ReachLocal Buys Online Reputation Manager SMB Live


Small biz-focused online marketer ReachLocal has acquired corporate image manager SMB Live. The three capital letters in the Reston, VA.-based company’s name stand for the market it serves: small- and medium-sized businesses. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The purchase is designed to help Woodland Hills, CA.-based ReachLocal create a set of tools aimed to help local businesses build up their online presence across social media and directory sites. Two months ago, ReachLocal announced its intention raise about $100 milllion in a stock offering. It has raised more than $60 million in funding, including $55.2 million in a round two years ago. Release


Hi5 Buys Social Game Developer Big Six


Social network hi5—which is increasingly emphasizing social gaming on its site (and now refers to itself as “the largest social entertainment site focused on gaming”)—has bought up social game firm Big Six. hi5 says the deal brings “significant new technology and software platforms in the areas of payment processing, fraud detection and conversion optimization.”

The deal also adds additional gaming experience to hi5’s executive ranks; Big Six CEO Kevin Gilner is joining hi5 as SVP of production, co-founder Monty Kerry is signing on as VP of commerce and advertising platforms, and CTO Chad Hansing will become director of commerce platform engineering.

Over the last year, hi5 has announced a number of initiatives to boost the presence of social games on its site; it has added a downloadable games portal in conjunction with RealNetworks (NSDQ: RNWK) and has also entered into a partnership with games network Mochi Media. In late November, the company hired Alex St. John, the former CEO of casual gamer Wild Tangent, as its president and CTO.


IAC’s Buys Dating Site Singlesnet


IAC’s is making another acquisition—this time buying up Singlesnet, which as of January was the 11th largest dating site in the world by unique visitors. In a release, describes the deal as “more of a value acquisition than a strategic one” and notes that Singlesnet’s traffic is on the decline; comScore (NSDQ: SCOR) figures show that traffic to Singlesnet was down 27 percent in January, compared to the same month a year ago. “We believe that by applying our category expertise we can reverse that trend, increase the site’s profitability and improve the overall user experience,” says CEO Greg Blatt.

Like, Singlesnet is a general, subscription-based dating site. It had just over 3 million unique visitors last month. By contrast, Match’s flagship had 5 million.

This is Match’s first acquisition since it bought People Media—the owner of 27 targeted dating sites, including BlackPeopleMeet, SingleParentMeet and SeniorPeopleMeet—for $80 million in July. IAC (NSDQ: IACI) has also expressed an interest in buying Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) Personals but so far nothing has come of that.

Financial terms of this deal are not being released.


Social Search Startup PeerPong Raises $2.8 Million


Social search startup PeerPong has raised $2.8 million in a funding round from Doll Capital Management, First Round Capital, Charles River Ventures and Partech International, the company tells us. PeerPong says it’s “building a new approach for getting answers from people who know them, building the most comprehensive community and index of expertise on the web.”

Conceptually, it sounds like it could compete with a number of other social search engines including Aardvark, which was recently purchased by Google (NSDQ: GOOG), or even Q&A startup Fluther, which recently raised a round of funding. PeerPong is closed to the public, although visitors to the site can sign up for an invite to a limited beta.

The startup is led by Ro Choy, the former chief revenue officer at social networking app firm RockYou, who left that company during a management shake-up late last year. Choy was previously an executive at eBay.

Social Recruiter KODA Receives $1.5 Million Funding Add-On

KODA logo

Job hunting community site KODA has received a $1.5 million add-on to its $3 million private angel funding from last summer. The company, which has offices in San Francisco and New Orleans, will use the funds for general expansion. With unemployment hovering around 10 percent, this would seem to be a difficult time to start any kind of recruitment venture, as established online job sites like Careerbuilder, Monster and HotJobs have seen revenues continue to decline. But KODA CEO and co-found Jeff Berger feels that its social recruiting position is different enough from those other sites to capture enough revenue to establish it by the time the economy turns around. Release


Meltwater Buys Social Media Monitor BuzzGain For $4 Million


Meltwater Group, which has established itself as a leader in monitoring traditional media online, is now doubling down in the social media monitoring space. The company will announce later today that it has purchased social media monitoring startup BuzzGain for $4 million, including earnouts.

CEO Jorn Lyseggen tells us that the acquisition is indicative of the future direction of his nine-year-old firm. Currently, the company is bringing in about $100 million a year, primarily by selling its online media monitoring services. But Lyseggen says that Meltwater should be able to build an equivalent social media monitoring business within the next three to five years.

“We have 18,000 clients which entrust us to monitor traditional news,” he says. “It’s not a leap of faith that they’ll also convert to monitoring social media.”

Meltwater has offered its own social media monitoring service for the last eight months—and will now use BuzzGain to boost that offering. Lyseggen says Meltwater’s interest in BuzzGain is driven by the startup’s engineering team (The company’s client list is “limited,” he says). “We believe that having a strong engineering foundation is an absolute necessity (to be) competitive,” he says. All of BuzzGain’s 25 engineers will now join Meltwater.

The acquisition is Meltwater’s first since the company set up a corporate venture arm a year ago—and Lyseggen suggests there will be more ahead. “If we are able to recognize a technology or product with global potential we will consider (bringing) them into Meltwater,” he says. “We don’t believe we can out innovate the world.”

There’s been quite a bit of activity in the social media monitoring space lately, with Techrigy being sold to Alterian and several players, including Visible Technologies and Scout Labs raising significant rounds.

Another Language Learning Community Raises Funding: Busuu Gets ‘Six Digit’ Round

The streak of recent language learning fundings continues ... Busuu, which claims more than 300,000 users, is set to announce Thursday that it has raised a “six-digit” round from an unnamed angel investor. The startup, which is based in Madrid, offers interactive language courses in Spanish, French, German, Italian and English—and is now adding Brazilian Portuguese to its roster. The site lets users take courses and also practice with other members. It’s free, although users can pay for “additional functionalities and more material.”

Several language learning startups have raised cash over the last several months. Moonshoot, which teaches kids English using online games, got $6.6 million just last week, LiveMocha raised an $8 million second round in late December, and EnglishCentral, which bases its own language learning system around popular video clips, took in about $3.5 million from Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Ventures and other investors. The bet among venture capitalists is that more and more of the very lucrative language learning market will move online.