Knowledge Networks Lands $15.5 Million

Marketing information firm Knowledge Networks will add $15.5 million to its coffers, which will no doubt be useful as the metrics and analysis space continues to heat up.

The three-year-old, Menlo Park, Calif.-based firm received the funding — its fourth round — from previous investors Oak Investment Partners, Alloy Ventures, Maveron, Meritech Capital Partners, and Oak Hill Venture Partners.

The cash infusion comes as a vote of confidence as competition in the online research and analytics sector continues at a fever pitch. The firm provides Web-based surveys and sampling — similar to companies including comScore Networks, which earlier this year acquired Media Metrix and Audience InSite Measures from the now-departed Jupiter Media Metrix; and NetRatings , which in previous months purchased @plan and AdRelevance to add to its market research capabilities.

Knowledge Networks, meanwhile, develops its market research based on probability sampling using interactive television surveys of panelists’ media consumption, attitudes and buying intentions.

“Some very discriminating investors … see that our business proposition — using innovative technologies and expertise to maximize marketing efficiency — is powerful, unique, and scaleable,” said John Lewis, the firm’s president and chief executive. “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to take Knowledge Networks to a new plateau of profitability and excellence.”

A number of firms in the Web site analytics sector also are branching out into areas that compete with Knowledge Networks, as providers have recently begun offering tools and promising future upgrades that will link visitor and buyer data with information gleaned from CRM, email and advertising responses, and SPSS and other analytics providers.

In May, for instance, Coremetrics inked an agreement with BizRate.com to include data from customer satisfaction surveys in its Marketforce LIVE analytics platform. Web ad serving giant DoubleClick entered the field last year as well.

Ultimately, products like these aim to provide a comprehensive profile of companies’ current and prospective customers, and to gauge marketing effectiveness — similar to Knowledge Network’s mission.

The new financing is the third major windfall for online metrics firms in the past year — proving their continued favor among venture backers in spite of their unwillingness to support most other forms of Internet enterprise, the mounting competition in the sector, and the well-publicized troubles that afflicted Jupiter Media Metrix and, earlier, PCData.

A year ago, comScore received about $15 million in cash from former investors. In June, it received an additional $20 million from new and old shareholders.

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