UPDATE: Despite reports that it's officially acquiring social networking site Tribe.net, NBC Universal is just in window-shopping mode.
Despite reports to the contrary, a purchase of social networking site Tribe.net by NBC Universal is not a done deal. According to a source inside NBC Universal, the company is looking at Tribe's back-end technology for possible integration with its digital properties, which include iVillage, MSNBC.com, and Telemundo.com.
NBC Universal had no comment regarding the reports.
According to the source, NBC also is evaluating other social networking site technologies. The company has signed a letter of intent to conduct due diligence of Tribe's technology; however, the source stressed, "To say we're buying it, that's not true." As for the cost of acquiring Tribe.net as a whole or its technology only, the source said it would be "well under $5 million."
In a continuing effort to scoop up ad dollars that are moving away from television properties towards the Web, NBC is clearly evaluating ways of harnessing the traffic-driving popularity of social networking for its own sites. NBC.com and iVillage both already feature message boards and blogs.
A social networking integration could also prove interesting for NBC Universal's Spanish language site Telemundo.com, which merged with the Yahoo en Espanol site earlier this year.
In addition, Tribe.net's classifieds listings capabilities could be used to enhance NBC's local broadcast affiliate sites.
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