Google Buys Facebook Marketing Company Wildfire

wildfire-and-googleGoogle yesterday announced the acquisition of Wildfire, best-known as a Facebook contest and social media marketing app.

This puts Google in a great place to expand the social side of their business. It also lands them in the bizarre position of overlords of a wealth of Facebook marketing data.

The sale price was reported as $250 million, though CNNMoney says it could really be closer to $400 million when you factor in earn-outs and employee retention bonuses.

In their official blog post on the acquisition, Google’s Product Management Director Jason Miller wrote:

…today we’re happy to share that the Wildfire team will be joining Google. Their co-founders, Victoria Ransom and Alain Chuard, launched their startup just four years ago. Since then, they and their team have built a service that helps businesses like Virgin, Cirque du Soleil, Gilt Group and Spotify manage their social efforts across numerous social websites. It’s a platform for brands to manage their pages, apps, tweets, videos, sponsorships, ads, promotions and more, all in one place.

Wildfire seems hopeful to continue their working relationship with Facebook, saying of the transition, “For now, we remain focused on helping brands run and measure their social engagement and ad campaigns across the entire web and across all social services — Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and more — and to deliver rich and satisfying experiences for their consumers. To this end, Wildfire will operate as usual, and there will be no changes to our service and support for our customers.”

We’ll have to see about that. It’s hard to imagine Facebook allowing their top competitor to waltz into the inner workings (or at least on the fringe) of their social marketing and advertising programs. We asked Facebook what the acquisition means for them and they let us know they will not be commenting at this time. 

Google also scooped up Digg founder Kevin Rose and his team from Milk, an app iteration experimentation company, earlier this year. Taking on their entire talent pool was a move designed to boost Google’s social capabilities. Last month, Google also snatched up Meebo for $100 million.

Fun aside: With the Wildfire acquisition, Google gains Mark Zuckerberg’s younger sister as an employee, which prompted this tweet from Randi Zuckerberg:

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