Facebook Acquires Online Publishing Startup

tugboat_logo_full_darkFacebook is continuing its push into content publishing with the acquisition of Tugboat Yards, a California-based startup that provides web publishers with tools to monetise their content.

The company was formed in 2012 by two veterans of LiveJournal-owner Six Apart, and focused on enabling small and medium-sized web publishers to accept payments from their readers.

“It is with lots of excitement and a dash of melancholy that we announce that Tugboat will be shutting down on June 30, 2015 and we will be joining the Facebook product team to work on media products such as news and video,” said Andrew Anker, CEO and co-founder of Tugboat Yards.

“Our initial reason for starting Tugboat – that there was a missing audience management platform for small to medium publishers – remains valid three years later. We are excited by the opportunity to work on solving these problems with a much broader scope at Facebook.”

A Facebook spokesperson has stated that the move is not strictly an acquisition, with Anker the sole member of the Tugboat Yards team to join Facebook, but with the platform closing down following his departure, existing users will have to seek a new home, at least until Facebook introduces a feature that will accommodate them.

Facebook has announced a series of plans recently that have focused on publishing, including the introduction of its Instant Articles feature and testing a search engine that would enable users to stay within its ecosystem while exploring the web. The changes have led to speculation by many industry figures over how the social network will expand over the next few years.