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(Redirected from TowerData)
Company typePrivate company
IndustryDatabase marketing
FoundedMarch 2005
HeadquartersEvanston, Illinois,
Key people
Auren Hoffman, Manish Shah
Number of employees
11–50 (as of November 2, 2012)[1]

RapLeaf was a US-based marketing data and software company that was acquired by email data provider TowerData in 2013.


RapLeaf was founded in San Francisco by Auren Hoffman and Manish Shah in March 2005.[2] In May 2006 the Founders Fund led a seed round of about $1 million, including angel investors such as Peter Thiel and Ron Conway.[3] In June 2007 a second round included Founders Fund, Rembrandt Venture Partners and included Conway.[3][4][5]

The company's first product was a meta-reputation system that allows users to create reviews and ratings of consumer transactions, which they then contribute to multiple e-commerce websites.[6] On January 26, 2007, Rapleaf released Upscoop, a service that allowed users to search for and manage their contacts by email address across multiple social networking sites.[7]

In 2011, Rapleaf created a data onboarding division named LiveRamp,[8] which later spun out into an independent company which was acquired by Acxiom in 2014 for $310 million.[9]

In 2012, Rapleaf began selling segmented data tied to email addresses for marketers to personalize email communications. Around September 2012 the company moved its headquarters from San Francisco to Chicago, and Phil Davis became chief executive, replacing Hoffman.[10]

Rapleaf was acquired by TowerData in 2013.[11]

Controversy and backlash[edit]

On May 15, 2006, eBay removed a number of auction listings where the seller had included links to Rapleaf, claiming they were in violation of its terms of use.[12]

In late August 2007, Upscoop began e-mailing entire contact lists that were provided by their users when they log in. This caused some criticism,[13] and the company later apologized for doing so.[14]

On July 10, 2008, Rapleaf changed its interface so that it no longer allows users to search people by email addresses.[15] Instead, the service only allows a registered user to view their own reputation and the websites (social and business networking) to which their own e-mail address is registered. There was an immediate negative backlash by companies and individuals[16] who had been using Rapleaf to both manage reputations and investigate the authenticity of people.

In October 2010, the Wall Street Journal reported that Rapleaf had transmitted personally identifiable information, including Facebook and MySpace IDs. Rapleaf said it had inadvertently transmitted that info and had ceased the practice.[17] On October 28, 2010, Facebook banned Rapleaf from scraping data on Facebook, and Rapleaf said it would delete the Facebook IDs it had collected.[18]

A 2011 report said the company could tell the food preferences of employees of major companies.[19]

Between 2007-2013, Rapleaf received significant backlash over the data collection practices and sale of individuals' personal information to advertisers. As a public spokesperson for the company, much of the criticism was directed at the CEO Auren Hoffman personally.[20][21][22][23][24] A 2010 investigation by The Wall Street Journal revealed that the company transmitted identifying details about individuals to at least 12 companies, violating the terms of service of Facebook and MySpace. A spokesperson at Facebook said it had "taken steps. . .to significantly limit Rapleaf's ability to use any Facebook-related data."[25][26][27] When confronted by The Wall Street Journal and CNet, it quietly revised its privacy policy both times.[28] CNNMoney described RapLeaf as "selling your identity," and TechCrunch characterized its method of identifiable data extraction of Google and Microsoft employees as "creepy."[29][30] RapLeaf later became known as LiveRamp after entering new markets. LiveRamp spun off the RapLeaf business and sold it to TowerData in 2013.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Rapleaf Company Profile". LinkedIn. Retrieved 2012-11-02.
  2. ^ "Notice of Sale of Securities". Form D. US Securities and Exchange Commission. July 10, 2006. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Matt Marshall (June 11, 2006). "Rapleaf, the e-commerce reputation manager, raises ~$1M to take on eBay". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved November 3, 2013 – via Silicon Beat.
  4. ^ "Rapleaf Secures Venture Capital Funding". Press release. June 1, 2007. Archived from the original on July 22, 2009. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  5. ^ Olsen, Stefanie (August 31, 2007). "At Rapleaf, your personals are public". CNet.
  6. ^ Matt Marshall (April 24, 2006). "Networker Hoffman launches Rapleaf — to track your reputation beyond eBay". Venture Beat. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  7. ^ Peter Ha (January 26, 2007). "Stalk Your Contact List with UpScoop". Tech Crunch. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  8. ^ "RapLeaf CEO Hoffman Discusses New LiveRamp Solution And Company Strategy | AdExchanger". AdExchanger. 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2018-01-15.
  9. ^ "Acxiom To Buy LiveRamp For $310M | AdExchanger". AdExchanger. 2014-05-14. Retrieved 2018-01-15.
  10. ^ "Meet our Management Team". Company web site. Archived from the original on September 13, 2012. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  11. ^ Aquino, Judith (December 17, 2013). "Email Matching Solutions Promise To Connect Offline And Online Data". AdExchanger. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  12. ^ Michael Arrington (May 17, 2006). "eBay Bans Rapleaf Links". Techcrunch. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
  13. ^ "Rapleaf and Upscoop spam".
  14. ^ Hoffman, Auren (6 September 2007). "Start-ups, privacy, and being wrong". Rapleaf Blog. Archived from the original on 2007-09-17. Retrieved 2010-03-07.
  15. ^ Hoffman, Auren (10 July 2008). "Changes to Rapleaf Services". Rapleaf Blog. Archived from the original on 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2010-03-07.
  16. ^ Rapleaf users. "Comments on blog post 'Changes to Rapleaf Services'". Rapleaf Blog. Archived from the original on 2008-08-22. Retrieved 2010-03-07.
  17. ^ Emily Steel (October 25, 2010). "A Web Pioneer Profiles Users by Name". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  18. ^ Christopher Heine (November 1, 2010). "Rapleaf Agrees to Leave Facebook Alone". ClickZ. Retrieved 2010-11-01.
  19. ^ Robin Wauters (March 22, 2011). "Googlers Buy More Junk Food Than Microsofties (And Why Rapleaf Is Creepy)". Tech Crunch. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  20. ^ "The rap on Rapleaf, the "trust meter" you can't trust".
  21. ^ "Online Behavior Tracking and Privacy: 7 Worst Case Scenarios". Mashable. 3 November 2010.
  22. ^ Tim Faulkner (September 18, 2007). "Can Auren Hoffman's Reputation Get Any Worse?". Gawker. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  23. ^ "Why is RapLeaf still tracking me across the Web?". 9 April 2013.
  24. ^ "The Creepy Company Compiling a File on Your Online Activity—Using Your Real Name".
  25. ^ Steel, Emily (25 October 2010). "A Web Pioneer Profiles Users by Name". Wall Street Journal.
  26. ^ "Facebook in Privacy Breach". Wall Street Journal. 18 October 2010.
  27. ^ Steel, Emily (26 October 2010). "Thousands of Web Users Delete Profiles from RapLeaf". Wall Street Journal.
  28. ^ "People search engine Rapleaf revises privacy policy".
  29. ^ "Googlers Buy More Junk Food Than Microsofties (And Why Rapleaf is Creepy)". 22 March 2011.
  30. ^ "Rapleaf: The company that sells your identity - Oct. 21, 2010".