Roundup: FM hires bank, Tesla, Akamai’s growth and more

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1. Tesla to begin production of the Roadster on March 17
2. Blog ad network FM turns down $100M offer?
3. CDN Akamai sees record traffic from social networks
4. Newspaper traffic up; old media on the rise?
5. Creating popular social networks, apps
6. Gazprom-Media reportedly acquiring RuTube
7. WSJ will stay subscription based, says Murdoch
8. Recording industry to start going after ISPs
9. World Wide Packets sells for $280 million

tesla012408.pngTesla to begin production of the Roadster on March 17 — All safety and emissions testing has been completed by Tesla Motors, and it’s on schedule to start shipping its first cars. Comforting news, after a recent round of layoffs at the company, as well as some production problems centering around the transmission. Michael Powell, the company’s VP of Vehicle Integration, blogs about the nitty-gritty details of crash-testing a new vehicle here. The company took home a Crunchie last Friday, for top cleantech startup.

fmlogo012408.png Blog ad network Federated Media turns down $100M offer? — John Battelle, who runs blog ad network Federated Media (it places ads on sites like VentureBeat), said he has retained an investment bank, Savvian, to manage investor interest in the company. Rumors are that he has received a $100 million offer. He sent a note to his authors trying to head off the rumors, saying FM had received lots of interest from investors, but adding no details: “I don’t know if anything will come of this process, but I do know that as a fast growing business, it’s always smart to assess investor interest, and to be ready to quickly arm the company with additional capital to do new things and continue to accelerate our growth, should that option prove attractive.” After what happened at Battelle’s former company, Industry Standard, where there was a bit of a kerfuffle among insiders about when it was the right time to sell — and the indecision gave way to outright implosion — Battelle will be taking this very seriously indeed.

Content delivery network Akamai Technologies sees record traffic from social networks, widget companies — Mashable has an interesting post looking at the huge growth the CDN is seeing from these sites.

Newspaper traffic up; old media on the rise?A new study by the Newspaper Association of America shows that traffic to the newspaper websites rose seven percent in 2007 to 2.87 billion pageviews. Either there are just more readers coming online, or “old” media is beginning to figure out how to reinvent itself for a wired audience. That’s mostly good news for startups — more intelligent, web-oriented content from traditional media sources both benefits and takes advantage of Web 2.0 darlings like crowd-sourcing and aggregation, and plays into the business plans of all sorts of companies, from Digg to ShareThis.

How to create a popular social network platform, how to create a viral social network application — Widget-maker Slide chief executive blogs about the former, RSS service Newsgator looks at the latter. How to create a popular social network platform, how to create a viral social network application — Widget-maker Slide chief executive blogs about the former, RSS service Newsgator looks at the latter.

Gazprom-Media reportedly acquiring RuTube, Russia’s Answer to YouTube Russian newspaper Vedomosti reports a deal has been reached by Gazprom to acquire RuTube, citing an investing banker and source close to Gazprom-Media. Both companies confirmed they are negotiating a deal. Reports emerged of such a deal as early as July. More from Yakov here.

WSJ will stay subscription based, said its new owner Rupert Murdoch — “The really special things will still be a subscription service, and, sorry to tell you, probably more expensive,” he said. But then again, he also said the WSJ would expand and improve the free content, and that ultimately could mean the majority of the articles, which will be short-form in nature.

Recording industry to start going after internet service providers — A French policy of forcing ISPs to monitor customers for illegal file sharing, and disconnecting those customers after three infringements is paving the way for the recording industry to try to introduce similar policies around the world, including in the US. PaidContent has more.

YouTube offers mobile version, so you can watch its videos on your phone — More here.

World Wide Packets, Ethernet access switch company, sells for $280 million — Ciena has picked up the eight-year-old World Wide Packets, after that company raised $147M from a group of investors including Argo Global Capital, Azure Capital Partners, Eagle River Investments, Entrepia Ventures, Madrona Venture Group, Northwest Venture Associates and Rally Capital. In addition to $280 in cash and stock, the purchase includes $15 million in assumed debt. The Spokane Valley, Wash. company has $30M in revenue.

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