AdaptiveBlue has raised a $4.5 million Series B round from RRE Ventures and Union Square Ventures and will use the funds to add to its fulltime staff of eight and continue developing Glue, a new, contextual social networking layer it has added to its well-thought-out semantic browsing technology.
Glue is a Firefox plug-in that lets users share browsing histories on partner sites like Amazon (s AMZN), Netflix (s NFLX), IMDB, Yelp and Last.fm. Glue users can also jump directly to partner sites from others’ browsing histories. The tool is ad-free, and the company is firming up revenue models that include an affiliate program and providing analytics for those partner sites that lend themselves to monetization, like Amazon or Netflix.
Facebook is also a partner site, although AdaptiveBlue says Glue won’t present the same sort of privacy concerns that plagued Facebook Beacon. I found it easy to delete my browsing record item by item, and the company also says users will opt into, rather than out of, providing their browsing histories for the analytics it plans to offer affiliate sites.
Founder and CEO Alex Iskold freely admits that, to gain real traction and make decent revenue, Glue will have to add millions of users. Iskold is shooting for 2 million users within 18 months and says growing the user base, rather than revenue, will be key over the next year and a half. Expanding the range of platforms on which Glue runs is also going to be crucial — an Internet Explorer-compatible version is underway, as is an iPhone app, Iskold said. The company says it is also keeping an eye on Chrome’s growing market share.
Related: Can browser plugins be a business?