Microsoft Buys Greenfield Online

August 29, 2008 · 0 comments

Microsoft announced this morning that it has entered into an agreement to purchase Greenfield Online for $486 million. They’re planning to have the purchase finalized by the end of 2008.
Greenfield Online has two major components, according to ZDNet: there’s the Greenfield online survey part, which many of us in the rewards program arena are familiar with, and then there’s Ciao, which consists of Ciao Surveys and also the search and review portal based in Europe. According to Microsoft’s statement, they’re not interested in the survey business and have in fact already lined up a buyer for that part.
What Microsoft wants is Ciao’s search and review portal, and to get it integrated into Microsoft Live Search.
Ciao’s corporate site explains in more detail exactly what it is they do:
“Ciao, a subsidiary of Greenfield Online, Inc., is one of the leading European providers of comparison shopping and consumer portals. It provides consumers in seven countries and languages with detailed information and comparison pricing for over 4 million products. More than 5 million product reviews are currently available online. Since September 2006, we are offering reviews in video format.
The portal also includes direct shopping links to individual online merchants – because Ciao is where purchase decisions are made!”
That last part sounds like something that would make Ciao easy to integrate into Live Search Cashback. And of course, MS will be happy to extend its reach overseas as well. So, you can see where this would be an attractive company (or portion of a company) for Microsoft to buy. According to John Mangelaars, vice president, Consumer and Online, Microsoft Europe, Middle East and Africa, “This makes the company a fantastic asset to the future of our search offer. Integrating Ciao’s capabilities into Live Search will provide a strong launchpad for our commercial search offer in Europe and enhance our e-commerce offering on MSN.”
For those of us who are members of Greenfield Online and/or Ciao Surveys, the impact of this is unclear. Any changes would probably not be immediate since the purchase won’t be finalized for several months.

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