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BlueKai Mines Purchase Data to Improve Online Advertising

Operating under the premise that past purchases can paint a clearer picture of future purchase intent, Bellevue-based BlueKai is collecting data from e-commerce sites to target ads to users.

The startup launched in September with the conviction that "the real interesting data [for optimal ad targeting] is in commerce and shopping sites" — as opposed to the content users are reading, stated CEO Omar Takawol.

"Those sites know more than Google about what you are going to do."

Positioning itself at outset as an anonymous data exchange, the firm raised $10.5 million in a round led by Redpoint Ventures and Battery Ventures last year. Last week it pegged its 100 millionth unique online shopper — including 18 million in-market car buyers — making it the largest online commercial intent data exchange.

Like Axciom or Experian, BlueKai is set up like an independent broker for consumer information, AdAge reports. It charges a flat fee to access to its data, of which about 70% is passed back to e-commerce sites.

Takawol was not forthcoming about which sites participate in BlueKai's program, but asserted that blogs, magazine sites, community and news sites do not qualify.

"The data is very good because consumers are going [to certain sites] not to read, but precisely to buy or do price comparison shopping," he said.

Customers may visit BlueKai to scope out or edit their online profiles. They also have the option to opt out entirely, or have portions of the proceeds donated to a charity when marketers pay to access their material.

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