Case | HBS Case Collection | April 2000 (Revised June 2001)

DoubleClick Buys Abacus (A)

by John A. Deighton


By acquiring Abacus, DoubleClick won the power to serve ads with unprecedented precision, because it brought together Web surfers' online and offline identities. Several competitors had developed advanced systems for serving ads on the web, but DoubleClick had the advantage of an early start and a large installed base of clients. When DoubleClick modified its privacy declaration to allow it to use the full potential of its combined database however, it became the focus of a privacy furor.

Keywords: Information; Rights; Internet; Ethics; Competitive Advantage; Social Issues; Customer Focus and Relationships; Online Advertising; Advertising Industry;


Deighton, John A. "DoubleClick Buys Abacus (A)." Harvard Business School Case 500-091, April 2000. (Revised June 2001.) (request a courtesy copy.)