Search Engines Keep The Lights Out On Fireworks Ads, Mostly

fireworks-stand-featured Happy 4th of July! It's fireworks season here in the US, a time when online searches for "fireworks" skyrocket. Yet, ads for explosives and pyrotechnic devices like "firecrackers," "bottle rockets," and "fireworks" are not allowed per the advertising policies of Google and Bing -- and their respective search partners like AOL, Ask, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo. Sam Engle at BrandVerity took a look at how well the search engines are doing at enforcing their own rules during this peak season for festive explosives. Engle found a few ads that managed to get through. One ad for an Indiana-base [...]

AOL Q2 Earnings: Display Up, Search Down

AOL released its second quarter earnings this morning. Many financial analysts had a modestly positive reaction to AOL's display ad growth, though overall revenues were were off 8 percent: $542.2 million (vs. $592.2 million a year ago). Display revenues were up 14 percent overall, 16 percent in the US. However search and contextual ad revenues were down 21 percent. No one is very upset about the decline in search revenues given that analysts don't expect much from AOL in this category anymore. AOL's search market share has been declining over time and so it comes as little surprise [...]

AOL Extends Google Search Deal: 5 More Years

AOL announced they have extended their search deal with Google for an additional five-years. This includes Google powering AOL's organic and paid search results. The deal also added in that Google will power search on mobile search, in mobile apps and content. Also, all of AOL's video content will also be on YouTube as part of this new extended deal. In summary, the new five year deal includes: Search Products: Google will provide AOL with additional features and enhancement to its leading Web search products that will improve the consumer search experience across AOL's network of si [...]

A Look Back At The Old Search Engines

The Six Revisions blog complied an excellent list of the classic search engines, some dating back to the 1990s. His list includes screen shots of both the old and current (if available) versions of HotBot, Excite, WebCrawler, Ask Jeeves,, Yahoo, Google, Dogpile, AltaVista, Lycos, MSN Search, Bing, AOL Search, Infoseek,, Netscape, MetaCrawler, and All The Web. Scrolling down the list and looking at some of those old screen shots bring back fun memories. Of course, there are many search engines missing, too many to list there or even here. But looking at the old screen capt [...]

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong: “The Model Is Disney”

It's been roughly 100 days since Tim Armstrong was named CEO of AOL in anticipation of a spin-off/IPO of the company from corporate parent TimeWarner later this year. There are a slew of interviews out this morning in which Armstrong assesses his first 100 days, the state of the business and gives some indications of where AOL is headed. Among the highlights: AOL sees content and its display ad network reach as its primary strengths It will have many brands built on more unified platforms that simplify the back end The new AOL will be divided into the following areas (per AdAge): co [...]

AOL Debuts Bebo “Social Inbox”

AOL is repositioning or perhaps enhancing Bebo as a kind of dashboard for the internet using the concept of a "social inbox." The Wall Street Journal has coverage of what's at stake for AOL and the challenges facing social media ad revenues. The social inbox idea is about aggregation of content and services (e.g., email) from a range of third parties and partners in one place. The press release describes the strategy: The new aggregation and update features delivered by Bebo go a long way toward solving the main problem facing consumers online, namely, a cluttered social networking experi [...]

AOL Creates “Platform-A Marketing Solutions” Unit

Trying to realize the promise of its "Platform A" integrated display advertising initiative, AOL has created "Platform-A Marketing Solutions." The new unit combines the formerly separate sales teams of AOL and Tacoda. AOL acquired behavioral targeting firm Tacoda in July of this year. The effort is focused chiefly on traditional brand advertisers and the top online advertisers. [...]

Report: AOL To Acquire Quigo For $300 Million

There are rumors and reports circulating that AOL is about to add Quigo to its now pretty full roster of online ad networks and technologies, which includes Tacoda,, Third Screen Media, Lightningcast, and AdTech. These entities are the backbone of AOL's "Platform A" integrated online (and mobile) advertising, er, platform. AOL now claims that its has greater reach than any of its online competitors. Quigo has an impressive client roster of online publishers and has captured a number of publishers from Google with its technology and notion of "independence." There were rumors [...]

Want To Opt Out Of Behavioral Ads? AOL Says It Is Your Choice

AOL Will Let Consumers Opt Out of Targeted Ads from the Wall Street Journal reports that AOL will announce today a new tool that will enable AOL users to opt out of targeted or personalized ads. (NOTE: The AOL announcement is now live). AOL has behavioral ad technology that stores consumer's preferences and then tailors ads based on the sites' users' visits. AOL is expected to announce a system that will give these users the ability to opt out of those ads. The Wall Street Journal says AOL most likely timed this announcement to pre-empt the Federal Trade Commission meeting tomorrow on "con [...]

AOL, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo Sued Over Competitive Bidding Patent

AOL, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo Sued Over Competitive Bidding Patent from InformationWeek reports Performance Pricing filed a patent lawsuit (PDF document) against AOL, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo over how they use competitive bidding within their search ad marketplace. The patent, named Systems and methods for transacting business over a global communications, was granted in 2005, and covers actives such as "video games, electronic board games, crossword puzzles or other word games, sports betting, card games, or any other activity or combination of activities," InformationWeek reports. The [...]

AOL Introduces ‘Platform A’: Integrated Ad Targeting

AOL has moved its corporate headquarters to New York to be at the center of the U.S. ad and media universe and has introduced what it's calling "Platform A," an integrated ad buying platform and network that the company says has broader reach than any other today. and some of the more recent AOL acquisitions, including mobile ad network Third Screen Media and behavioral targeting firm Tacoda, are being integrated to provide an impressive array of capabilities that should rival Yahoo, Google and Microsoft. From the press release: The new entity, called Platform A, will offer [...]

More On AOL’s Search Marketplace

As Danny noted, AOL is launching a new program for advertisers to buy Google AdWords directly from AOL. But AOL Search Marketplace, as the new program is known, goes beyond simply white-labeling Google sponsored listings. "We're allowing advertisers to specifically customize their campaigns on AOL search," said Dariusz Pacsuski, Vice President, Search Products, AOL Platforms. Pacsuski said that AOL has done significant research with advertisers, who told the company in no uncertain terms that they wanted more choice and more control over their campaigns. AOL Search Marketplace uses a white- [...]

AOL To Sell Ads Direct, Using Google’s Tools

As John Battelle notes, the embargo on AOL's deal to white label Google's AdWords system and sell ads direct on its own has been broken. It's no surprise this was coming. A white label deal was announced back in December 2005 when AOL renewed with Google: Under the strategic alliance, Google and AOL will continue providing search technology to AOL's network of Internet properties worldwide. The agreement's broad range of new features for users and advertisers include: Creating an AOL Marketplace through white labeling of Google's advertising technology - enabling AOL to sell search adver [...]

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