Akamai Bets $95 Million On Better Ad Targetting; Buys acerno

Akamai wants to branch out of the content delivery business. Today it announced an all-cash, $95 million acquisition of acerno, a subsidiary of database marketing firm i-Behavior. Acerno pools purchasing data from online retailers, who then share it among themselves in an aggregate, anonymous way. So if one retailer sees that people who buy pencils also buy sharpeners, when somebody looks at a sharpener on another site it will know to put up an offer for a pencil. This data becomes more valuable as the connections become less obvious.

Akamai will combine acerno’s purchasing data with its own Web browsing data to offer Websites an even more refined way to target ads. It is blending acerno into a newly created data business called Advertising Decision Solutions.

Investors, though, may question what a content delivery network is doing getting into the advertising business. The stock is down 2 percent on the news.