Consumer insights company Hitwise is closing shop after a 24-year run, according to its website.
“Due to events outside of our control, Hitwise is winding down its operations,” a note on the company’s website says. “We want to thank our clients around the world for their valuable partnership as well as their understanding and support as we manage through this unexpected turn of events.”
The “unexpected turn of events” might be a reference to Jumpshot also shuttering its doors in late January. Jumpshot was an offshoot of anti-virus maker Avast and sold sensitive information—such as what consumers searched for, clicked on and installed on their computers—to companies such as Hitwise. Jumpshot was able to monitor the behavior of hundreds of millions of consumers who used Avast’s antivirus software in real time, often without the user’s explicit knowledge, thanks to complex terms of service agreements.
Hitwise's closure underscores the growing impact consumer privacy is having in areas such as ad tech.
Although the company first got its start measuring internet traffic, Hitwise later pivoted in 2016 by offering consumer insights including what consumers search for, as well as demographics. Its roster of clients included ABC, Conde Nast, GroupM, Walmart and eBay, according to the company's website.
Hitwise was perhaps best known among retailers, as it provided reports on things such as top products consumers searched for, or the top landing pages on Amazon. The company described its insight methodology as having “a deep sample of highly representative internet users, from multi-dimensional and representative sources. This ensures we capture how different consumers search, browse, and purchase by device.” But about a week after Jumpshot annoucned it was closing its doors, Hitwise sent a letter to its clients that consumer insights would be “paused” until further notice.
Calls and emails sent to Hitwise were not immediately returned; Connexity, Hitwise’s parent company, also did not return messages.