Web of the Living Dead

Consolidation fever has gripped the valley, and that's not good.

Last week it was IWantSandy. Yesterday, Pownce. Tomorrow, who knows? The current financial crisis is claiming a passel of Web 2.0 startups whose VC sugar daddies appear to have run out of money and/or patience.

IWantSandy.com is being acquired by Twitter and shutting down as of December 8. This made my wife extremely upset, as she uses the text-message-reminder service to keep her organized and on track. (There is no service on earth that could keep me organized or on track.) What's annoying is that Twitter is simply acquiring the company's intellectual property and jettisoning the service. Later, Sandy. It's been swell.

Twitter-wannabee Pownce has been acquired by Six Apart, makers of Typepad, Movable Type, and other blogging tools. Like an owl digesting a mouse, Six Apart plans to absorb Pownce's employees and spit out the bones and fur of the actual service.

Twitter itself has a big red bullseye on its back. Last month it walked away from a deal to be acquired by Facebook for $500 million. The transaction failed in part because it was entirely in Zuckerbucks, i.e., Facebook stock options, based on the social network's highly inflated sense of its own self worth.

Twitter is really just one feature of Facebook, the status update (though arguably the most popular and important one). A marriage of the two makes a lot of sense. Personally I don't think this undone deal is a done deal yet. (Try and say that three times fast.)

Even Facebook isn't exactly on high ground. When you go swimming with sharks like Microsoft, it's hard not to look like a tasty yet nutritious snack.

Who's next? CNET's Rafe Needleman dipped into the speculation pool last month and came up with 11 companies he thinks might soon be taking a dirt nap, including:

* Pandora music service (nooooooo!)

* Zillow real estate service

* Skype (noooooo!)

* Second Life

* Ask (though it's nice to see Jeeves again, if only occasionally)

I'm hoping some of these hang on, because I'd miss them a lot. What services would you miss? Post your thoughts below or email me direct: dan (at) dantynan (dot) com.

When not mourning dead Web 2.0 companies, Dan Tynan tends his Culture Crash and Tynan on Tech blogging empires.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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