By Andrea Chang
10:39 AM PDT, August 1, 2012
Google has acquired Wildfire, a marketing start-up that uses social media to connect brands with consumers.
Created four years ago, Wildfire says its vision is "to change the way the world markets." The platform enables brands to manage their pages, apps, tweets, videos, ads and promotions in one central location.
"We're putting the pieces in place to make marketing more personalized, more useful, more democratic, and ultimately, better," Wildfire said.
Co-founders Victoria Ransom and Alain Chuard developed the first Wildfire technology as owners of a New Zealand-based adventure travel company. The duo wanted to give away a free trip to fans, and learned that running the promotion on Facebook would require them to create an app.
They developed the software and what was intended as a "weeklong side project" turned into the first Wildfire product, Promotion Builder. Today, Wildfire powers social media marketing for more than 16,000 businesses, including 30 of the top 50 global brands, the company said.
Wildfire now offers a complete "social marketing suite" and has a software platform that integrates directly with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.
The companies didn't disclose the acquisition price. Wildfire is based in Redwood City and also has offices in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, London, Munich, Paris and Singapore.
In a post Tuesday on Google's official blog, Product Management Director Jason Miller said that by acquiring Wildfire, Google can better manage and measure brand interactions in a more integrated and meaningful way.
"Wildfire helps businesses uphold their end of the conversation (or spark a new one)," Miller said. "With Wildfire, we're looking forward to creating new opportunities for our clients to engage with people across all social services. We believe that better content and more seamless solutions will help unlock the full potential of the Web for people and businesses."
Since launching the company, Ransom and Chuard have built a service that helps businesses such as Virgin, Cirque du Soleil, Gilt Group and Spotify manage their social efforts across websites, Miller said.
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