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Advertising Age

Abacus Deal Is Quaint in Today's Data Era

January 14, 2013

It was the first online ad-privacy scandal.

In 1999, DoubleClick bought catalog-data firm Abacus for $1.7 billion. Privacy advocates flipped. They petitioned the Federal Trade Commission and scared DoubleClick into announcing it would not connect personal information from Abacus with online-browsing data.

If the deal happened today, the story would be different. It's not uncommon for offline data -- retail transactions, CRM data, loyalty-card data and more -- to be connected to digital data to enhance online targeting.

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