Meebo Buys Research Firm Mindset Media

Internet Startup Looks to Capitalize on Psychographic Data

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NEW YORK ( -- Meebo, an internet company specializing in social-networking tools for digital publishers, has acquired market-research firm Mindset Media for an undisclosed sum.

The deal allows Meebo to capitalize on Mindset's audience-research data, which groups internet audiences by what the company considers personality types, such as "openness" or "pragmatism," instead of the stock demographic categories such age, gender or location. Meebo, which had already been using Mindset's analysis for the past year, will absorb 12 of its 14-member staff, which is based in New York.

"Mindset allows us to both connect certain kinds of users with the brand that they will respond most to," said Meebo Chief Operating Officer Martin Green, adding that the research company can better predict which brands a consumer will more likely want to buy.

"It's about finding the affinity of one brand to another," he said. "How can you predict whether a wealthy middle-aged man is more likely to respond to an advertisement from Audi vs. Mercedes? Demographics don't help you predict that."

Mindset works by tracking people's online behavior via cookies it installs through participating websites, such as those from NBC Universal, and applies a personality type based on how people browse the internet. As an example, a person who is considered to have "openness," as defined by the company, is two times more likely to buy organic food than the average consumer.

"Our ad customers are getting smarter about the kind of users who are responding to their messages the best," Mr. Green said.

Mindset will still continue to operate as a business unit within Meebo, servicing its own clients. "That's the only way it would work," Mindset CEO Jim Meyer said, who pointed out that both companies serve publishers, and that, "culturally, our companies are very similar."

Meebo is already known for its Facebook and Twitter sharing tools that sit in a bar along the bottom of more than 8,000 participating websites such as Hollywood Reporter, TMZ and "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." The Meebo bar reached 76.6 million people in December, according to ComScore, and the company has drawn in advertisers such as LG, Starbucks and Microsoft.

The Mountain View, Calif., startup has raised $70 million in seed and venture funding from Khosla Ventures and Sequoia Capital among others, and though Meebo's acquisition of Mindset speaks to its deepening ambitions in display advertising, it doesn't consider itself a media or marketing enterprise.

"We don't think of ourselves as an advertising network," Mr. Green said. "We're really a consumer-tech company, and we're trying to make other sites more social."

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