Peter Kafka

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Social Ad Guys 33Across Buy Copy/Paste Guys Tynt

33Across, an ad tech start-up that specializes in social data, has picked up Tynt, the start-up that publishers use to track their content when readers copy and paste their stuff.

It’s an all-stock transaction, and the companies won’t disclose how they are valuing the deal. But the numbers should get out sooner or later, as 33Across plans on raising more money soon, pitching itself as “the largest social and interest graph in the world.”

You have to do some weird mental gymnastics to make that claim work, so ignore it. The combination of the two companies is sort of interesting, though.

Here’s the logic: 33Across makes money by tracking Web users’ social connections, and using the data to serve them targeted ads. Straightforward enough.

Tynt has its own very big data set, which it accumulates by letting publishers use its services for free, while it collects its own information. So, say, the New Yorker can see that you shared a portion of that Mitt Romney/Bain Capital story with your cousin, and Tynt can also keep tabs on where the story migrated around the Web. (Tynt, like lots of ad services, has a small but vocal group of detractors — in this case led by prominent Apple blogger John Gruber, who finds the service “annoying.”)

Put the two together, in theory, and you have an ad tech company that knows a lot about how people interact on the Web, and what sort of stuff they like to read/share (all that stuff is theoretically anonymized, etc.).

The next step, says 33Across CEO Eric Wheeler, will be to approach some of the 500,000 publishers that use Tynt’s service, and offer to sell their ads via a private exchange. That’s the newly popular concept that’s supposed to let publishers sell off some of their unsold inventory without moving it to lowest-common-denominator ad networks.

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock/Angela Waye)


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