Profile: AOL Inc (AOL)
23 Jul 2014
AOL Inc. (AOL) is a global Web services company with a range of brands and offerings, and a global audience. The Company’s business spans online content, products and services, which it offers to consumers, publishers and advertisers. Its business operations are focused on AOL Properties and Third Party Network. AOL Properties include its owned and operated content, products and services in the Content, Local, Paid Services and Consumer Applications strategy areas in addition to its AOL Ventures offerings. AOL Properties also include co-branded Websites owned by third parties. It generates advertising revenues from AOL Properties through the sale of display advertising and search and contextual advertising. It offers a range of display advertising, including text and banner advertising, mobile, video and rich media advertising, sponsorship of content offerings, and local and classified advertising. It also generates revenues through its subscription access service. It also generates revenues from subscriptions to other products and services. It also generates advertising revenues through the sale of advertising on third-party Websites, which it refers to as the Third Party Network. It markets its offerings to advertisers on both AOL Properties and the Third Party Network under the brand AOL Advertising. It markets its offerings to publishers on the Third Party Network under the brand Advertising.com and also market offerings as video advertisements distributed through goviral A/S (goviral) and 5 Minutes Ltd (5min Media). Effective May 6, 2014, the Company merged with Convertro Inc. Effective May 21, 2014, AOL Inc acquired PrecisionDemand, a Seattle-based provider of advertising services.
On January 22, 2010, the Company completed the acquisition of StudioNow, Inc. On September 28, 2010, the Company completed the acquisition of 5min Media. On September 28, 2010, the Company completed the acquisition of Thing Labs, Inc. On September 29, 2010, the Company completed the acquisition of TechCrunch, Inc. On December 15, 2010, the Company completed the acquisition of Pictela, Inc. On December 20, 2010, the Company completed the acquisition of About.me, Inc. On January 31, 2011, the Company completed the acquisition of goviral A/S. On February 26, 2010, the Company sold buy.at to Digital Window Limited. On June 16, 2010, the Company sold Bebo, Inc. On July 8, 2010, the Company completed the sale of ICQ operations (ICQ). During the year ended December 31, 2010, the Company sold its investments in Kayak Software Corporation and Brightcove, Inc.
AOL Media offerings include original content produced through its network of content creators, which includes professional journalists from media, freelance writers and bloggers, content, which it licenses from third parties and aggregations of user-generated content. Its content offerings are made available to audiences through sites, such as the AOL.com homepage, as well as to audiences branded properties, such as Engadget, TechCrunch, PopEater, Moviefone, AOL Shopping, AOL Autos, AOL Travel, AOL Real Estate, MapQuest and StyleList. Its Seed.com platform allows writers and photographers to submit original content for its editors to review and publish on AOL Properties or on third party sites.
The Company has developed and acquired platforms, which are designed to facilitate the production, aggregation, distribution and consumption of local content. This local content includes professional editorial content, user-generated content and business listings. Its local offerings include Patch, which is a community-specific news and information platform dedicated to providing local coverage for individual towns and communities; MapQuest, which is an online mapping and directions service, and City’s Best, which provides local entertainment information for metropolitan areas. It offers a range of consumer applications, including a range of communications products and services. Its consumer applications offerings include AOL Mail, which is an e-mail services in the United States; AIM, which is an instant messaging service in the United States; and a range of mobile offerings, which extend its content, products and services to a range of digital devices.
The Company offers AOL Search on AOL Properties. It provides its consumers with a general, Internet-based search experience, which utilizes Google’s organic Web search results and additional links on the search results and third-party content and information, as well as provides a range of search-related features, such as suggesting related searches to help users refine their search queries. It also provides consumers with relevant paid text-based search advertising through its relationship with Google, in which it provides consumers sponsored link ads in response to their search queries. It offers vertical search services and mobile search services on AOL Properties.
The Company offers contextually relevant advertising, which is generated based on the content of the AOL Properties Webpage the consumer is viewing. It also offers MapQuest, a service, which provides maps, turn by turn driving directions and other location-based information for consumers globally. During 2010, it launched a new MapQuest platform, which simplified the user interface and included enhanced features. In addition, it provides local directory listings through its AOL Yellow Pages product, which listings are provided by a third party and from which AOL receives a revenue share. The Company’s subscription service has been its subscription access service, including narrow-band (telephone dial-up) access to the Internet. Computer tools and maintenance services, online technical support, anti-virus software, identity theft protection, online and social media privacy and reputation monitoring services, diet fitness services, online learning and other lifestyle services are offered on a subscription basis. Content, products and services on AOL Properties are available to online consumers.
The Company’s AOL-brand subscription access service, which it offers to consumers in the United States for a monthly fee, is a valuable distribution channel for AOL Properties. As of December 31, 2010, it had 3.9 million AOL-brand access subscribers in the United States. In addition to its content, products and services, which are available to all online consumers, an AOL-brand access subscription provides members with dial-up access to the Internet. It offers Internet access services under the CompuServe and Netscape brands. Its access service partners are Level 3 Communications, LLC and MCI Communications Services, Inc., who provides it with modem networks and related services for a substantial portion of its subscription access service.
The Company also distributes AOL Properties through a range of other channels, including agreements with manufacturers of digital devices and other consumer electronics, broadband access providers and mobile carriers. AOL also distributes its content, products and services directly to consumers on the open Web and through the Apple Apps Store. Additional distribution channels include toolbars, widgets, co-branded portals and Websites, and third-party Websites and social networks that link to AOL Properties. It also utilizes search engine marketing and search engine optimization as distribution methods. In addition, it makes available open standards and protocols for use by third-party developers. It generates advertising revenues from AOL Properties through the sale of display advertising and search and contextual advertising.
Third Party Network
The Company generates advertising revenues through the sale of advertising on third party Websites. Its advertising offerings on the Third Party Network consists of the sale of display advertising and also includes search and contextual advertising. It markets its offerings to publishers on the Third Party Network under the brand Advertising.com and also market offerings as video advertisements distributed through goviral and 5 Minutes Ltd. Its revenues in the Third Party Network are generated from the advertising inventory acquired from publishers. The Third Party Network includes a display advertising interface, which gives advertisers the ability to target and control the delivery of their advertisements and provides advertisers and agencies with relevant display analytics and measurement tools. It focuses to utilize self-service systems. For its publishers, inclusion in the Third Party Network offers a range of tools and technologies. It aims to develop its relationships with publishers and advertisers.
The Company utilizes a scheduling, optimization and delivery technology, which optimize advertisement placements across the Third Party Network and the available inventory on AOL Properties. AdLearn allows performance to be analyzed and advertisement placement to be optimized based on specific objectives, including click-through rate, conversion rate, sales volume and other metrics. In addition to advertising and subscription revenues, it also generates fee, license and other revenues. It generates fees from its consumer applications associated with mobile e-mail and instant messaging functionality from mobile carriers. Through MapQuest’s business-to-business services, it generates licensing revenue from third-party customers. It also generates revenues by licensing its ad serving technology to third parties, through its subsidiary, ADTECH AG.
The Company competes with Yahoo! Inc., Google Inc., Microsoft Corporation’s MSN, IAC/Interactive Corp., Facebook, Inc., Twitter, Inc., News Corporation, WPP plc and ValueClick, Inc.
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