Barely out of testing and still in beta, AOL announced the acquisition of About.me yesterday for an undisclosed sum. Leading the acquisition from AOL is Brad Garlinghouse who will add the 3 month old company to AOL’s consumer applications group. About.me launched a beta in September and quickly grew to 400,000 users much thanks to praise from early adopters who spread the good word over Twitter. About.me aims to replace Google as a means to find information on someone your interested in learning more about.
Viewing a profile on About.me is a freshly unique experience that differs from the many social profile aggregators over the years. The company not only has an outstanding domain name, but also benefits from having a very simplified user interface unlike that of MySpace and Facebook that have become bloated over the years, losing their original appeal. Call it Facebook for a more mature crowd.
What’s starkly different about About.me is the website’s use of digital photography to enhance a personal brand. About.me could have been called Facebook, because these profiles are truly about the face. Instead of a small square photograph somewhere in the corner of the screen, visitors are treated with a beautiful high resolution image that fills the entire screen. Viewing a well-designed profile or browsing randomly is somewhat addictive and gives new meaning to “creeping” online. Often quick connections are made with an exchange of a business card or a “Facebook Me”, and undoubtedly AOL would love to hear people instead say “Find me on About Me”. Profiles are stripped down to essentials, most having no more than a paragraph or two about the person and features buttons to social profiles to as LinkedIn, Twitter and anywhere else. The real strength, according to CEO Tony Conrad, is the backend analytics that makes it easy for users to see stats on how their profile is viewed.