There are a few areas of the digital space I’m particularly fond of right now and they have to do with mining content for data, and then turning the data into insights. Note, that data is generally “dumb” as a single data set can mean different things to different people (insights). Owning the data is one thing, but mining it for insights and meaning is another. I’d rather have the smartest insights team than owning a data set that I don’t know what to do with.
Anyway, I think there are a few companies/areas that I’d like to roll-up. This is me personally speaking, having nothing to do with any business I’m affiliated with. Also, please note that I’ve not put any banking rigor to this, so have no idea about valuations/cap tables, etc – so this is purely conversational fodder.
URL Shortening Services – Bit.ly for example. I’d like to buy as many of them that have a userbase, and roll them out a la TweetLnks style. I cannot sit on Twitter all day long (or even Seesmic Desktop or Tweetdeck) so I miss a whole host of links that are shared that may be interesting to me. @bbhlabs and @epc share some great links (amongst dozens of others) and I miss them. If I can strike deals with all of the URL Shortening Serivces (or buy them), I’d be able to create a very comprehensive new type of daily digest. Not sure if the idea is coming across well, but I think it has legs. Monetization can come from adding affiliate links (getting buy-off from the stakeholders) as well, as, premium services.
TweetDeck & Seesmic – may be too late for the latter, but I think rolling companies like these up is a very nice platform for the next generation of communication online and thru mobile. AOL IM is making a play for the mobile space now (just released, AT&T should be scared), but these are two fantastic AIR platforms that have lots of opportunity. Could compliment the above.
Data Aggregators – Exelate, BlueKai, Domdex, Demdex, Lookery, TargusInfo, etc. Package them all up and own the data space. Every ad network and holding company will need access to this data so if you can aggregate all of these players up and create a centralized cookie jar, could be really interesting. While one would argue that the sum of the parts is greater than the whole, I am not sure if that stands up inthe short-term for these players. I think there could be a quick exit here as well.
Any others? Thoughts?