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AOL CEO Discusses Google, Search Deals

AOL’s current search deal with Google will expire in six and a half months, and although it looks like AOL’s CEO, Tim Armstrong, would prefer to stick with the search giant, his options are supposedly not limited.  Armstrong talked today about how things could go in several directions.

AOL Names Microsoft Exec As CTO

AOL said today it has hired Alexander Gounares as its Chief Technology Officer and as a member of its Global Executive Operating Committee.

Gounares will lead AOL’s technology strategy, platform development and external technology partnerships, as a well as play a key role in the overall strategy and directions of the company. He will report to AOL Chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong and will be based at AOL’s Dulles, Virginia campus.

Microsoft Advertising Exec To Leave For AOL
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A longtime Microsoft employee who plays an important role in the company’s advertising department is leaving the organization, according to a new report.  Then here’s the detail that may make his departure especially embarrassing for other execs in Redmond: Alex Gounares is heading to AOL.

AOL Launches Self-Serve Ad Platform

AOL has launched a beta version of Advertising.com Ad Desk, a new self-serve display ad platform targeted at medium- sized advertisers.

AOL’s Ad Desk will allow advertisers to have more control of their online ad campaigns. Ad Desk will allow advertisers to access demographic information and audience size across AOL’s various properties.

AOL Prepared To Unload Bebo
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Less than a week ago, the former president of Bebo joined Facebook, and now, AOL’s admitted that the social network it bought for $850 million has been beaten by Mark Zuckerberg’s leviathan.  AOL intends to either sell or shut down Bebo in the near future.

Why MapQuest Should Be Considered in Your Local Marketing Mix
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I don’t think too many people will dispute the fact that location is buzz topic of 2010 so far within the online marketing industry. Big players in this space include Foursquare, Gowalla, Twitter, Facebook (soon), and of course Google.

As reported earlier this week, Google noted that a third of its searches via the mobile web pertain to some aspect of the searcher’s local environment, and that they think of location as a "hugely important signal".

AOL Launches Patch.org To Fund Hyperlocal News

AOL said today it is launching Patch.org, a charitable foundation to support access to local news and information in underserved communities.

Patch.org will partner with community foundations and other organizations to launch sites and bring local news and information to communities that lack adequate news media and online local information.

Driving Traffic with MapQuest and its New Search Engine
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Local business search is becoming more of an area of great focus by search providers as time goes on. Google, especially, has been working overtime on providing new features that can help users find local businesses of interest. AOL’s MapQuest has been working on improving its own business search functionality, which we talked to the company a little about.

AOL Adds Facebook To AIM
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AOL has integrated Facebook Connect with its Instant Messenger to allow users to chat with their Facebook friends directly from AIM.

AOL said in a blog post it is adding its Lifestream application to AIM allowing users to receive updates from social networking sites including Digg, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube.

AOL Vet Returns from Google to Lead Media/Studios Division
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AOL has named David Eun as its new President of AOL Media and Studios. Until 2006, Eun was Vice President, Operations for the Media & Communications Group at Time Warner, where he helped oversee AOL. During that time, he contributed to providing operational oversight and development of new businesses in digital distribution and broadband content.

AOL Shares Financial Results of the Transition Period

AOL has announced it Q4 earnings, which show how the company performed during its final days as part of Time Warner, as well as the beginning of its transition to the current incarnation.

Report: Google Planning “Aggressive” Pursuit Of AOL Deal
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Last month, we learned that AOL’s CEO, ex-Googler Tim Armstrong, doesn’t intend to blindly renew AOL’s search deal with Google when it expires in December.  Google doesn’t appear ready to stand back and let Microsoft or some other company take its place, however.

AOL Loses Key Staff After Short Time Away From Time Warner

So you are the new unencumbered AOL that has pushed its ship away from the Time Warner dock back in January. You are underway on a new journey that is supposed to reposition the company and put new life in the once iconic running man’s engine. In order for that to happen one would suspect that having the right people on the ship who plan to stick around would be the goal. Well, if that was the goal someone needs to make some new ones.

AOL Hires Google, Microsoft Veteran As Head Of Tech

The Google-ization of AOL continued today as Jeff Reynar, who used to work for the search giant as an engineering manager, joined the company.  AOL’s appointed Reynar Head of Technology for Engineering and Products in New York.

We should note that Reynar didn’t head to AOL straight from Google; he spent the last 18 or so months as the CTO of DBT Labs.  So it’s not like AOL lured the man directly away from the Googleplex (where he spent four and a half years) and all its perks.

AOL Acquires Video Creation/Distribution Company StudioNow

AOL has acquired a video platform company called StudioNow. The company says the deal will allow it to integrate a "fully functional video creation platform" into its newly launched content management system, Speed.com. StudioNow will also continue to operate its existing business as well. This includes online video creation, management, storage, and syndication.

AOL Top Ad Network In December
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comScore has released the top 15 ad networks based on their reach among U.S. Internet users in December 2009.

The ranking found AOL Advertising remains the top ad network, reaching 187 million U.S. Internet users, or 91 percent of the total audience, followed by the Yahoo Network (180.9 million) and the Google Ad Network (178.1 million).

The fastest growing ad network by audience reach among the top 15 was Microsoft Media Network, which grew 31 percent compared to a year ago, followed by Collective Network (up 22%) and Audience Science (up 16%).

AOL’s 1000+ Employee Layoffs Looming

Back in November we talked about AOL’s need to trim their headcount by some 2,500 people. At the time the hope was that enough would walk away from their positions to avert the need for playing the bad guy and actually firing anyone.

Tim Armstrong Weighing Search Deal With Microsoft

AOL’s current search deal with Google is set to end in December, and when it expires, there’s no guarantee that AOL will stick with the search giant.  Today, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong implied that he’s weighing his options.

Rumor: AOL May (Not) Be Buying Mashable
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Update: According to Business Insider, Pete Cashmore had this to say on the matter: 

We’re very open to partnerships and always talk with those that get in touch. We’ve certainly spoken to lots of potential partners, some of those conversations more significant than others. But I don’t feel that any of those conversations reached a point at which Mashable is likely to cease being independent.

AOL Might Be Looking To Sell ICQ

AOL continues to travel into the brave new world that it is venturing into as the lines have been cut that once attached it to TimeWarner. Of course, there will be a lot of scrutiny which often leads to criticisms but that’s just part of doing business.

MapQuest Gets its Own Street View
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AOL’s MapQuest has announced the launch of "360 View," a feature that may remind Google users of Google Maps Street view. For now, it’s available for 30 cities and 13 suburbs in the United States, with more on the way.

"We have studied our industry, gleaning tidbits here and there, and polled our customer base in creating a simple, easy-to-use interface that fits seamlessly into the MapQuest mapping experience you have come to know and understand," says MapQuest.