You might have missed it. AudienceScience announced plans to acquire a leading competitor -- Hamburg, Germany-based Wunderloop -- on Monday, July 5, the day after Independence Day in the United States.
The deal allows AudienceScience to continue on its path of global expansion. About 50 employees support Wunderloop clients from offices in France, Germany, and The Netherlands. Terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.
Wunderloop reportedly was the first German company to qualify for the European Union-backed "EuroPriSe" seal showing exemplary privacy protection. It also works with a roster of highly respected clients like AOL, Conde Nast, Telecom Italia, Ad Audience, Orange, Deutsche Telekom and eBay Motor, according to the company's Web site.
It's surprising that Germany, with its strict privacy regulations, would be open to behavioral ad targeting technology. When Google mistakenly collected data from unsecure WiFi networks in its Street View project, Germany was among the first countries to challenge the event.
Wunderloop has been supporting companies across continental Europe and Germany since its inception in 1999, and has always operated under stringent compliance with EU privacy regulations, according to Jeff Hirsch, AudienceScience's chief executive officer. The Independent Centre for Privacy Protection Schleswig-Holstein (ULD) and the technology and privacy authority TÜV Rhineland confirmed that Wunderloop's information and data processing comply with all privacy protection laws.
Marketers worldwide are embracing the notion of audience-based targeting as the need for efficiency in online media spend increases, according to Hirsch. "Germany is no different, as we see more and more brand advertisers coming online," he says. "From a privacy perspective, there are more legal hurdles to provide consumer protection than in the U.S. and having a German company lead the way has been successful. We intend to continue the rigid adherence to the practices and principles that protect consumer rights worldwide."
The acquisition, subject to third-party approval, follows AudienceScience's recent purchase of Consorte Media, a U.S.-based digital marketing company helping advertisers to connect with Hispanic consumers online.