Google's Feedburner Grab Would Impact Personalized Search, Analytics

Though yet to be confirmed by either company, Google's rumored acquisition of Feedburner for $100 million seems small compared to the recent spate of billion-dollar ad network deals. But insiders say it was only a matter of time before the Web's predominant RSS supplier would be snatched up by one of the "big three."

"It was bound to happen. And it's a good move on Google's behalf if it goes through for $100 million," said Dan Brough, vice president and search director, DraftFCB. "It's really a bargain for what, by most standards, is the dominant feed syndicator in the industry."

While Feedburner is not exactly a fledgling company (it reportedly boasts more than 67 million feed subscriptions and partnerships with media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and, the acquisition would be in line with statements that Google CEO Eric Smith made at a shareholders' meeting weeks ago--namely that Google views buying smaller tech firms, not huge ones, as the bread and butter of its merger strategy.



Adding Feedburner to its portfolio would give Google a number of gains. The ability to roll tracking statistics on Feedburner's reported total of more than 720,000 feeds into Google Analytics is the most obvious, as the business of online advertising increasingly gets driven by trailing and deciphering user behavior. "Google's Analytics suite will definitely benefit over time through this acquisition," said Brough.

And while the deal may also speed up widespread integration of AdSense ads into RSS feeds (an option currently available to select advertisers during closed beta testing), its implications for personalized search may be more valuable. Should Google decide to combine knowledge of a user's subscribed feeds with its wealth of corresponding behavioral data, the company will be able to further target both search and advertising capabilities. "It's part of this natural progression toward making search more relevant through other means," said Brough.

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