Congrats, Tacoda

The other day, I congratulated Laurel Touby on her sale of Media Bistro and now I get to congratulate my friend Dave Morgan on his sale of Tacoda to AOL. Dave is one of the nicest and smartest men I’ve met in this world and I’ve known him since early in our online careers, in the mid-90s, when I tried to hire him at Advance and he said no because he was burning to start a company. That company was Real Media, one of the pioneers in ad serving and sales, now part of 24/7. Next came Tacoda, which started as a behavioral targeting software company and turned into a gigantic ad network through his vision. There are few people who understand the economic underpinnings of our internet like Dave. And I’m delighted for him and his team.

  • The question comes down to “Who do I want to have possession of my browsing habits?” The fact is that you are going to have to give it to somebody, but it is nice to have some say in the matter since they make a LOT of money selling what you GIVE them.

    If you want to stop the invasion of your privacy, just make some alterations to your hosts file and set cookies to the off position, allowing only sites that require registration to maintain continuity with you as exceptions.

    There are several places you can get a hosts file built. This is the one with the nicest interface:

    But if you are a Windows user, you will want protection from outright evil servers, not just advertising information harvesters.

    Here is a site that shows you how to block stuff if you have Vista:

    When you see the list of sites and the way it “seamlessly” segues from harmless seeming hosts to utterly evil ones, you get a feeling that there is a LOT of ethical wiggling room in the advertising business. If that were not true, there wouldn’t be mortgage spam because a licensed financial professional in your state gives the spammer forty bucks for every one.

  • Jason Tatum

    I wonder how David Morgan of Tacoda feels about the just recent news of Modavox suing them for patent infringement? Apparently the unpatented technology for their behavioral targeting infringes on this company’s patented technology. This could throw a big wrench in Tacoda’s $275 million purchase. You might have congratulated Mr. Morgan a little too early. It will be interesting to see how AOL and Tacoda proceed in light of this situation. One would have to believe it was Tacoda’s platform that AOL wanted and it appears that the IP that platform is based upon is owned and patented by this other company. If proven to be true, this recent news seems to really hurt the value of Tacoda while increasing the value of Modavox.

    Modavox Files Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against Tacoda
    Friday August 10, 11:42 am ET
    Company Files Lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New York Seeking Injunctive Relief and as yet Unspecified Damages

    Modavox, Inc. (OTCBB:MDVX – News), an Internet broadcasting pioneer in the production and syndication of online audio and video, announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against Tacoda, Inc. in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Case No. 07 CV 7088 (McMahon)). In the suit, Modavox asserts its claim that Tacoda is infringing on United States Patent No. 6,594,691, “Method and System for Adding Function to a Web Page,” as well as allowed claims from at least one additional patent application. Modavox is seeking injunctive relief and as yet unspecified damages stemming from Tacoda’s infringing activities.

    This suit against Tacoda is the first step in a potentially wide-reaching campaign designed to enforce Modavox’s proprietary rights in its groundbreaking technology and to advance Modavox to its rightful place in the industry. Modavox intends to utilize its increasing business resources to further expand its ongoing analyses of activity within the industry, including identifying additional potential infringers of its expanding patented intellectual property portfolio.

    “Modavox’s commitment to innovation has yielded highly valuable patented intellectual property. Our management team, in conjunction with Fox Rothschild LLP, made a strategic business decision to design, create and execute a comprehensive plan in support of our patented process and technologies,” said David Ide, CEO at Modavox. “We knew that decision would likely include pursuing enforcement through the justice system, and we are confident that the action we have taken today is an appropriate step on behalf of our shareholders and believe it will allow us to begin to reveal the true value of our patented intellectual property.”

    Nathaniel T. Bradley, Chief Technology & Product Officer at Modavox stated, “Upon review of data produced from our thorough infringement analysis, it’s clear to us that Tacoda is infringing on the Modavox patents. Our leading edge technical innovations in customized content delivery have been used by Tacoda, as well as by a growing list of identified infringers, and is foundational to their product lines. The action today by Modavox is paramount to our overall patent enforcement strategy and is the culmination of years of effort; it is a long-awaited milestone for our company.”

    Dr. Daniel F. Coughlin of Fox Rothschild, who is acting as Modavox’s lead counsel in the case stated, “We are confident in both the validity of Modavox’s patent assets and the importance of their proprietary technology in this sector of online commerce. This suit clearly should demonstrate both of these points and, at the same time, serve notice on the industry that Modavox intends to take all steps necessary to leverage fully its technology and its intellectual property to further its business goals.”

    About Fox Rothschild

    Fox Rothschild LLP ( is a full-service law firm built to serve business leaders. Over the past 100 years, we have grown to 400 lawyers in 14 offices coast to coast. Our clients come to us because we understand their issues, their priorities, and the way they think. We help clients manage risk and make better decisions by offering practical, innovative advice.

    About Modavox

    Modavox, Inc. (, a pioneer in Internet broadcasting, producing and syndicating online audio and video, offers innovative, effective and comprehensive online tools for reaching targeted niche communities worldwide. Through patented Modavox technology, Modavox delivers content straight to desktops and Internet-enabled devices. Modavox provides managed access for live and on-demand Internet Radio Broadcasting, E-learning and Rich Media Advertising.

  • Moses Tietlebaum

    I would have to believe that the AOL/Tacoda folks met over the weekend to hash this out.
    What do they do ?
    Go forward with the buy-out with a suit of this magnitude hanging over their heads?
    How would you like to be the guy at AOL that makes the decision to pay 275,000 million bucks for what might turn out to not only be WORTHLESS but worse might also be on the hook for YEARS of damages.\
    Try explaining THAT to the Time/Warner ceo.
    My view.
    If you strat to see the value of Modavox stock strat to rise this week then its pretty safe to assume they have the goods……………..and Tacoda is in trouble.

  • This is looking suspiciously like stock touting. And it certainly looks like more reasons to reform patent law. I have no fish in this fry and don’t see why the discussion is happening here.