Technorati Acquisition Will Build Brand Services

As brand advertisers continue to morph into content creators, social media search firm Technorati aims to expand that concept through an acquisition of media aggregation technology outfit Personal Bee. The purchase, announced today, will allow Technorati to extend its Conversational Marketing System services, recently promoted through a relationship with Ogilvy North America.

“Brand communications are moving from one way stuff… to stuff that is more inclusive of the audience and conversational,” said Technorati chairman Peter Hirschberg. “Advertisers increasingly want to become publishers.”

Personal Bee’s platform enables users to create dynamically-updated sites featuring content from across the Web based on chosen topics. Technorati plans on offering advertisers the same capability, allowing them to develop customizable microsites focused on particular subject matter associated with their brands and the communities they’re hoping to reach. The Personal Bee technology will be integrated with Technorati’s to produce the second iteration of its marketing program.

A consumer packaged goods maker, for instance, could choose to aggregate recipes, blog posts or other content mentioning one of its food brands. Technorati will host and service the sites.

For Ogilvy’s clients, “This is a step into social marketing, social networking,” said Steve Hayden, vice chairman of Ogilvy and Mather. “The challenge has been getting enough versatility, editorial control and level of automation so the kinds of feeds you get are on brand.”

The blog search company will also introduce a tool to promote the sites. Content feeds will be streamed dynamically into ad units or Web site widgets that can be linked to sites created with the integrated platform. The ads will be served by Technorati. At first, both the ads and use of the platform will most likely be sold by subscription fee; however that could change in time, according to Hirschberg. “We’re looking to evolve to a CPM model,” he told ClickZ News.

In December of last year, PR firm Edelman aligned with feed platform provider NewsGator Technologies to offer a similar ad and widget product featuring CGM content.

The platform advances content associated with particular memes according to popularity. Content blurbs and links gain prominence based on audience voting and the number of users who click on it. In addition, the system isolates emerging memes, and lets users comment. “It’s a learning product,” said Hirschberg. “It’s always finding the most popular stuff.”

According to the deal, the Personal Bee brand will disappear and its platform will be fully integrated under the Technorati name. Technorati will take on all Personal Bee employees, the number of whom was not disclosed. Personal Bee founder and CEO Ted Shelton will now serve as VP business development for Technorati. Terms of the purchase were not revealed.

According to Hirschberg, Technorati is “jointly pitching” the new service along with its agency partner, Ogilvy. Following its foray into brand services through a relationship with Paramount Pictures about a year ago, Technorati teamed with Ogilvy in January to promote its Conversational Marketing System to Ogilvy’s clients. Advertisers that have used the new offering were not made known.

Next week the agency plans to bring together its digital media and interactive creative teams to “see if we can come up with the first most likely experiment,” said Ogilvy’s Hayden.

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