypePad. Six Apart currently licenses TypePad software to companies around the world such as Le Monde in France and Nifty in Japan. Rojo’s software could be bundled into these licensing deals or command a higher licensing value for Vox when it is launched and ready for redistribution.

Rojo is written in Java, a departure from Six Apart’s preferred code base of Perl. The site does use LiveJournal’s memcache caching system.

Expect Six Apart to keep acquiring small companies as former-VC Andrew Anker enjoys that sort of thing and consistent cash flows from subscription services give the company good leverage.

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9 comments

Commentary on "Six Apart acquires Rojo Networks":

  1. Oliver on wrote:

    Maybe they’ll get rid of that godawful Rojo logo first thing. Here’s hoping!

  2. anjan bacchu on wrote:

    hi Niall,

    Cool!

    Interesting to note that the java based Rojo uses the C based memcache. There are other simple(and transactional) distributed caches available in java. Wonder what made Rojo decide to use memcached ? Anyone ?

    BR,
    ~A

  3. aa on wrote:

    Hi Niall, not sure where you got that info about us integrating Rojo into Vox but it’s not actually correct. We are keeping rojo.com as a separate business and plan on spinning it off.

    Rojo was written in java and Vox, like everything else Six Apart does, is written in perl. As you can imagine, integrating the two is non-trivial. We were much more interested in the expertise of the team than in the specific code base they had developed.

  4. Kevin Buton on wrote:

    Transactions aren’t really necessary for caching systems.

    Memcached is still pretty much the king even in the Java world. The fact that it’s written in C is a good thing.

  5. Otis Gospodnetic on wrote:

    Anjan: what Kevin said. Plus, memcached runs as a separate daemon process and has a Java API, so it doesn’t really matter that the two are written in separate languages. I use memcached with Simpy (java), too, and they work together flawlessly.

  6. anjanbacchu on wrote:

    kevin : thank you. I’m trying to understand what makes memcached better than the java options out there ? I understand that in the LAMP world, memcached is king; but does managing a separate daemon process justify the benefits over a java-based cache solution ?

    Otis : I went to your simpy site and imported my bookmarks from my del.icio.us site. looks neat! What made you use memcached vs, say, JBoss Cache/JCS/EHCache/OSCache ? did you evaluate any of those options ?

    thank you,

    BR,
    ~A

  7. Kevin Burton on wrote:

    I don’t know much about JBoss cache……. is it OSS? JCS seems like it uses threads….. threads are evil. It won’t be able to scale almost by definition. They should have at least used NIO.

    That said the new slab allocator in Memcached 1.1.13 written by Facebook show really make this a closed situation. I do like the JCS UDB discovery of other nodes though.

    The only thing I’d want in memcached is periodic disk based cache serialization and/or some sort of failure handling. Having a few cache servers go offline can really be fatal.

  8. anjanbacchu on wrote:

    hi Kevin,

    thank you.

    I know that many of financial institutons use Tangosol Tx caching solution(commercial) enabling FIs to make
    millions/billions of transactions in a day.

    yes, JBOSS cache is open source. It has some transaction components.

    It would be nice for someone knowledgeable of both worlds to do a writeup of Memcached and some of the java based caches.

    I will explore memcached a lil more, given that both of you vouch for it from a java viewpoint!

    BR,
    ~A

  9. Otis Gospodnetic on wrote:

    Anjan: excellent, welcome to Simpy!

    As for memcached vs. the rest, I haven’t tried other solutions, but I’m 99% that none of them are as mature and as simple as memcached (compile, start, and begin caching). I’ve used JBoss before and after 1-2 years working with it I really started to hate it. If their caching product is anything like their application server, it’s evil.