Sapient Spins Out Ad Server

NEW YORK The rush of consolidation in the ad-serving business is leading Sapient to spin out its BridgeTrack technology as a stand-alone product.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Sapient gained BridgeTrack when it bought Planning Group International, a Miami agency, in December 2005. PGI developed the technology in-house to use for clients like Citibank that needed to track different metrics sources than those offered by leading ad-serving vendors DoubleClick’s DART and aQuantive’s Atlas.

BridgeTrack integrates data from several sources, such as online display, e-mail campaigns and site analytics. PGI developed BridgeTrack seven years ago.

“We believe the integrated platform is the way to go,” said Dave Murphy, general manager of BridgeTrack.

By spinning out the ad technology, Sapient is taking a page from earlier agency playbooks. Atlas was spun out of Avenue A in October 2000, eventually becoming a key part of the company’s $6 billion valuation.

Since then, the ad-serving world has rapidly consolidated. Google inked a deal to buy DoubleClick in April for $3.1 billion, and Microsoft signed an agreement last week to buy aQuantive for $6 billion. This has led some agencies to respond.

“We realized we needed to accelerate our plans and get to market with what we have,” he said.

BridgeTrack will continue to operate as part of Sapient, but the company has plans to separate it from the agency to ensure clients their data will not be misused, Murphy said.