After 20 years of operation, Hitwise, a company that collects consumer data from numerous sources, is shutting down.According to the vague statement that the company gave on its website, citing “events outside of our control.” According to Hitwise, it was called an “unexpected turn of events.”
There seems to be some unconfirmed speculation that Hitwise might be winding down for reasons that also made Jumpshot recently discontinue operations.
A subsidiary of security software company Avast, Jumpshot was accused of “secretly harvesting” users’ browsing behavior, packaging it and reselling without their full knowledge. At this point, there doesn’t seem to be evidence that Hitwise did the same thing, but at this point, it’s not an unreasonable line of speculation.
Hitwise was an early website analytics provider, competing with comScore and Nielsen. It was founded in 1996 and sold to Experian 2007 for more than $240 million. Eight years later, Connexity bought Hitwise from Experian for considerably less, in a deal valued at roughly $52 million.
In the Experian press release, announcing the acquisition, the company said, “To safeguard consumer privacy, the data [collected by Hitwise] excludes personally identifiable information and is aggregated into socio-demographic marketing segments.” Interestingly, in the Connexity press release announcing the acquisition said, “Hitwise’s shift from website analytics to audience-based analytics aligns perfectly with our audience activation approach at Connexity.”
According to this, it seems that the decision to shut down Hitwise was based on some kind of privacy calculus at its core.
The first time that Hitwise’s closure came to knowledge was through a post by Bill Hartzer.