Google Finds Waze; Xaxis Heads To Latin America

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Finding The Waze?

After talks with Facebook fell through, Google may have swooped in and offered $1 billion+ to acquire social map startup Waze. According to Israel-based Haaretz, the move is a done deal and would keep Facebook from directly competing with Google in a very important area – mapping stuff. As part of the deal, Waze will reportedly keep its offices in Israel and team in place. Google is supposedly offering all cash, but no official comments have been made from either company. Read more. Haaretz describes Waze as “a crowd-sourced, mobile-oriented navigation device for drivers that relies on information provided by its 47 million members to populate its maps.” See Waze’s site. Implications for ads: more data points for location-based advertising through Google. Facebook will need to look elsewhere for more local data.

Programmatic Continents

Xaxis is opening offices in Latin America.  The Wall Street Journal’s Suzanne Vranica says that WPP’s trading arm sees growing opportunity there – faster than the programmatic pace in the US and Europe.  One reason for the growth, according to the WSJ:   “Mr. Lesser at Xaxis says Europe has very strict privacy laws. But in Brazil, for instance, there are already third-party data companies operating so Xaxis anticipates a less-restrictive market.” Read more (subscription).

VivaKi Gets Native

VivaKi has partnered with native advertising startup Nativo (that’s like calling yourself “AdExchanger” amidst the ad exchange buzz... oh wait... uh) demonstrating the increasing interest in native advertising. Michael Wiley, Managing Director of VivaKi Ventures, says in the press release that Nativo offers “publishers a turnkey solution for native content insertion at scale without losing the native look and feel that home grown approaches offer." Does that mean “premium” CPMs? Read the release.  Nativo announced a capital raise of $3.5 million in April.

Who Needs Cookies?

Adam Markey, Senior Product Manager of DataXu, outlines the benefits of a cookie-less future in an article for Business Insider. Markey discusses three challenges facing the third-party cookie – such as the multi-channel nature of consumers – and he outlines different replacements for the cookie that are currently being discussed: “So why is a cookie-less consumer a good thing? My favorite answer is that it enables us to think hard about marketing in the greater context of a multi-device consumer.” Read more.

Momentum Release

CAPTCHA ad purveyor Solve Media plans on revenue of $13 million to $16 million this year (“net” or “gross” is unclear in the article), according to TechCrunch. “Soon we will release a mobile product that performs as well, from an effectiveness standpoint, as our desktop products,” said CEO Ari Jacoby. Along with the revenue, Solve Media expects 4 billion ad “engagements” for the year. Read more.  Solve is up to 50 employees, according to LinkedIn.

Privacy PRISM

Unless you were holed up in your Armageddon shelter over the weekend, it was hard to miss news of a major privacy story erupting as the US government has been apparently asking tech companies to give up their consumer data, claiming it was in the interest of national security. Read more in The Washington Post.  The initiative, known as PRISM , is unrelated to advertising, but there are echoes of concerns with the online behavioral ad business as “big data” and its insights are at the core of PRISM.  More on the whistleblower from The Guardian.

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