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When TransMedia launched its Glide platform in 2005, it was at the forefront of the movement toward cloud computing. Six years later, major players like Google and Microsoft have caught up and the online application and storage business has become highly competitive.
As with companies challenging Google and Microsoft in search -- Blekko, Duck Duck Go, and Ixquick -- TransMedia has tried focusing on privacy and social networking in an effort to differentiate its online apps platform from the offerings of larger players.
But while consumers often say they want privacy, their choices have tended toward trading privacy for some sharing service or online application.
Such behavior has been a boon to Facebook but hasn't done much for companies betting on privacy like TransMedia. It has however encouraged the Federal Trade Commission to back a Do-Not-Track proposal to constrain behavioral marketing.
On Tuesday, TransMedia shifted strategy and announced a partnership with Lotame, a data analytics management company. TransMedia aims to magnify the value of its permission-based media sharing infrastructure by connecting it with marketers.
"What makes Glide compelling as a data driven platform is the breadth and integration of the application suite encompassing areas of productivity, communication, social interaction, search and location-based services," said TransMedia CEO Donald Leka in a statement. "We look forward to working with Lotame to offer data analytics that benefit our users with an emphasis on user control of personal data."
Leka says the goal is to provide marketers with useful anonymous data while simultaneously respecting user's privacy choices. It's not immediately clear how Lotame's Crowd Control platform will be used in conjunction with Glide OS. But it is clear that behavioral data is something marketers will pay for amid a world of online services that consumers increasingly expect for free.
Data analytics management is something of a booming industry because advertisers want to target their messages more precisely. Adobe in January acquired Demdex, one of the leading companies in the space, continuing its investment in analytics beyond its Omniture acquisition in 2009. Venture capitalists meanwhile are investing in similar analytics companies like Lotame and Blue Kai. It wouldn't be surprising to see Google or Microsoft looking for potential acquisition targets either.