AOL Reports Q2, Display Weak; Search Marketers Liking Display; ValueClick Buys Investopedia From Forbes

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AOL Reports Q2; Display Weak

Aol missed Wall Street expectations as it reported its second quarter earnings which showed a huge drop largely due to the $1.4 billion write-off of social network Bebo which it sold for next-to-nothing in the quarter. GigaOm’s Matthew Ingram writes, “Overall revenue at AOL, which was spun off from parent Time Warner last year, declined by 26 percent compared with the same quarter a year earlier, and that drop was fueled primarily by a steep decline in advertising revenue, which fell by 27 percent year-over-year.” Read more from GigaOm. Mediaweek’s Mike Shields notes, “[Aol’s] lack of progress on the display ad front is glaring, particularly in light of back to back strong quarters for Yahoo in this arena, and the fact that 2009 was such difficult year for the majority of media companies.” Read more from MediaWeek.

From Aol’s 10Q report, some light is shed on the company’s display advertising strategy: “(…) we have undertaken efforts on certain AOL Properties to reduce the number of display advertising units, reduce monetization of search results and reduce the number of contextual advertising links. Additionally, we are shifting our focus from the number of sites that we offer to fewer, bigger sites that better address the needs of users and advertisers. While difficult to quantify, we believe that these changes will have a negative impact on our advertising revenues in the near term, but we do not believe this impact has been or will be significant.” Looking at the financials, display ad revenue slipped 21 and 29% respectively for Aol Properties and “Third Party Network” (i.e. presumably the, Tacoda and other ad net mix) for the 6-months ending June 30. Read Aol’s 10Q (PDF).

Search Marketers Heart Display

Search agencies are expanding faster into the display ad business and Zach Rodgers covers it for ClickZ. Rodgers quotes CEO David Karnstedt of SEM and display buying platform provider Efficient Frontier, “Search retargeting and site retargeting are standard operating procedure for us. (…) We’ve bought a lot of inventory off exchanges over time. We’re already a certified real-time bidding client through Google. Now we’ll do the same with Right Media.” Read more.

Facebook Ad Spend Hockey Sticks

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg tells Bloomberg BusinessWeek that some of her company’s advertisers have increased spending by as much as 20x. Sandberg adds, “Two years ago the big brands were experimenting with us. (…) They started buying with us a year ago. Now, they’re going big.” Read more.

ValueClick Acquires Investopedia

Online marketing services company ValueClick announced yesterday that it had acquired publisher Investopedia, “financial information and investing education website” from Forbes for $42 million. According to the release, Investopedia has a Demand Media-esque strategy with “30,000 pieces of evergreen financial related content and develops an additional 7,000 pieces of content each year.” Will more ad network-type companies buy publishers to secure unique data and inventory? Read the release. Also, ValueClick reports earnings today.


In a blog post titled “Punk’d By The Journal,” Upstream Group’s Doug Weaver looks at the effects of the Wall Street Journal’s What They Know series and sees a lack of preparation on the part of the advertising and tech community. He writes, “Truth is, the Journal did what a news organization does: they took the point of view of the consumer and drastically simplified a complex scenario for them. Say what you will about the conclusions they drew, but Journal reporters were rigorous, focused and prepared.” Read more.

Preparing For Mobile On-Ramp

Mobile ad network Nexage announced that its Nexage Mediation platform will allow the company to “double the volume of ad requests it processed between Q1 and Q2 and quadruple capacity, while cutting latency time in half and reducing operational costs by two-thirds.” Read the release.

Looksmart Reports Earnings

Online search advertising network solutions company Looksmart reported second quarter earnings and the company eked out a profit of $700,000 on $13 million in revenues. Company CEO Jean-Yves Dexmier was optimistic in the release, “e believe that the integration of new optimization techniques with our strong existing AdCenter platform should result in long-term growth (…)” Read more.

Yahoo! Search Guy Leaves

The Matt Cutts of Yahoo!, Tim Mayer, has left the company where he last filled the role of VP for search market share according to Search Engine Land. Given Yahoo!’s recent partnership with Bing, this wouldn’t seem to be a surprise as search dev heads to Redmond. Where he will land is not known other than he tweeted that he’s looking forward to a long bike ride. Read more.

Tomorrow’s Ad Network

In a post on the company blog, Epic Media Group CMO Michael Sprouse addresses what Epice think “ad networks look like now, and what they will look like in the future.” Among Sprouse’s observations for the tomorrow version, ad networks will need the following: “1) generating scale; 2) the ability to run ads on a number of devices and platforms; 3) targeting ads based on the distribution type (display, search, social, etc) (…)” And, there’s more.

You’re Hired!

Media buying platform company Adchemy said that it has hired former Looksmart general counsel Stacey Giamalis in a similar role for the company as well as former Oracles sales exec Greg Looss as vp of platform sales. Read the release. Ad verification company DoubleVerify announced the hiring of Rose Steinberg (formerly Yahoo!) as svp of sales, Jennifer Hyman (formerly Google/YouTube) as vp of marketing and Laura Anderson (formerly NBC Universal) has senior director of account management. Read the release.

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