Hearst buys Kaboodle, a social shopping site

Hearst Corp., the large media organization that owns the San Francisco Chronicle and sundry magazines, said it will acquire Kaboodle, a site that lets people bookmark items they find while surfing the Web, and then recommend and share them with other people.

The price was undisclosed. The start-up focuses on shopping. If someone takes time to research what “sandals” to buy for summer, they can bookmark their results and tag is sandals. Others can then find that research when they too search for “sandals” on Kaboodle or even Google.

While its unclear how well Santa Clara, Calif.’s Kaboodle did in the transaction, the deal suggests new Internet companies will continue to find homes at large companies if they focus on providing a useful service. With the media world so uncertain, and consumers saturated by ads and content, media companies are searching for ways to distinguish themselves. News companies like Forbes are buying Web clipping companies like Clipmarks, phone companies like Nokia are buying photo-sharing companies like Twango, and search engines like Google are buying photo-resolution sites like ImageAmerica.

Kaboodle launched last year and says it has more than 2 million unique monthly visitors, citing Comscore.

Hearst said Kaboodle will help it with its 19 magazine brands in fashion, beauty and consumer technology, including Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping — helping users find products featured in those magazines.

It had raised about $5 million from individual investors (see coverage). This is another story about perseverance. The company’s chief technology officer, Keiron McCammon, had his arm amputated a year ago after hitting a powerline while paragliding, but insisted on sitting in on key meetings to help raise $3.5 million in venture capital.

Chief exec Manish Chandra tells us Kaboodle will continue to operate as an independent site.

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