Today in Social

Google is buying Wildfire, another one of those companies that makes some technology but whose primary business is more like an ad agency: helping customers manage social media marketing campaigns. AllThingsD says it hears the deal is worth $250 million, a lot less than what Salesforce paid for Buddy Media, which is probably the biggest fish in this particular pond. These hybrid tools/services companies feel like a more natural fit within companies that make money off of marketing services (what an ad agency does) rather than off of actually selling ad inventory (what Google or Facebook does). There’s a potential for conflict of interest. Somewhere in between those two lies the Salesforce or Oracle model. Don’t get hung up on conspiracy theories – Facebook’s Exchange is nothing like AdSense, which is a real ad network with most of its inventory outside of Google properties. Google can definitely use the Wildfire tools and talent to help marketing customers use its platforms, ad networks, and even its own ad inventory. It’s just going to be hard for Google to charge for those services.

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David Card

VP Research Gigaom Research

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