Adknowledge Buys Hydra Group

Adknowledge, a Kansas City-based provider of behavioral online advertising solutions, has acquired Hydra Group, a Beverly Hills, Calif.-based premium CPA performance marketing network. No financial terms were disclosed. Adknowledge raised $48 million in funding in 2006 from Technology Crossover Ventures.


Adknowledge, the largest privately-owned Internet ad network, today announced it has completed its acquisition of Hydra Group (, a premium CPA (cost-per-acquisition) performance marketing network.

Starting immediately, Hydra affiliates will benefit from direct access to Adknowledge’s 6,500+ advertiser campaigns from their current Hydra login. After integration, affiliates within the combined Adknowledge-Hydra ecosystem will have access to 7,000+ of the industry’s most diverse and highest yielding CPC (cost-per-click) and CPA offers. This will establish Adknowledge as the largest affiliate network measured by its number of diverse offers.

As importantly, the acquisition of Hydra will benefit advertisers using Adknowledge’s Bidsystem platform ( by connecting them to thousands of Hydra affiliates. This continues Adknowledge’s mission of creating a single “must buy” auction marketplace ( for advertisers looking to expand beyond Yahoo! and Google. Through Bidsystem, Adknowledge advertisers expand their reach across display, social media, search, and email channels.

“We’re excited about establishing ourselves as a leader in the affiliate marketing space. We currently maintain market leadership positions with our social media and email advertising businesses, and believe that Hydra will allow us to achieve the leading position in the affiliate industry over the next 18 months,” said Scott Lynn, Adknowledge’s chief executive officer. “Having looked at dozens of affiliate networks as acquisition candidates, we believe Hydra to be the best fit because of its focus on high-quality distribution for their advertisers. We believe strongly that through Hydra’s current compliance efforts, affiliate approval process, and distribution ‘best practices,’ we will set a higher bar within the affiliate community.”

“Since Hydra’s launch, we have delivered millions of new customers to clients like AARP and Kraft, and helped thousands of premium publishers financially benefit from their promotion of these campaigns to their audiences. The result is we’ve built an incredibly healthy advertiser and affiliate marketplace that will increase in scale dramatically as we now join forces with Adknowledge,” said Zac Brandenberg, founder of Hydra. The Hydra brand will be retained in the near term and operate alongside Adstation (, Adknowledge’s existing affiliate offering where publishers are paid on a CPC basis. “Our bid-based marketplace at allows our affiliates to maximize yield as CPC rates increase over time. By combining our flexible CPC payouts with Hydra’s broad portfolio of leading fixed payouts for premium CPA campaigns, we will now offer the most complete affiliate solution in the marketplace,” said Greg Bayer, general manager of Adknowledge’s Affiliate Division.

The Hydra acquisition demonstrates how industry leaders like Adknowledge are growing strong despite the economic downturn, and evolving the performance marketing space by improving efficiency and increasing scale for advertisers. “Adknowledge is the largest marketplace for advertisers seeking a one-stop-shop for all of their marketing outside of Google, Yahoo!, MSN, and Facebook. Rather than working with hundreds of small companies, advertisers are able to manage all of their non-search media buying through The Hydra acquisition simply cements our position as a leader in the industry and helps take us one step closer to a “must-buy” marketplace for these advertisers,” said Lynn.

About Adknowledge
Adknowledge, the largest privately-owned internet advertising network, operates a single, auction-based advertiser marketplace at where advertisers can go to solve all of their marketing needs outside of search. Through Bidsystem, Adknowledge syndicates advertisers across multiple channels, including Social, Email, and Web Content. Prior acquisitions include Super Rewards, MIVA, Cubics, Lookery, Mediarun, and Adonomics.

Featured on CNBC as “the next Google,” Adknowledge is profitable with annual revenues in excess of $250 million. Headquartered in Kansas City, Adknowledge has domestic offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, and Florida, and international offices in Vancouver, London, and Sydney. For more information, visit

About Hydra
Hydra operates a leading CPA network for many of the largest and best-known consumer product and services companies. The company distributes customer acquisition campaigns in search, email, web display and social media, via its own internal media distribution groups and its exclusive network of high volume, high quality publishing partners. Learn more at

Advisors Keith Biancamano of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP represented Adknowledge. A team from New York-based investment bank Petsky Prunier, led by Sanjay Chadda, served as Hydra’s financial advisor in the transaction.