Mike Isaac

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Yahoo Acquires Social Data Analysis Startup Ztelic

Another day, another acquisition for Yahoo under CEO Marissa Mayer.

This time it’s Ztelic, as The Wall Street Journal first noted, a small Bejing-based outfit whose work focuses on social data analysis, covering “a full range of information aggregation and personality development,” according to the company’s website.

Update 1:01 pm PT: Yahoo confirmed the deal to AllThingsD in an emailed statement.

“As part of our investment in our R&D efforts, we’re bringing on a talented team of eight developers and engineers from Ztelic,” a Yahoo spokesperson said. “Ztelic founder and returning Yahoo, Hao Zheng, will play a critical leadership role in our Beijing Global R&D Center.

Yahoo said that Zheng plans to split his time between Yahoo’s Beijing offices and the company’s headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif., while the rest of his team will be based in Beijing.

Zheng spent the better part of a decade at Yahoo before leaving to join game company Zynga as CTO of Asia, according to his LinkedIn profile. He went on to found Ztelic in March of last year, offering services related to analysis of social network data.

That’s likely to be of much greater import to Yahoo as the company continues ramping up its “personalization” strategy — that is, tailoring its products like Yahoo News, Flickr and the famous home page to individual users based on their connections, browsing and consumption habits.

Not to mention it could potentially help bolster Yahoo’s advertising products, giving the company the ability to deliver more relevant, socially targeted ads.

Ztelic plans to shutter its product offering as a result of the acquisition.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work