Content aggregation provider uMonitor alleges that the proposed merger between rivals Yodlee and VerticalOne will create a near monopoly with the potential to stifle competition within an emerging industry.
Yodlee and S1 subsidiary VerticalOne announced their intention to merge in early December, creating a combined entity with over 80 large customers. The merged operation will number CitiBank, AOL, Yahoo, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, and Merrill Lynch, as clients. Dinesh Sheth, CEO uMonitor fears that Yodlee will gain exclusive rights to data from its elite client base.
"If this merger goes forward, the information aggregation industry will suffer and ultimately, it will be the consumer who will lose the most," alleges Sheth. "This industry is still in its infancy. To allow the merger of Yodlee and VerticalOne will create a potential monopoly in a crucial, but still emerging technology that will impede the progress of information aggregation technology on the whole and stifle innovations."
Aggregation technology takes information from various Web sites or other sources and aggregates them, or brings them to a single Web site for viewing and manipulation. It has been identified by banks in particular as a powerful method for driving traffic over the Internet.
The market for aggregation services is expected to grow to $4 to $5 billion in revenue in the next 3 to 5 years. "I think we have all learned from the credit card, telecommunications and software industries that excessive control of any industry by a single player can have a devastating impact on both consumer options as well as technological innovations," says Seth. He believes that the industry is too underdeveloped for users to benefit from consolidation.