Seeing Opportunity With Data-Haunted Marketers, Evidon Changes Name to Ghostery

Target, Equifax and Others Use Cloud-Based System to Monitor Ad-Tech Partners

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With some major marketers and data companies stung by recent data breaches and others worried they might be next, companies are realizing the need to keep a closer watch over their partners. Evidon sees an opportunity on that front. So the privacy tech company today is changing its name to Ghostery, the moniker for its successful consumer-targeted browser app, and launching a platform for managing website vendor technologies that is fueled by data from the Ghostery app.

Prior to today, Ghostery was a privacy app that showed users a list of companies whose tracking tags are present on web pages as they traverse the Internet. The panel of people using the tool has grown to 15 million, and around 200,000 use the mobile version. It got a shout-out at this year's South by Southwest conference from NSA surveillance-program leaker Edward Snowden. Now the firm behind the tool has taken the massive pool of data from its growing panel of Ghostery users and is serving it up to companies including Target and Equifax.

Ghostery's Marketing Cloud Management platform promises to help business clients keep an eye on the activities of ad-tech vendors operating on their websites.

Protecting information floating in and out of websites is becoming a major concern for retailers, financial services and other site publishers. The Ghostery system will show clients which analytics or ad-technology firms are gathering data on their users, dragging down page loads, or sharing information with other companies unbeknownst to the site publisher.

A client such as Target would use the platform to keep track of its multiple ad-tech vendor relationships. The system would tell the company what ad tags showed up when people visited a product page, or on average, how long it took for certain pages to load. Target could act on that information, if, for instance, it discovered that one of the ad-tech partners is sharing data with another company despite being contractually prohibited from doing so.

In addition to helping publishers sniff out nefarious companies passing along valuable user data to partners without the knowledge of the publisher, the system can also assist in site maintenance. For instance, it can show which site pages don't include tags from analytics firms publishers pay for ad campaign and marketing measurement.

"You're spending all this money; you need to know you're getting the full scope of data," said Scott Meyer, Ghostery CEO. The company signed three additional clients using the cloud management system this quarter, he said, noting around 60 clients are using it.

The new offering and name change are part of Evidon's shift to focus on enterprise clients, said Emily Riley, the COO of the firm who was brought on in January to steer the company towards new products.

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