January 24, 2012, 10:56 AM

Twitter’s latest acquisition could pave the way for self-service ads

At least that’s what a tweet from one of Twitter’s newest employees suggests.

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In a move that may signal that Twitter plans to roll out a self-service ad format, the microblogging service has acquired web security firm Dasient, the companies announced late yesterday. Effective immediately, Dasient will become part of Twitter’s so-called revenue engineering team, which oversees the microblogging service’s advertising program.

Since its 2008 founding Dasient has focused on protecting e-commerce retailers, banks and other online businesses against web-based malware attacks, as well as other types of online abuse. The vendor also offers what it calls an “anti-malvertising service” that protects ad networks and publishers from malicious ads. Malicious ads look like legitimate ads but contain code that can either directly attack a consumer's computer system  or redirect a shopper’s browser to a malicious web site.

Ameet Ranadive, Dasient’s co-founder, announced the move with a tweet, “With Self-Serve Ads On The Way, Twitter Adds Security Startup Dasient To Its Ad Product Team” that linked to a TechCrunch article that suggests that the acquisition will likely be used to protect a product, perhaps self-serve ads, from fraud or abuse.

All of Twitter’s existing ad formats require marketers to work with a member of Twitter’s sales team. A self-service ad program would enable advertisers to buy and target ads on their own. Facebook’s Ads program enables marketers to buy and target ads on their owns. However, Sponsored and Featured Stories requires a marketer to work with a salesperson.

“By joining Twitter, Dasient will be able to apply its technology and team to the world’s largest real-time information network,” wrote Neil Daswani, the Dasient’s co-founder and chief technology officer, in a blog post.

The move is the latest effort by Twitter to bolster security on its site. Twitter acquired Whisper Systems, a mobile-focused security service in November. Terms for both deals were not disclosed.

Twitter could not be reached for immediate comment.

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