AOL White-Labels Google Ad Platform

    April 9, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Part of the billion-dollar deal that Google invested in AOL has helped Time Warner’s interactive arm offer true search advertising purchases on AOL Search.

AOL White-Labels Google Ad Platform
AOL White-Labels Google Ad Platform
Who Can Compete with Google?

Ads became a big deal for AOL as the company realized it could shift its walled garden of content to the World Wide Web and profit from eyeballs rather than subscriptions. Dariusz Paczuski, AOL VP for Search Products and Marketing, told WebProNews they were taking a new step toward leveraging that partnership with Google.

They have the #1 third-party ad business, and the #2 web properties on the Internet, Paczuski said; it’s a combination that has helped the company fulfill some of what AOL thought they could do with what Time Warner CEO Dick Parsons has called an “audience-driven” model.

Ad revenue increased 49 percent for AOL’s fourth quarter, and the company continues to develop new search ad products. Until today, they did not have a product in place to serve a particularly in-demand client request: serving paid search ads specifically on AOL.

The Google partnership, reportedly worth around 11 percent of Google’s ad revenue driven by AOL, provides search advertising and search result “enhancement” to AOL. Advertisers who place ads on Google’s AdSense could reasonably expect them to show up on AOL in response to certain keyword queries.

But ad customers wanted more, specifically a direct targeting of AOL properties and their viewers. Paczuski said that thanks to the Google deal, they can offer this as essentially a white-label service. Ad clients can establish campaigns on AOL, and optimize them as needed to control the marketing message.

Brand names will be the key to success. AOL’s platform will be open to advertisers, but specific brands like Gap can go for an enhanced placement in AOL Search. This puts their corporate logo at the top of the search results, with links and marketing messages accompanying it.

Paczuski touted this enhanced brand visibility, especially with so many potential viewers available from AOL’s properties. We think that with an AOL IPO date potentially a year off per the Google deal, a year spent building up AOL’s intrinsic value bolsters that prospect considerably.