InterActiveCorp Embraces Enterprise Social Networking with Acquisition

Barry Diller's Internet company buys startup ZeroDegrees, adding a business-oriented networking service to its stable of consumer properties with a social networking bent.

In another sign of the growing interest in enterprise social networking, Barry Dillers InterActiveCorp on Monday acquired startup ZeroDegrees Inc. as it expands its scope of community-oriented Web sites.

Six-month-old ZeroDegrees, of Santa Monica, Calif., offers an online network targeted to businesspeople who want to connect with friends and associates for sales leads, recruiting and business development. Its network went into final beta in December. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

ZeroDegrees initially has focused on signing up individual business users, rather than entire enterprises, who then can control their connections and what information to share, said ZeroDegrees founder and President Jas Dhillon. The company also plans to enter a production release and develop add-on applications later this year.

"We are very excited about being part of the IAC family because of its strategic depth and marketing expertise," said Dhillon, who will remain with the company. "It will only add to our ability to accelerate the expansion of the network."

/zimages/4/28571.gifZeroDegrees is among a string of new companies focused on enterprise social networking. Click here to read more about their various approaches to making business connections.

The purchase of ZeroDegrees is not the first time New York-based InterActiveCorp has embraced the burgeoning field of social networking. Its Evite online invitation service in November launched a beta of Evite 2.0 that included a series of social networking features, such as member profiles and public postings. InterActiveCorp also is in the online dating game with

"Our interests in this area of connecting people led us to and Evite early on in the life of the Internet," said Dan Marriott, senior vice president of InterActiveCorps Interactive Development Group, in a statement. "We believe that investing now in the next generation of these services, such as ZeroDegrees, is a smart bet to place."

ZeroDegrees is the first commercially available service in the Interactive Development Group, a part of InterActiveCorp charged with exploring and launching new online businesses. /zimages/4/28571.gif