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Feb 8th 2016

Big Game, Big Give, and Big Hearts


Making a difference. It's in our culture and code. So, this Saturday before historic Super Bowl 50, AOL hosted the ultimate pre-game "tailgate" experience for top-tier investors, athletes, celebrities and Silicon Valley leaders as they prepared for the big game while giving back. Almost 900 guests gathered at the Atherton home of VC Jillian Manus for the Big Game Big Give, an annual event taking place in the city of the Super Bowl to celebrate and give back to local charities, including The Giving Back Fund, Stanford Cancer Institute, and Four Rings Montana Family Institute. AOL was the media tech sponsor, hosting a "Draft" Tent; other event sponsors included BMW, Goldman Sachs, and the Ron Conway Family Foundation. AOL drove just shy of 500,000 social media impressions, reaching just under 450,000 individuals.

This year's event was chaired by Joe Montana, Matt Williams retired 3rd baseman of the San Francisco Giants, and California's Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. Jay Leno emceed the auction, which aimed to raise more than $1 million for the Stanford Cancer Institute and other local causes.

The evening's theme was a tribute to California, from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge, to Silicon Valley, which had a silent disco with a smartphone ice sculpture. The party featured a recreation of Seal Rock including 10,000 square foot tank with seals provided by California State University Monteray Bay, as part of an outreach project raising money for the adoption and care of two baby sea lions who were victims of El Niño. The musical guest was Michael Franti, known for using his music for positive change.

Check out the San Francisco Chronicle recap with a picture featuring AOL's "Draft" Tent experience!

In March, AOL will celebrate Women's History Month and International Women's Day (March 8th). Last week's AOL MAKERS Conference kicked things off by bringing together some of the biggest women leaders from across sectors for three days of inspirational discussions around diversity, leadership, social issues, and education. You can see great pictures and videos from the event by checking out @Makerswomen on Twitter.

In April, Citizen AOL will host nearly 1,000 children across over 14 offices for Take Your Child to Work Day and in May AOL's global volunteer day, Monster Help Day will send employees out into their communities. Promoting STEM education with children, especially girls is important to AOL, and will be the focus of a number of initiatives. AOL looks forward to supporting the Computer Science Opportunity Fair, educating nearly 2,000 high school and select middle school students around the endless opportunities in tech.

Stay tuned to this blog for more exciting updates from Citizen AOL and follow @AOLCSR on Twitter to keep up with all the great things AOL is going to do this year!

Feb 8th 2016

How AOL Helps Those Who Help Others

Yesterday, all eyes were on San Francisco as the Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. But the night before, a group of athletes, TV personalities and philanthropists convened in the Bay Area to raise money at the annual Big Game Big Give event, sponsored by AOL.

One of the night's celebrity hosts was San Francisco favorite: former 49'ers quarterback Joe Montana. The Four Rings Montana Family Foundation, an organization started by Joe and wife Jennifer, was one of the beneficiaries of this year's fundraiser. The Montana's charity raises money for underprivileged children in the San Francisco area. "We find it extremely important for kids to have a positive upbringing when they are young so they can grow to be successful and have fulfilling lives," says Montana. "We work with various charities and have created scholarship funds to help lift the financial burdens that often hold kids back." Other Big Game Big Give beneficiaries included the Stanford Cancer Institute and The Giving Back Fund.

Participating in Big Game Big Give is one of many ways that AOL lends support to important causes. By featuring nonprofits on the AOL.com homepage, AOL donates millions of digital impressions to worthwhile endeavors, such as Girls Who Code. Founded by Former Deputy Public Advocate of New York City Reshma Saujani, Girls Who Code is dedicated to providing unparalleled computer science education to girls across the United States. As Saujani told MAKERS, "There's going to be 1.4 million jobs that are open in the next 20 years in science, technology, engineering and math. But right now, only one out of seven engineers is a woman. Girls Who Code wants to change that." Saujani and Girls Who Code have committed to teaching one million girls how to code by 2020, and the AOL Charitable Foundation has provided grants to support their Summer Immersion Program. Additionally, AOL's #BUILTBYGIRLS movement partnered with Girls Who Code to rebuild Cambio, a popular entertainment destination for young women.

Another way AOL helps change makers is by giving them a platform to discuss causes they're passionate about. Actor, writer, producer and comedian Amy Poehler described Smart Girls on AOL's BUILD, saying, "Smart Girls is a website and a series of programming dedicated to young people—men, women, boys and girls—in an attempt to, through comedy, be an antidote to some of the less appealing, more dangerous stuff on the internet." Through the digital series "Smart Girls at the Party," Poehler has interviewed a diverse group of women including Grace Helbig, Dr. Jane Aronson, and Broad City stars Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer.

To learn more about how AOL makes a positive impact, click here.

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!

Jan 20th 2016

Alex Khan heads Asia for AOL

AOL has announced a slew of appointment changes as the company adapts to continued high growth around the world. Alex Khan, who has led AOL Platforms in South East Asia since 2013, has become Managing Director of AOL for all of Asia.

"Asia represents a massive opportunity, as almost three billion more people come online over the next few years, with the majority expected from Asian markets" said Khan. "We're seeing rapid adoption of smartphones, connected TVs and OTT plays, providing a ready market for digital advertisers. At AOL we have the technological solutions to help publishers and agencies meet that demand."

As well as continuing to oversee the running of AOL Platforms, which enables brands to reach consumers across desktop, mobile and TV through premium video experiences, programmatic buying and performance-driven campaigns, Alex will also be responsible for monetisation of AOL's editorial brands in Asia including TechCrunch and Engadget.

In his new role, Alex will report into Graham Moysey, Head of AOL International. Robert Woolfrey, Managing Director of Millennial Media in the region, will report to Alex.

Since joining the company in 2013, Alex has been a fierce proponent of AOL's unified programmatic platform and has spoken regularly at events on how video, data and automation are transforming digital advertising.

Born in the UK, Alex has developed a strong understanding of the Asian market. He was COO of the Catcha Media Group and CEO of Catcha Digital Asia in Singapore and Malaysia before joining AOL. His current position on the Leadership Council for IAB Singapore illustrates his prominence in the Asian digital advertising industry.

Alex's new position, which comes as AOL seeks to match talents with roles and focuses on the need to build and fulfil demand in a competitive industry, is particularly key for the business. Covering more than half the world's population with high growth in digital advertising expected across the region – particularly in China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan – Asia is of tremendous importance to AOL as it seeks to connect with two billion consumers by 2020.

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