On July 31st , 2012 John Constine, Technology Journalist for TechCrunch, reported that Google will be able to offer marketing services and ad campaigns on Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, and competitor Facebook in his article entitled “Google Acquires Wildfire, Will Now Sell Facebook And Twitter Marketing Services [Update: $350M Price]”. The Wildfire software and services allows their customers to run contests, sweepstakes, and games on the aforementioned platforms. This is all well and good so long as Facebook allows access to its Application Programming Interface (“API”). The purchase acts as a hedge in the event Google+ fails in its attempts to gain market share to the social network target market, since Facebook’s success in this market will redound to Google in the form of ad revenue.
So the open question remains will Facebook allow Wildfire API access. Facebook might just have to grin and bear it since such a denial would upset the entrenched developer network as it exists today. For a more detailed explanation of the wonders of API and target marketing See Brittany Darwell’s article in Inside Facebook and her article entitled “Email, phone number and user ID targeting: how Facebook is helping businesses reach the right audiences”. In it she discusses “Custom Audience Targeting” and how online retailers can combine their customer’s information with developers who have the user’s ID. This allows these retailers to reach their customer base more effectively through Facebook.
It will be interesting to see how all this social marketing platform sector evolves. Salesforce has purchased Buddy Media. Oracle has purchased Vitrue and Involver. With Google’s purchase of Wildfire, one of the last remaining marketing platforms available for purchase by either IBM or SAP is ThisMoment.