Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Facebook Pal Buddy Media Buys a Start-Up, Isn't Selling to Facebook

Buddy Media, a fast-growing company that helps advertisers navigate Facebook, has bought Spinback, a recently hatched company that helps retailers navigate Facebook.

But before we get to that, this seems like a good time to ask Buddy Media CEO Mike Lazerow about the loud chatter that he’s agreed to sell his company to Facebook.

Not true, says Lazerow. “It’s not happening.”

You can see why the rumor mill likes the idea, though. Buddy Media is in many ways an extension of Facebook: It charges companies thousands of dollars a month to help them set up and manage their presence on the social network, which usually includes purchasing ads from Facebook, too.

So if and when Buddy does sell, Facebook would be the logical acquirer. But Lazerow, who raised $38 million to date, (including a $28 million round last fall), says he’s not on the market.

“People who are selling today are selling because they’ve decided they need a bigger partner in order to compete,” he says, and here he’s likely talking about companies like Context Optional, which was just acquired by Efficient Frontier. “If you can compete, now’s not the time to sell.”

Okay. Back to Spinback: The five-man company, which formed last year and didn’t open for business until last fall, helps online retailers track the flow of traffic from their sites to Facebook and back again.

So, for instance, if you told your Facebook pals that you liked this t-shirt from BustedTees, Spinback could tell you what happened next: How many of your pals looked at, liked or shared your link, and if any of them ended up coming back to the site to buy one.

There are lots of practical application for retailers alone. But you can also see how that tracking would be useful for people who aren’t selling anything online–like many of Buddy Media’s brand advertisers.

Lazerow says Buddy will eventually integrate Spinback’s team and technology into Buddy’s main offering, but for now CEO Andrew Ferenci and his group will operate as a free-standing team within their new employer.

Spinback from Spinback on Vimeo.

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