Adobe is strengthening its investment in the online ad market by acquiring Demdex, a data-management company that gives publishers more control over the behavioral data they collect. Demdex will become part of Omniture, the measurement and analytics company Adobe bought for $1.8 billion in 2009.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Demdex allows publishers to create a “behavioral bank” of user profiles with the data captured on their websites or purchased from third-party data sellers. This not only allows publishers more control over analyzing and segmenting that data, it enables them to keep that data when changing ad networks or data providers.
"Publishers today just don't have the technology platforms in place to be able to monitor their own audience data without turning it over to somebody else," said John Mellor, VP of biz development for the Omniture business unit of Adobe. Demdex, which is based in New York, allows for the "amalgamation of first party data and third party data and data that lives in various silos in an organization that need to be brought in and analyzed and segmented."
Mellor said Adobe plans to drop the name Demdex and instead offer the company's services as part of the Adobe Online Marketing Suite. He added that all 50 of Demdex's employees would become part of Adobe.
Putting control over user data in the hands of individual publishers is likely to raise questions of user privacy, particularly as government oversight edges closer to becoming reality. Mellor addressed those concerns by saying that Demdex shared Adobe's opinion that "customers own their own data."
"We are not taking a position on data here," he said. "We are just providing the infrastructure for advertisers and publishers to aggregate it and score it and transparently see what works and what doesn't."
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Douglas Quenqua is a journalist based in Brooklyn, NY who writes about culture and technology. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, The New York Observer, and Fortune.
March 19, 2014