Bye-Bye Beepl? Brand Embassy Buys Semantic Search Startup, Plans To Integrate Tech Into Its Social Media Monitoring Platform

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Some more consolidation in the world of social media services and technology. UK-based Brand Embassy, a provider of social-media based customer care services, is buying Beepl, UK-based a semantic search site that launched in January 2012 to take on Quora, Answers.com, ChaCha and others in the Q&A space. Brand Embassy says it plans to integrate the company’s technology into its platform, which brands use to monitor social media sites to engage better with customers. Brand Embassy’s clients include Vodafone, Telefonica O2, AVG, Diageo and Johnson & Johnson.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but it looks like it may have been a firesale of sorts.

Beepl’s consumer-facing site let users get answers and opinions on topics from subject specialists and their social connections using semantic algorithms, but it has been inactive for at least a few weeks. The company never formally replaced its CEO (and current TC contributor) Steve O’Hear, after he stood down from day-to-day work at the startup in March. Stated plans for a mobile push never really materialized, and people were murmuring about its problems months ago. Beepl had raised $400,000 in seed funding from Czech VC Credo Ventures in July 2011 after getting co-founded by O’Hear, Jan Paricka and Pete Harris.

At a time when Quora, Twitter, Facebook and the other big social networking players have already gained a lot of ground, this sale partly seems to demonstrate the challenges of picking up critical mass for newer consumer-facing social media startups.

But what it also shows is that there is still demand for technology that helps harness what is going on in social media conversations, and for those companies working in social media services for enterprises to continue to enhance their platforms to better compete against other sin the space. In this case, Brand Embassy says that it will integrate Beepl’s technology into its own social-monitoring platform.

“We are excited about the expanded capabilities Beepl will bring to Brand Embassy,” Vit Horky, co-founder and CEO of Brand Embassy, said. “By integrating the Beepl technology we will become the first product on the market, anywhere in the world, with automated tagging, assigning and behavioral learning based on the meaning of customer comments from across the entire social web.” Brand Embassy says that its platform helps reduce the amount of time it takes for a company to respond to a customer’s complaints (or praises), and using Beepl technology will help organise the data it crawls more efficiently.

“We believe the Beepl technology is changing the way people search for answers on the web. The integration with Brand Embassy means we can better help brands to communicate with their customers, and that is a very exciting proposition,” Ondrej Bartos, Partner with Credo Ventures and Beepl’s member of the board, said in a statement.

Horky declined to comment on whether Brand Embassy had any plans to revive Beepl’s consumer-facing service.