What Role Did Blogging Play in the Hitwise Acquisition?

Megacorp Experian has acquired Australia based website traffic analysts Hitwise for $240 million, it was announced today.  That announcement really caught my eye because Hitwise has done an incredible job of using blogs and participating in social media to raise the company’s profile.  I can only assume that this has helped it raise revenues and thus contributed to its acquisition.  What other traffic stats company puts out really interesting, timely data for free on a regular basis?  What other companies write blog posts that hit the peak of Techmeme?  What other traffic companies provide the fodder for thought provoking, informative posts on blogs like TechCrunch, Gigaom, Mashable and many, many more – on a regular basis?

Three cheers for these folks coming down off the “I see the traffic, now here’s a quarterly press release” high-horse that their competitors are too often on.  Blogger Andy Beal writes similarly this morning. “All of those great charts that Hitwise so freely provide us,” he quips, “have paid off big time for the web intelligence company.”

A Google search of Techmeme for Hitwise has 2,400 results; only Comscore can come close to that among the major traffic analysts. (The little startup I work at has 3X the number of Techmeme appearances as traffic analyst leader NetRatings, for example.) [Update: The folks at Compete.com just emailed me to point out their extensive engagement in the blogosphere. Plus, I’ll add, they advertise on blogs, which is very cool. I think their numbers are funky, but whatever, they are totally raising their profile by leveraging social media. We’ll see if they can be as smart about it as Hitwise, though.] Outside numbers tracking is a crap-shoot game, no one really trusts anyone’s methods all that much – so the best you can do is to be highly visible in a positive light.

Specifically, three cheers for  LeeAnn Prescott and Heather Hopkins – two women whose ability to see what the tech world is interested in and shape the conversation by providing pertinent data, thoughtfully presented early in the conversation.  Remember when you didn’t give Photobucket a moment’s thought?  Guess who posted numbers about their huge market share and got tech bloggers talking about them?   LeeAnn Prescott.  Who blogged about it when Bebo reportedly passed MySpace in traffic in the UK for the first time?  Heather Hopkins.   Blog posts like this have changed our understanding of the web 2.0 market.  

I’m sure the smart blogging strategies Hitwise employed were just some of many factors leading to the company’s acquisition for $240 million, but I think company blogging and these bloggers in particular deserve some serious recognition.