How Personyze wants to customize the Web
The next time you visit a website, it might be customized to fit your interests. Let’s say you check out a news site and you log in via Facebook Connect, and you notice ads and articles tailored to your interests. Somehow, the site knows you’re a parent and you’re between 35 and 45. Articles are tailored to your parental interests, and ads promote products ideal for middle-aged Canadians.
That website might have been a client of Personyze, an Israeli software firm specializing in personalizing websites for visitors. Its software can determine if a visitor is male or female, their past searches, their demographics, and other details. Then a website can customize what content each unique visitor sees, all automated on Personyze’s back end. The company relies on Facebook integration, and its other features include offline tracking to measure the success of campaigns, email personalization, custom event tracking and AdWords integration. But it can also find out what you like if you are a returning visitor to that specific site.
Their 50 paying clients including banks, travel companies, gambling sites and magazines, and Personyze expects to pull in $1 million in revenue by the end of 2011.
Personyze CEO Yakov Shabat expects to see more clients in the news space, and he mentioned they are in talks with Fox News right now. “The news sector appeals to many different segments and can let us develop specific sections to sell specific personalized ads,” Shabat says in an interview.
Shabat says he’s seen an uptick in business due to the “need for website owners to personalize their content to get away from the standard A-B testing many programmers still try out. Using personalization software gives visitors more content customized for their own interests, Shabat adds.
But even though Personyze is opt-in, should people be worried how their personal info is being used? Shabat waves away the concern, saying Personyze doesn’t keep any content, it’s all hovering up “in the cloud.” A website owner already has analytics to determine who visited what page, and so Shabat sees his proprietary technology as more of an extension of that data.
“I think at the end of the day people will welcome that a site is more relevant to them compared to a more generic version of the site,” Shabat adds.
Personyze isn’t relaxing this summer. It recently announced a partnership with Rapleaf, a company that collects and trades data from the Web. Rapleaf clients will see the benefit of Personyze technology in the coming months, Rapleaf promised.
As a young Israeli start-up, Personyze has been fielding acquisition requests from afar. An American company offered to buy the company but the 18-person Personyze staff turned down the deal to remain in Israel, Shabat says. “Let’s just say the American city we would go to wasn’t the nicest city,” he says. “And Israel has great start-up culture, and there are many talented engineers here.” He adds the company is looking to expand into the U.S. due to high demand from American clients.