uSamp takes DMS Insights Off AOL's Hands

Internet panel company uSamp has just announced that it has acquired research and sampling technology DMS Insights (aka Digital Marketing Services) from AOL. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Founded in 1995, DMS Insights, which was acquired by AOL in 1999, created “river sampling” methodology and developed Opinion Place, a portal for random, real-time recruitment of survey respondents via the web.

In a memo to staff, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong wrote:

“While data and research certainly play an important role in the work we are doing today and in our efforts to provide the best experiences to our consumers and advertisers going forward, creating and administering online sampling isn’t an area AOL needs to own to succeed. As we stay true to executing our strategy, it only made sense that we look to combine DMS with another group in the research industry – a move that will benefit DMS and allow the company and its employees to thrive and grow.”

According to the release, AOL will remain a strategic partner of DMS Insights, “continuing to support both traffic and AOL credit incentives for Opinion Place” and AOL will also remain as a research client of DMS.

Usamp just raised $10 million in funding to further development of its Web-based panel management platform and other social media technology enhancements. The company currently boasts a database of 2 million active global panelists for the market research industry. Top segments are said to include automotive, entertainment, financial services, food and beverage, gamers, telecommunications and travel.

Clearly the sale of DMS Insights is a part of an overall strategy of unloading properties that don’t fit into AOL’s current vision of its business model. Of course, the sale of DMS Insights comes on the heels of AOL’s sale of Bebo to hedge fund Criterion Capital Partners for less than $10 million after the company bought the social networking site for $850 million in 2008.