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Tech giant Oracle on Tuesday said it had struck a deal to acquire AddThis, a maker of tools to easily let consumers share web pages on social media, establishing a direct line to the company's massive data on web users.
AddThis has actually partnered for years with BlueKai and Datalogix, now Oracle subsidiaries and the primary components of its Oracle Marketing and related Data Cloud. But the pact, terms of which were not disclosed, should tighten Oracle's grasp on the information generated every time a consumer shares a link.
AddThis typically is considered a social sharing company, but under the hood it's a data company with a footprint of more than 15 million sites worldwide, constantly harvesting updated behavioral data through its share buttons on websites. The company says it processes 280 billion interactions per month across sites employing 70 languages. The result is tons of raw data the company then filters through analytics processes such as audience segmentation tools.
"What Oracle is doing here is solidifying a technology footprint that allows them to provide all the rich services that BlueKai and Datalogix [offer] and any other data assets they can apply for marketers and publishers," said Ramsey McGrory, former CEO of AddThis, who left the firm in October 2013 and currently has no stake in the company.
The fact that AddThis reaches across millions of websites worldwide is key, he suggested. "That matching process is ongoing and so you have to have a footprint across as much of the internet as possible to see users consistently so that you can match," he said. "Syncing is an ongoing process." Mr. Ramsey is now president of sales and publishing for sports media firm Scout.
In September Oracle expanded its relationship with AddThis to enhance its behavioral web data, allowing Oracle Data Cloud clients to glean data on pre-set and custom audience segments based on AddThis's anonymized web interaction data. AddThis worked with BlueKai and Datalogix for "at least a year or two" before Mr. McGrory left AddThis in 2013, he told Ad Age. Oracle acquired BlueKai and Datalogix in 2014.
AddThis, which now has 110 employees, declined to comment for this story. Oracle did not respond to requests to comment.
Ubiquitous tools such as those from AddThis allow people to easily share articles and pages on social sites including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. The AddThis system is designed to scoop up data on web users and the sites they visit to produce insights into their interests and in turn create audience segments for ad targeting. Companies like BlueKai, Datalogix and Acxiom use that information to connect offline consumer data to the web, a process often referred to as onboarding.
In November AddThis partnered with Oracle competitor Adobe to provide data for its Audience Marketplace, a data exchange within Adobe Audience Manager. It's unclear whether that relationship will remain intact after the Oracle acquisition is complete.