Sources Say Akamai’s Next Acquistion Could Be Tag Management Platform BrightTag

BrightTag_Logo_medOver the past two months, Akamai's been on a buying spree and it sounds like it may not be over. After agreeing to buy Cotendo for $268M and acquiring Blaze for what is rumored to be a $12-$15M evaluation, multiple industry sources say Akamai is in negotiations to buy Chicago based and privately held BrightTag. If true, this would be a very smart acquisition for Akamai and something their ad and commerce customers would love.

BrightTag is one of a handful of vendors that offer a cloud-based tag management platform. These solutions provide a connectivity layer between first-party data and the marketing and analytics services supporting a website. As BrightTag explains on their blog, today's marketers are overwhelmed by the complexity of data collection and coordinating how their data is used across multiple services for re-targeting, ad networks, search, analytics, product recommendation, content optimization, widgets, etc.

Tag management platforms facilitate direct connections between a marketer’s website and its chosen marketing partners using a cloud-based approach that eliminates the need to put third party tags directly on a client site. This helps customers improve the performance and reliability of their websites while increasing their ability to leverage data in marketing efforts. In BrightTag's case, clients can monitor in real-time all the data they have chosen to share, know where that data is going and who is using it.

BrightTag has raised $8M to date from New World Ventures, TomorrowVentures, EPIC Ventures and I2A Fund. The company competes with other tag management platform vendors in the industry including BlueKai, Demdex, Tagman, Tealium and Ensighten amongst others. BrightTag customers include Orbitz, Gap, jetBlue, Westin Hotels, Old Navy, Crate & Barrel, 1800 Flowers, TransUnion, Sheraton Hotels and Banana Republic.

With a significant lack of centralization and standardization when it comes to the data gathered on a website and all of the ad and commerce companies Akamai already counts as customers, it is only a matter of time before Akamai is going to be forced to offer a tag based management platform. I'm not an expert when it comes to the tag management space, but sources say BrightTag has one of the best platforms in the market and it sounds like it would be a natural fit in Akamai's product portfolio.