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Efficient Frontier Buys Social Agency Context Optional

  |  May 4, 2011   |  Comments

San Francisco-based Context Optional is a Facebook preferred developer.

One-time search firm Efficient Frontier has acquired Context Optional, a social media marketing agency and Facebook preferred developer.

Efficient Frontier was founded in 2002 as a search-marketing firm, gradually expanding into a more comprehensive online advertising shop. Context Optional represents the first acquisition for the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company.

"I look back at the history of Efficient Frontier, and we benefited greatly from being one of the first movers in the search space," said CEO David Karnstedt. "As we look at social being the next wave of marketing platforms, we want to be as early as we were on the optimization side of things, but we also know engagement and ongoing customer retention is critical."

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Some reports put the price of Context Optional at $50 million, but Karnstedt declined to confirm the number.

Context Optional, which was founded in 2006 and is based in San Francisco, produces a "social media suite" that allows clients to manage interactions with fans and customers on social media sites. It also provides an analytics platform for tracking customer behavior.

"It's real end-to-end engagement platform," said Karnstedt, "which we thought would be the perfect complement to out customer acquisition platform."

Context Optional is also one of the 65 Facebook preferred developers, meaning the social network recommends its services to its advertising clients.

The acquisition would not result in any office closings, layoffs or client conflicts, said Karnstedt. To the contrary, he said both firms were hiring "at a frenetic pace."


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.

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