Federated Media Acquires TextDigger

Federated Media Publishing (FM) has acquired a semantic and linguistics technology platform from the San Jose, Calif.-based firm TextDigger.

According to FM founder and CEO John Battelle, the company will begin using TextDigger’s set of tools to help its publishers improve their content flow, site navigation—and ultimately create better advertising and marketing opportunities.

TextDigger boasts of a proprietary platform which can automatically scan content for specific words and phrases—and also better deduce meaning from text–based on context and linguistic/semantics patterns. For example, Battelle said that TextDigger’s tech could theoretically discern between various uses of the word “cat”—either the animal or “a hip person living in New York,” he said.

That sort of precision is useful in helping publishers answer questions from users on their sites, for example. But its also particularly useful in scanning and curating social media conversations at scale. “That is a not a trivial thing to do manually,” said Battelle.

FM’s publishing partners derive mostly from the long tail, ranging from sites like Awkward Family Photos to Serious Eats to Wholesome Baby Food. Besides helping these partners find new ad opportunities, Battelle said that FM may use TextDigger’s semantic platform to create stand along media products along the lines of ExecTweets, a business executive Twitter aggregator that the company created for Microsoft.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. As part of the deal, TextDigger founder and CEO Tim Musgrove will join Federated as Chief Scientist, and he will be accompanied by several TextDigger engineers. However, TextDigger will continue to operate as a search focused separate company going forward with chief business development officer, Bob Perreault taking over as CEO.