ADOTAS – In my big funding roundup the other day, I totally missed the news that device fingerprinter BlueCava scored $9.5 million in a funding round led by S3 Ventures with participation from existing investors Mark Cuban (yes, that Mark Cuban) and Tim Headington (who is no slouch himself). The company’s funding total now stands at $16 million.
We’ve covered BlueCava extensively, but once more, with feeling — originally developed as a piracy deterrent for the music industry, BlueCava’s device fingerprinting gathers non-personal data (IP address, browser version, time zone, installed fonts, browser plug-ins, etc.) shared between browser and publisher, encrypts it, analyzes it to determine its “reputation” and then gives it a unique ID that can be used for targeted advertising (including adding a device ID to consumer data from first parties) and fraud prevention.
Even if a user switches browsers or dump his/her cookies, BlueCava’s system can figure out it’s the same device and update its records. In addition, BlueCava manages the sale of behavioral and other data (such as financial transaction data for preventing fraud) associated with device IDs on its Reputation Exchange. If you’re freaked out about this, here’s a link to manage your preferences, which include opting out completely.
I’ve written a few times that device fingerprinting could prove to be a simplified tool for bringing transparency to data transfer agreements between pubs and consumers — basically, the long-heralded opt-in system.
Think about it this way — a pub could corner off some of its content and tell users they have to pay with either cold hard cash or data for advertising purposes. For those that choose the data route (which would probably be the majority — pay money for online content? HA!), a company like BlueCava would identify the device and associate an ID with it. Tracking cookies for behavioral targeting? Where we’re going, we don’t need tracking cookies. It’s arguable that the device IDs could come in quite handy for internal analytics as well.
Digiday’s Jack Marshall had an interesting piece recently talking about how the lack of cookies for mobile devices has turned targeters to UDIDs, but a) Apple is cutting off that spring and b) device fingerprinting can offer a lot more consumer insight. Online, device fingerprinting might also prove a far more efficient way of handling online data for pubs, brands and consumers. BlueCava’s investors seem to think so.
“BlueCava’s technology platform is opening up new and exciting ways for brands and publishers to more smartly interact with their customers online,” commented Marsh Marshall, managing director of Putney Capital and new member of BlueCava’s board.