Posted March 3, 2008 12:35 pm by with 7 comments

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In an effort to combine and expand offline market research with online market research, London-based TNS has acquired for $75 million. Compete collects information about what people click on and their behavior online and compares it with your competitors. They also list your competitors top keywords that drive the most traffic to your site or blog (and it does this free).

Compete was founded in 2000 and is based in Boston, Massachusetts. It was funded by private VC firms and they invested a total of $43 million since 2000. Compete’s data has thus far come from the US only. While they have a free version, they sell subscriptions that provides expanded data and analysis.

From Compete’s blog post about the sale, here are some quick facts about Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS):

  • TNS is the third-largest market research firm across the globe (Honomichl)
  • TNS is the biggest provider of online market information in the world
  • TNS does more custom market research than any other firm worldwide
  • TNS Media Intelligence is the top-ranked ad spend measurement company
  • The TNS 6th Dimension access panels reach over two million consumers globally

According to TechCrunch the sale to TNS includes another $75 million in possible earn-outs through 2010 that brings the total acquisition price to $150 million. Compare that to competitor comScore, with a market cap of $570 million. Compete had a good year – revenues rose 50 percent in 2007 to $15 million, but it lost $4.5 million.

  • I think it is a sharp purchase. I love fro my research

  • Should keep the investors happy!

  • Compete has been doing some good things. Hopefully the sale means the good continues.

  • Compete offered great service. Hope it improves after this acquisition.

  • I’m excited to see what this means for the future, but honestly, I’ve never found Compete to be terribly accurate, even at moderately high traffic levels. Obviously, an outside agency isn’t going to be as accurate as your own analytics program, but for three sites that all had around 100k unique visitors a month, it returned traffic figures of 20k, 50k, and 70k.

    I guess if you assume that it’s probably underestimating everyone, it might be reasonable for comparison. It be great if the sale means increased accuracy with the addition of TNS’s research.

  • If you like Compete you’ll love Syntryx. Syntryx provides global intelligence for online marketers and advertisers, visit their website at

  • There may always be some inaccuracy when trying to define people’s expectations, but I would think the more ways utilized when looking at how people experience situations and the choices they make, the more accurate the ability to provide the things that people truly want. These companies have a chance to bring about a new vision to the field with their combined knowledge and it should be interesting to see what they can achieve together.