Active Athlete Purchases Technology Platform to Share with Publishers

Specialty ad network Active Athlete has acquired five-man technology firm GolfBuzz — not to get access to the company’s customer base of publishers focused on golf, but instead to replicate its social media technology platform across Active Athlete’s stable of publisher partners and brands.

The GolfBuzz technology provides its publishing industry customers with the ability to put widgets and social media features on their Web sites without having to develop them in-house. By giving readers features like personal profiles, forums, course finders, course reviews and other features, the sites increase page views and ad inventory. Through its acquisition, Active Athlete intends to use the GolfBuzz system as a platform it can then replicate across multiple sports sites in its network, for instance skiing and cycling. Active Athlete currently has 180 sports-specific publishers and brand advertisers within its ad network.

“There is an opportunity to help these sites that are technically less sophisticated create better engagement. [In the process] we go from a remnant ad provider to a strategic partner,” said Robert Tas, president and CEO of Active Athlete. “We’re creating more page views and more ad impressions, and more data because we’re able to aggregate and use our technology to bring in the community aspect, so we can bring in more relevant ads to them.”

Some of GolfBuzz’s current customers have seen significant traffic gains by adding features to their Web sites. Regional golf lifestyle magazine Colorado AvidGolfer had unsuccessfully tried several times to operate online versions of its magazine based on ad sales, according to Publisher Allen Walters. As it publishes nine times a year it couldn’t provide a steady stream of content for readers online. “There was no reason for someone to go back to our site on a regular basis,” he said.

Colorado AvidGolfer relaunched its Web site last November with the GolfBuzz features, and despite being dormant for the winter season the magazine saw a significant jump in readership, he said.

Financial terms of the acquisition of GolfBuzz by Active Athlete were not disclosed. The company will close its Atlanta headquarters to join Active Athlete in San Francisco.

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