This story seems like something out of the giddy dot-com days of the late 1990s. CBS is paying a rumored $10 million for a 10-month-old San Francisco start-up, Dotspotter.com, which serves up celebrity gossip. It’s a competitor to category leader TMZ.com, a unit of Time Warner.
While TMZ focuses on celebrity run-ins with cops and courts in Hollywood’s Thirty Mile Zone (hence TMZ), Dotspotter emphasizes social networking functions that allow users to chat, vote on video, and share recent sightings of Britney Spears, Brad Pitt and the like. TMZ draws 3.6 million users a month compared to 280,000 for Dotspotter.
Those dot-com start-up stories in the 90s always had a founder who made it big, and this one does too. It’s Anthony Soohoo (pictured), who used to be a Yahoo vice president in charge of HotJobs. The real prize? Dotspotter, located at 722A Liggett Ave. in SF, has a team of developers that CBS has long wanted for its Web properties.