Google buys FeedBurner to boost RSS services

FeedBurner buy to boost Google's ad network and Web publishing services

Google has acquired FeedBurner, a provider of publishing and advertising services for blogs and content syndication feeds.

FeedBurner's technology will boost Google's ad network and Web publishing services, Google said. Terms of the deal, which has closed, weren't revealed.

FeedBurner will continue operating as it has until now, so existing customers shouldn't experience any interruptions in service. New customers will be able to continue signing up for FeedBurner services as well. Meanwhile, Google will work to integrate FeedBurner's technologies with a number of its own products.

The volume of Web content and advertising delivered via RSS and Atom feeds has increased significantly in recent years, and Google feels that by acquiring FeedBurner it will be able to capitalize on this growth and expand its advertising reach.

FeedBurner, which has over 400,000 publishers on its network, will beef up Google's own AdSense publisher network, particularly among blogs, where FeedBurner is stronger than Google, said Susan Wojcicki, vice president of product management at Google, during a press conference.

Likewise, Google advertisers will benefit from an expanded ad inventory and ad distribution platform. Finally, FeedBurner shares Google's philosophy of helping end users find information online, with FeedBurner focused on blogs and feeds and Google on search.

"We think this will be a win for users, publishers and advertisers on the Internet," she said.

FeedBurner, a privately-held company founded in 2003, helps publishers and advertisers with "the spiraling complexity" of online media distribution compounded by RSS feeds, widget applications and mobile devices, said Dick Costolo, FeedBurner's CEO and co-founder.

"FeedBurner's focus on delivering the right media to the right end point and measuring all that for the publisher means we've got a great opportunity to combine our vision with Google's vision for organizing the world's information," he said.

Despite the executives' enthusiasm, they acknowledged that, prior to the acquisition, neither Google nor FeedBurner blocked their respective publishers and advertisers from signing up for each other's services.

Since nothing has prevented publishers and advertisers from taking advantage of both companies' offerings, the real benefits will not materialize until concrete integration happens between the companies' services and operations.

"We're working on how the products will be integrated but we want AdWords advertisers to very easily have access to the feeds, and we want the FeedBurner publishers to potentially have access to other Google services," Wojcicki said.

Google hasn't been as active as it should have been in the area of syndicated feed advertising, she said.

Beyond the obvious synergy with the Google ad network, FeedBurner services and products could be complementary to Google's syndicated feed manager Reader and Google's Analytics service for tracking sites' usage, she said.

FeedBurner, which has about 30 employees and raised about US$10 million in venture capital funding, will keep its operations in Chicago, Costolo said.

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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