Yahoo Buys Ad Tech Startup Dapper

Get Ready for Personalized Ads on Portal's Home Page

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Yahoo has acquired San Francisco-based Dapper, a startup with technology that personalizes display ads based on the presumed interests of the viewer, for an undisclosed sum.

The 32-person company, with offices in Israel and New York, had been a part of Yahoo's display ad program, working with advertisers buying on Yahoo's Right Media ad exchange. Yahoo execs decided to buy the company so that its technology could be used to deliver highly personalized ads on Yahoo's highest-trafficked properties, such as the home page.

"We have vast amounts of insights we can leverage with this technology," said Dev Patel, VP-advertising and publisher solutions at Yahoo. "This will allow us to deliver dynamic ads in places we wouldn't allow other vendors."

Dapper's technology targets ad creative based on user intent using data like prior web searches, items viewed at online retailers or content on previously viewed webpages. The technology will allow Yahoo to direct custom creative at users, including re-targeted offers based on what users have viewed on other sites.

"You could have been on my site and then I have the opportunity to serve you [an ad] at a later time," said Frank Weishaupt, Yahoo VP-North American sales.

The technology can make display ads very specific to the user, even jarringly personal, which works for advertisers but also raises privacy concerns.

Yahoo will continue to offer Dapper technology to other advertisers, including those not advertising on Yahoo. It comes nearly a year after Google bought a similar company in Teracent, which creates dynamic display ads that target consumers based on their interests.

Other companies in the space include Tumri, Criteo and Pointroll, which has been owned by Gannett since 2005. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2010.

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