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Mergers in web survey software&service industry

Aug 08 2011

We can recently observed increasing acquisitions among largest players of the web survey software industry.

SurveyMonkey, perhaps the most popular (with more than 20 millions respondents per month)  web survey service, acquired (for 35 millions $) Wufoo, a fast-growing  a classic Y combinator start-up funded in 2006, specialized on on-line forms and micro-payment. Wufoo was also awarded by Jacob Nielson for its innovative user interface.

This is in fact only one of the steps in recent expansion of SurveyMokey. After starting in 1999, in last years, the company grew from 17 to almost 100 employees and turnover of 50 millions $, it hired new management, took 100$ of credit and started with acquisitions: a telephone survey startup  PrecisonPolling, web survey  Clictools specialist for CRM integration. It increasingly adopts formats to requirements of Salesforce, CRM and cloud computing enterprise support. It also seems the steps are taken to create own web panel, similarly to what Zoomerang, another pioneer from 1999 and also one of the biggest players (more than 100 millions of surveys since beggining), which is now part of (know ten years ago by low-price-end product zTelligence). In both cases we can observe the pattern that web surveys platforms tend to develop and integrate into  business and marketing support.

We may add, that PoolDaddy, another super-popular web survey tool founded in 2006 and partial SurveyMonkey competitor, was acquired few years ago by Wordpress group (Automattic), to be integrated into bloggers platforms, so to compete other polling/widgets services, including Digg ratings.

Another large merger occurred to Questback, Norwegian multinational company and Europe leading EFM (enterprise feedback management) providers, which after expansion in recent years, acquired Global Park, one of the largest suppliers of web survey related services. GlobalPark has recently specialized  also in CRM Social media, besides its elaborated software support for web and mobile surveys. It was expanding in US, predominantly to market their web survey panel system. GlobalPark is also known to be friendly for academic researchers, sponsoring annual Mobile research conference. With that merge, the largest European supplier in survey data collection was created with estimated 40 million € turnover per year.

Third recent large acquisition is related to Vovici (created in 2006 with merge of WebSurveyor and Perseus SurveySolutions), one of the largest Saas (Software as Service) web survey &  EFM provider, with 100+ employees. It was acquired for 50 million € by Verint, a global business intelligence corporation with more than 2000 employees.

Within this context we can also observe some other acquisitions in past years among largest players:

  • SPSS and its advanced web suvey platform  (which changing name (MR interview, Dimensions) was bought by IBM, which now offers IBM SPSS data collection family.
  • Confirmit bought Pulse Train and its Bellview Fusion line.

These all goes in line also with general trends in global bussines and particularly market research industry, where all Nielson companies merged back under one umbrella, where Cantar group bought TNS, Ipsos bought Synovate (from Aegis group for more than half billion €), Arbitron acquired mobile research start-up Zokemand and GFK bought NOP few years ago. If we add the consolidation  of Gallup companies and expansion of HarrisInteractive and Toluna, we end up with perhaps less than 10 companies, which can run sophisticated global web surveys. At the same majority of them they also compete with web survey at local level in almost any country.

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