Facebook Catches a Hot Potato
Last month, rumors emerged that Facebook may have been buying Hot Potato. As Doug Caverly described, "Hot Potato is a check-in service that takes possibilities other than physical locations into account. Users can, for example, say they’re listening to a particular song or reading a certain novel, not just check in at a concert or a bookstore."
Hot Potato posted to its blog today that it has indeed been acquired by Facebook. "This wasn’t an easy decision, especially since we’ve built up a base of dedicated users," the Hot Potato Team says. "If Hot Potato was going to sell to anyone, Facebook was the natural choice. Facebook is still small, moves fast, provides a great supportive environment for people to be entrepreneurial, and most importantly, Facebook builds great products. We’re looking forward to joining their team."
Meanwhile, the company will be closing down Hot Potato’s actual operations. They will no longer accept new registrations, and they’ll offer a way for existing users to download info from the site. In about a month, they will close everything and delete all user data (none of which will be retained by Facebook, the team says).
As others have noted, Facebook’s acquisitions have generally been talent-based rather than product-based, and that appears to be the case here as well. The question is, what does this mean exactly for Facebook?
The obvious answer would be that Facebook Places will get more feature-rich. There may be some interesting new opportunities here for businesses at the product level (perhaps similar to Booyah’s offering, but on a Facebook scale) in addition to the opportunities that already exist with Facebook Places.
According to TechCrunch, Facebook paid $10 million for the company.