AOL Scheming To Sell Itself To Yahoo?

This morning brings another report of AOL M&A machinations involving ways to merge with or be acquired by Yahoo, now that both sites have very similar missions and strategies. They're in a way like the Ford and Chevy of the internet these days: workmanlike but not very glamorous. Maybe that's unfair to Ford. Both Yahoo and AOL are focused primarily on display advertising with content creation driving page views. There's a lot of similarity and a lot of overlap. Reuters is saying that AOL is exploring how the company might break itself up, through a "complicated series of transactions [...]

Report: Hungry Bankers Manipulate Press To Kickstart AOL-Yahoo Merger Talks

A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma: according to the Wall Street Journal and Reuters, based on the Journal's report yesterday, financial advisers have been hired by AOL to "explore various strategic options for the company, one of which includes a possible tie-up" with Yahoo. This is just the latest installment of the long-running speculation about a Yahoo-AOL merger, which started when Microsoft was trying to take over Yahoo. AOL is trying reinvent itself under former Googler Tim Armstrong. The company, however, saw a steep ad revenue decline in Q3, though earnings were pos [...]

How Would An AOL-Yahoo Merger Affect Search?

There are rumors flying that AOL and private equity firms may be trying to buy Yahoo in a complex transaction that would involve a likely sale of Yahoo's stake in Alibaba. Matt wrote up the item last night. Bloomberg has more this morning suggesting that, as with Microsoft a couple of years ago, Yahoo is positioning to fight a takeover. One of the very hypothetical scenarios involves taking Yahoo private to "avoid the scrutiny of the public markets," allowing the company to make some of the "tough choices" necessary to really turn it around. Such a scenario would not involve AOL obviousl [...]

Rumor Mill Heats Up Over Yahoo-AOL Deal

Rumors are circulating tonight that Yahoo might be a candidate to be bought, possibly by some combination of AOL and various private-equity firms. The Wall Street Journal report is citing "people familiar with the matter" who describe this as one possible scenario: Silver Lake Partners and Blackstone Group LP are among the firms that have expressed interest in teaming up with AOL to buy Yahoo or trying to take it private on their own, these people said. They added that at least two or three other firms could be interested in participating if a formal buyout proposal is drawn up. The [...]

Mapquest Launches New Atlas For Students — With CIA Data

Mapquest has launched a useful new site: As the name suggests it's an interactive atlas, directed toward students and teachers, with tons of useful data and information -- from the CIA. There's a wealth of information here (as one might expect from the CIA) about populations, culture, the economy (and of course the military). There are numerous charts and photos. There's also an interesting "compare countries" feature. Those interested can click the "find the insurgents" button to locate political agitators in each geography (just kidding about that last one). You [...]

Mapquest Advances ‘Open’ Strategy With Euro Sites

Mapquest is continuing down its new "open" path with OpenStreetMap. Previously the AOL company announced an investment in the open-source mapping community and the creation of "Mapquest Open" a parallel, crowd-sourced mapping effort in the US and UK based on the OpenStreetMap data. Now that initiative is being expanded across Europe to France, Italy, Germany and Spain: MapQuest, a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL Inc. today announced the beta launch of four new European mapping sites built on OpenStreetMap (OSM) data. The sites in France, Germany, Italy and Spain will utilize the new MapQues [...]

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 [...]

Friday Maps Mania: Street View Back In Europe, “Wi-Spy” Accusations In US, Mapquest Opens Up & Put Your Check-ins On The Map

With lots of mapping news today, we're combining it all into a single round up, which focuses largely on Google. The company decided, after suspending, examining and "scrubbing" its Street View equipment in Europe and elsewhere, to resume collecting imagery and related data in several countries: Having spoken to the relevant regulators, we have decided to start Street View driving in  Ireland, Norway, South Africa and Sweden again starting next week. We expect to add more countries in time. Our cars will no longer collect any WiFi information at all, but will continue to collect photos and 3 [...]

Mapquest Introduces New Look, New Capabilities

You might not have thought of it this way but the old MapQuest was mostly about driving directions. The new Mapquest (launching today) is about local search and an expanded range of capabilities and use cases. There's a new look and feel, a new back end, a single search box and a new "brand." Mapquest is the number two mapping site; Google having toppled it from atop the mapping throne in early 2009 after years of complacency and "feature neglect" at the AOL-owned property. But now with a new boss at AOL, fewer ads and a new focus on the consumer experience, Mapquest hopes to build new o [...]

We Could Be Lovers: AOL Courts Google & Microsoft

Coy AOL is trying to get as much as it can for its flat to declining search volume from either current partner Google (AOL CEO Time Armstrong's corporate Alma Mater) or Microsoft, still hungry for more search wins and share. In an article recapping the D8 interview of Armstrong this week, he asserts there are "more than two potential partners" for AOL. The current Google search deal expires in December of this year. Sure, there are scores of search engines out there but only two that are able to genuinely compete for AOL's business: Google and Microsoft. Yahoo's not on the list because [...]

Happy New Years 2010 Search Logos & Google’s Surprise

Happy New Years! The Search Engine Land team would like to wish everyone a happy, healthy and successful 2010. Just for fun, I wanted to share the various logos from the search engines and also Google's surprise. Let's start with Google's "I'm Feeling Lucky" count down to New Years. Remember when you hit the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button on, it would show you how many minutes to 2010? Well, when 2010 hits, it then shows you a fireworks display. Here is a video I made of it. Now for the logos, which is basically a repost of my listing from the Search Engine Roundtable: [...]

Year In Review: Local Search & Maps

While analysts and practitioners have been prognosticating the imminent arrival of local search for the last several years, 2009 was finally the year that proved us right. A number of innovations and developments in mobile search, such as the widespread adoption of the iPhone, the release of Android, and a burgeoning number of location-based apps like Foursquare have certainly helped fuel local search's rise. But local has gained mind share among SEO's, marketers, business owners, and perhaps most importantly, searchers, in its own right as well. Let's take a loo [...]

AOL To Cut Staff By One-Third

In a Security and Exchange document filed on Tuesday night, AOL plans on cutting about one-third of their staff, about 2,300 people. The filing said, "the Restructuring will include the reduction of approximately a third of the Company’s current employee base, which will be conducted on a voluntary and involuntary basis." AOL became an independent company earlier this month, as the "new" AOL. It is unfortunate that so many people are going to lose their jobs early next year. It is also very unfortunate AOL had to officially announce this a day before Christmas eve. [...]

MapQuest Integrates Citysearch Content

MapQuest or variations on its name represent five of the top 22 search queries in the travel category (in November) according to Hitwise. However Google Maps is solidly in first place now as the top mapping site online. That puts MapQuest in the position of having to figure out whether to be content with its second place position or do some things to try and regain the lead. It's not clear whether MapQuest could regain the lead; however, the company has introduced a number of features and upgrades recently in a bid to improve the look and functionality of the site: 360 View: street-leve [...]

MapQuest (Finally) Launches Street Views With “360 View”

We're more than two years in with street-level photography, although Google was the only game in town for most of that time among the majors. There were also less-well-known independents such as Everyscape and MapJack. Then two weeks ago, Bing made a big splash with a very enhanced Silverlight version of Bing Maps and national coverage with its Street Side imagery. MapQuest for years had been the leader in Maps and it's still the top search term in Travel according to Hitwise. But in February of this year Google passed MapQuest to become the top mapping site for the first time. Throughout t [...]

AOL Returns As Independent Company, Search Decision Looms

Yesterday was the first day of trading for the "new" AOL, an independent company with a market cap of $2.5 billion dollars. When AOL "bought" TimeWarner a decade ago in an all-stock transaction worth $182 billion there was a near consensus that the combined company represented the future of media and publishing. It made a lot of sense -- conceptually. But the marriage never worked out and AOL saw its fortunes decline literally and figuratively as newer companies ascended over the last 10 years. Now, with former Googler Tim Armstrong at the helm, the company's independent strategy is focused [...]

AOL’s List Of Lists – Top Searches 2009

AOL has weighed in with a heavy hitting list of 2009's top searches in the categories below. AOL’s top searched celebrities for 2009 michael jackson robert pattinson rihanna farrah fawcett kim kardashian megan fox jon and kate miley cyrus patrick swayze natasha richardson Oh, Edward. Patrick Swayze should roadhouse you from heaven. It surprising that AOL is the only search engine where Rihanna made the Top 10, given her year of very public struggles, although Ask does get an honorable mention for a popular Rihanna rumor being questioned. [...]

What’s In A Brand? AOL Becomes “Aol.”

One wonders how much the branding consultancy Wolff Olins was paid to help create America Online's new "brand identity." Over the weekend the about-to-be-independent company revealed its new brand and brand philosophy. The major change (so far) is the move from uppercase to lowercase letters: from "AOL" to "Aol." Here's how the release describes that new identity: The new AOL brand identity is a simple, confident logotype, revealed by ever-changing images.  It’s one consistent logo with countless ways to reveal. The new brand identity will be fully unveiled on December 10, when AOL common [...]

Google Plays It Safe With ’09 Veterans Day Logo

If you visit today, you will see a special logo for Veterans Day. The logo is less complex when compared to last years, where Google had to fix their Veterans Day logo. Last year, Google placed hats on top of each letter on the Google logo, the hats included Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. But they forgot one, the U.S. Coast Guard, which they added later. Google also has a logo on for Remembrance Day: Bing has a Veterans Day Theme: Yahoo typically skips adding a special logo for today, which is what they have done today. But you can see more [...]

Halloween ’09 From Google, Yahoo, Bing & Others

Today is Halloween and the search engines have logos up for the special day. Before I post the logos, here are some posts from others in the community on Halloween. Matt Cutts of Google had a holy costume. Google Blogoscoped noticed Google added trick or treat to their robots.txt file. Bing has a special visual search edition for today. Bruce Clay's team dressed up and PPC Heros added some funk. Finally, the logos you see below is reposted from the Search Engine Roundtable. Google has four Doodles: Yahoo (Flash): AOL (Flash): YouTube: Bing: [...]

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