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Another day, another social media marketing acquisition.

Two weeks ago, Oracle announced the purchase of social media marketing platform provider Vitrue. Yesterday, Salesforce announced that it's acquiring Vitrue competitor Buddy Media.

Apparently not wanting to be outdone (it reportedly paid some $300m less for Vitrue than Salesforce paid for Buddy Media), software giant Oracle today announced that it's buying social media monitoring firm Collective Intellect. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

According to Oracle's press release, "Oracle's leading sales, marketing, service, commerce, social data management and analytics, combined with Collective Intellect and the recently announced pending acquisition of Vitrue, is expected to create the most advanced and comprehensive social relationship platform."

The obvious goal in acquiring Collective Intellect: round out its 'social CRM' offering. As noted yesterday, Salesforce acquired social media monitoring provider Radian6 last year for more than $300m.

While there's growing skepticism around social media's ability to produce ROI, brands continue to invest heavily in their social media presences, which has made companies like Vitrue, Buddy Media and now Collective Intellect valuable commodities. They prove, once again, that when there's a gold rush, one of the most reliable ways to make money is to sell tools to the gold miners.

The big question now is what these acquisitions mean for the acquired companies' existing customers. According to Pando Daily's Erin Griffith, Buddy Media, for instance, decided to sell to Salesforce because Salesforce had, well, the type of sales force it needed to scale its business further. That's a fair reason to do a deal, but it doesn't necessarily mean good things for existing customers.

Are the Salesforces and Oracles of the world simply checking off key categories on a social CRM list, or are they going to take their new assets and continue to innovate? The answer will determine just how much opportunity is left in this space.

Patricio Robles

Published 5 June, 2012 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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