Print-to-Web Convergence Firm Ultigo Closes Doors

Start-up Ultigo, which hoped to tap into the print-to-Web advertising convergence market, has shut down, a spokesman for the company said Monday.

The source confirmed that the Altanta-based firm has ceased operations but declined to comment on the record as to reasons behind the closing. The person also declined to say whether Ultigo was in talks with other firms interested in purchasing its technology.

The company has reportedly had difficulties cementing a second-round investor’s participation — a common occurrence in this tough market for advertising-related companies.

Ultigo chief executive officer Todd Headrick did not return e-mails to his personal address seeking comment by press time.

The company competed with firms like Digital:Convergence, which used a handheld scanner connected to a user’s PC to link offline content and ads from publications with online content. Scanning a bar code printed beside an article or ad would cause the user’s Web browser to load a page related to the ad or content.

Another company, Digimarc, developed similar software for use with digital cameras, and findtheDot is also working to penetrate the same market with its hardware and software solution.

Unlike these firms, Ultigo actually digitized magazine articles, placed those online, and built in hypertextual and e-commerce features. Ultigo had done the work for Teen Magazine and Marie Claire. The company also said it had plans to do the same for ads beginning this month.

Privacy advocates had expressed concern that Digital:Convergence’s :CueCat scanner tracked, recorded and transmitted information like users’ reading and Web surfing habits to the company, which potentially could build a database of users’ online activities. Digital:Convergence flatly denied all wrongdoing in the matter, and said it cookied users’ Web browsers and asked for name, gender and geographical information only for demographic purposes.

When it announced its deal with Teen Magazine, Ultigo executives positioned the company as a way of linking offline content to online Web pages and e-commerce without these privacy worries, and without the effort of configuring a computer peripheral.

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