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Mar 2nd 2016

Virtual Reality Insanity

Remember when cellphones were brand new? When they were big and expensive and seemed like a cool thing that you'd like to have... one day?

That's what virtual reality is like right now.

While it may seem like a novelty in 2016, VR is growing fast. In fact, consumer spending on VR hardware and software could reach $21.8 billion by 2020, according to one report. "It's a major new emerging content type," says AOL CTO Bill Pence. "It has the potential to be the next big thing in content and engagement for our users, and will be an attractive environment for advertisers as well."

To showcase the innovative work that AOL and Verizon are doing to prepare for this virtual future, AOL will host a Virtual Reality Day in our New York City headquarters on Thursday, March 3rd. The invite-only portion of the day will feature internal and external speakers discussing content creation, content distribution and technology.

Virtual Reality Day will open to the public from 4:30PM - 7:00PM, as AOL will be hosting a VR startup Demo Fair. Enthusiastic entrepreneurs will show off their technology and allow visitors to try the products out for themselves.

Starting at 5PM EST, Bill Pence will moderate a BUILD_tech panel on the future of virtual reality. Bill will be joined by:


This panel will be live-streamed on aol.com/build beginning at 5PM EST on Thursday, March 3, 2016.

If you're in New York and would like to attend, register here. If you can't join us in person, you can still see pictures from the event by following @AOL_Inc on Twitter and Instagram, and looking for the hashtag #VirtuAOL.

And if you're interested in joining our team as we innovate for the future, visit our Engineering Careers page.

Feb 8th 2016

AOL Releases Transparency Report for the Second Half of 2015

As has been our practice, AOL is continuing to publish the number of demands for data we have received from government authorities.[1] The first table below includes information on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ("FISA") orders that AOL has received for non-content and content information.[2] The second table provides information on the National Security Letters ("NSLs") that AOL has received. The third table provides information on the legal demands that AOL has received from federal, state, and local authorities in criminal investigations (outside of the national security context)[3]. It is important to note that AOL vigorously contests on behalf of our users any demands that we believe are ambiguous or legally defective.

As with our previous transparency reports, the tables below indicate that demands for user data impact less than one hundredth of one percent of AOL accounts. In addition, the number of accounts may not equal the number of individuals impacted, as users may have multiple accounts that are the subject of such demands.


[1] This report relates to AOL only. Verizon, which acquired AOL earlier this summer, has issued a separate transparency report.
[2] The U.S. government imposes a six-month delay for reporting Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ("FISA") orders. Accordingly, this report reflects FISA orders only through June 2015.
[3] AOL has not received any demands from foreign authorities.

Jan 28th 2016

Supporting "Women in Filmmaking" at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival

The AOL Charitable Foundation focuses on fostering young women's leadership, empowerment and access through education and technology. In 2015 the AOL Charitable Foundation provided a grant to Tribeca Film Institute®'s Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund​ to fund the AOL Charitable Foundation Award. This award is given annually to 2-5 films illuminating the lives of women and youth around the globe, spotlighting the ways they are improving their communities and futures. One of the recipients, AUDRIE & DAISY, premiered at Sundance this weekend. The film tells the story of two high school girls who suffered from bullying, empowering girls everywhere to never give up and to value themselves.

BUILD and NYU hosted a women-focused panel at Sundance and Sara Dosa, the film's producer, participated alongside other inspiring women filmmakers. As Dosa mentioned, "It's amazing to have female role models who are directing and producing." She also mentioned that "it's essential to point out the problems but also essential to celebrate where the good work is being done." Watch the full panel here.

audrie-and-daisy
AOL Inc. and AOL Charitable Foundation are thrilled to be able to make a difference, driving impact and engagement on behalf of our nonprofit partners.

Jan 25th 2016

AOL Has Agreed to Acquire AlephD

Today we're excited to announce that AOL has agreed to acquire AlephD, a programmatic platform specializing in publisher analytics and price floor optimization. This confirms AOL's commitment to delivering value to publishers large and small by turning data into insights and, in turn, using that intelligence to drive yield. AlephD will be a key part of ONE by AOL: Publishers, enhancing publishers' ability to understand, control and optimize pricing and packaging of their inventory and drive greater revenue in an increasingly complex ecosystem trending towards mobile.

In this industry, technology has been largely advertiser-centric, which has helped the buy-side push prices lower and lower, and, as a consequence, publishers have seen an overall decline in CPMs. The value of a publisher's inventory changes every single moment, based on market needs, buyer behavior, even the weather. It is incredibly challenging to understand these factors and analyze what these shifts mean – both long-term and in the moment.

Beyond these challenges, the resources needed to take action on the available information are astronomical – many large publishers have devoted entire teams to optimize yield, and, even then, aren't able to take action quickly enough to truly evaluate their inventory in real time and optimize yield. For smaller publishers who can't afford these dedicated resources, it is nearly impossible to do so.

AlephD will help publishers solve these challenges in the following ways:

  • Price Floor Optimization: Helps to maximize the value of every visitor to websites and apps, calculating the best price for each impression in real time.
  • Deal Simulation: Helps to find the optimal price for deals in order to maximize seller profit and monitor the performance of new and ongoing deals.
  • Auction Insights: Monitors and analyzes auctions, finding patterns or needed adjustments in pricing to tap additional revenue on auction inventory.
  • Open: AOL has a philosophy of openness, empowering partners to select the pieces of the AOL offering that best match needs and ROI, with no requirements for adopting the full platform or any specific functions. AlephD shares this vision, enabling partners to use analytics and optimization with AOL or any integrated partner for executing media sales.

We believe that publishers should have the ultimate say in which technologies and partners they choose to work with, rather than being locked in an all-or-nothing, walled garden vendor relationship. With the addition of AlephD, ONE by AOL: Publishers offers an alternative: an open partner that can intelligently and algorithmically help publishers determine the right price at the right time for every single impression, across all formats, screens and inventory types.

Welcome, AlephD team!

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