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Oct 17th 2013

15 Years of Advertising.com

Wow, time flies. I can remember my first day at Advertising.com, now 13+ years ago. I had left my "safe" corporate career job at Arthur Andersen to join a "risky" startup as one of the partners suggested (#irony), and got to be part of the Web "boom" of the late '90s and early 2000s. It's amazing to reflect on how the company has grown over the years. Looking back over the past decade plus, there are several things that strike me:

The Early Days
Launching products and iterating quickly was a staple of the business. We had a lot of ideas – some worked well and others, not so much. There were those that had really successful runs that ultimately lost steam (remember the "GetPaid4" toolbar?) and ideas that were ahead of their time, like serving Mercedes Benz ads into Palm Pilots. And, of course, we had our share of busts. Looking back, the thing I'm most proud of is that we never lost sight of our North Star: differentiated products and technology that served the customer. Laser focus on creating long-term value for advertisers, publishers and consumers has been rooted in our culture from the very beginning.

The Internet Bust and 'Digital Depression'
In early 2001, the Advertising.com leadership team faced the difficult (but correct) decision to reduce the staff by nearly 40%. It was one of the hardest times in my professional career. I remember that day and how personal this was for our founders. It wasn't about the business – it was the impact on the people who had taken personal and professional risks to join the company. Ironically, amidst this terrible time was when I truly came to value the culture of Advertising.com. I realized that, just as in life, it's easy to do good business in high times; not so easy when it's in jeopardy.

It was then I realized what an advantage it was that Advertising.com was headquartered in Baltimore -- that more than 80% of our employees were part of this special community. The bond we all shared as the only digital advertising startup in the region at the time helped us get through the 'digital depression' and it proved to be a strong retention asset for those who were committed to the city. I was one of them.

"You've Been Acquired"
The business rebounded in full force, and in early 2004 Advertising.com filed an S-1. The leadership team was transparent with the employees and staff, and it was a very exciting time. Ultimately, the leadership and Board received an offer from AOL. I remember how exciting it was when AOL announced it had made an offer to acquire Advertising.com. By late summer of 2004, we were part of the AOL family. How far we had come from just a few years ago when we were fighting for survival. It was a very different AOL than the AOL of today, and we were fortunate to have Jon Miller and Ted Leonsis as business sponsors as they sought to move AOL beyond a subscription-only business in 2004. Our cultures were quite different, but they didn't come in and try to change who we were. Instead, they gave us room to grow and innovate. With the ongoing leadership of founders Scott and John Ferber, as well as our president and COO Gar Richlin, we started to innovate and grow in ways we hadn't envisioned within our new AOL parent.

Moving to Platforms
It wasn't long before Advertising.com evolved past the traditional "ad network." Many don't know this, but one of the biggest innovations that came out of our product and engineering shops was real-time bidding in 2007! Yes, you read that right, 2007. While we had already been offering a "closed auction exchange" on a managed services basis, we had quietly expanded into the real-time bidding world. It would be some time before the market caught up to this.

Today, we're leading the programmatic platforms movement. We service the buy side and the sell side with our product suite offerings, AdLearn Open Platform (AOP) and MARKETPLACE. And we've just welcomed yet another game-changing platform asset into the mix, Adap.tv. Side note: AOL, you haven't lost your acquisition touch!

The Advertising.com "Mafia"
The Advertising.com alumni network has expanded greatly over the years, and you can find them in influential positions at nearly every major global digital advertising company ... at Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and the list goes on and on. Closer to home, it's remarkable to see the impact Advertising.com has had in growing the Baltimore technology community. Our alumni have created Videology, founded by Scott Ferber; Lotame, founded by Andy Monfried, and Millennial Media, led by Chris Brandenberg and Steve Root.

Looking Ahead
Over all these years, perhaps one of the most important lessons I've learned here is that the only constant is change. I remember a time when popunder ads were a core part of our business. (How would we ever survive without popunders!)

There's always another threat, another pitfall, another company chasing our heels, but even more so, opportunity that presents itself every day. Over the past several years, I've been fortunate to partner with leaders such as Don Kennedy, Chris Heine and others who have driven Advertising.com and now AOL Networks growth through good times and the unavoidable economic and product cycle hiccups.

For everyone who has helped build this business over the past 15 years, thank you. You've made this a very special place. Fifteen years is a great achievement. I hope you're as excited for the next 15 as I am.

Happy 15th anniversary, Advertising.com.

Feb 26th 2013

Advertising.com Offers Facebook Inventory Through Facebook Exchange Partnership

Advertising.com customers can now access Facebook inventory through AOL's massive premium, cross-screen network. With 608M global unique visitors, Advertising.com is one of the largest providers of programmatic buying, and with the addition of Facebook's 1bn users, our reach is expanded even further.

We know that advertisers want to include Facebook inventory in their buys – we're seeing it on RFPs – so we're glad to be able to further meet their needs. Marketers can execute both brand and performance campaigns across screens (desktop, mobile, tablet, connected TVs), across formats (video, mobile, premium formats), and now on one of the most visited sites in the world, all with one buy through Advertising.com.

Working with Advertising.com advertisers will be able to powerfully leverage their own, and AOL's, targeting on Facebook.

At AOL Networks, our mission is to simplify digital advertising at scale. We are delivering on the intersection of premium and programmatic buying for our clients and this is another step in that direction.

* comScore Media Metrix January 2013

Feb 5th 2013

AOL's Advertising.com Group Becomes AOL Networks

Today I'm proud to announce to that the Advertising.com Group has officially been renamed AOL Networks. This new brand better aligns with AOL, and should help all of our stakeholders to better understand the rich stack of assets and robust technology we bring together nearly 20,000 publishers and 4,000 advertisers. We believe this new name clearly represents the recognized cross-screen offerings across premium, programmatic and performance advertising.

Since our formation in April 2011, our mission has always been to simplify digital advertising at scale. AOL Networks will continue to offer global advertising solutions that help increase yield through a rich and broad set of platforms, formats, and technologies. We have heard from many clients that there are an increasing number of systems and partners they need to do business with to accomplish their online marketing objectives. AOL is synonymous with premium. And in the network space, there is a real need for premium experiences. With our established leadership in video, performance and now programmatic, plus AOL's foothold in premium advertising, we are better positioned than ever to define and own a transcending solution.

AOL Networks enables the world's top marketers and media brands to reach consumers across desktop, mobile, tablet and connected TVs with impact through premium experiences, programmatic buying and performance driven campaigns. It is the global partner of choice for leading publishers, advertisers and agencies seeking to maximize the value of their online brands.

The brands within AOL Networks will continue to operate under their existing names, including:


Additionally, BuySight, the recently acquired dynamic creative optimization firm, will be packaged into the Advertising.com product suite.

The new gateway, www.aolnetworks.com, launches today, providing publishers and marketers with information on, and access to, all of the offerings in the AOL Networks premium advertising suite.

*Source: comScore December 2012
**Source: comScore December 2012

Dec 12th 2012

Allie Kline Joins AOL as Advertising.com Group's Chief Marketing Officer


We're happy to announce that Allie Savarino Kline has joined AOL as Chief Marketing Officer for Advertising.com Group. In this global role, Kline will oversee marketing strategy to drive demand for the Group's advertising solutions for publishers, advertisers and agencies.

Kline has an extensive history in brand management and marketing strategy for technology-focused organizations. Most recently she was the Chief Marketing Officer for big data and social graph company, 33Across, where she worked with over 375 Fortune 1000 advertisers and 650,000 global publishers. Prior to that role, Kline served as Vice President of Marketing at Brand Affinity Technologies (BAT), overseeing the company's brand development, marketing, and talent relationships. Additionally, she ran global marketing for Unicast, a leader in rich media advertising for over 10 years.

Kline earned a B.A. in corporate communications from Ithaca College. She is a frequent industry speaker and press spokesperson, and was named to Fast Company's "Fast 50" list for Internet video innovation in 2005. Kline also serves as a board member on Jack Myers' Women's Media & Mentoring Initiative.

Learn more about Allie Kline by reading the full press release.

Dec 4th 2012

AOL's Advertising.com Group Acquires Buysight, Inc.

Today we announced the Advertising.com Group has acquired Buysight, Inc., a leading provider of retargeting and intent-based targeted advertising. The acquisition strengthens our premium product offering and expands the Group's position in the performance display market by significantly improving our retargeting and intent-based targeted advertising solutions. This transaction further solidifies the Advertising.com Group as a global leader in advertising technologies across display, mobile and video.

Formed in May 2011, the Advertising.com Group is the global partner of choice for leading publishers, advertisers and agencies seeking to maximize the value of their online brands, and includes Advertising.com, ADTECH, The AOL On Network, goviral and Pictela. The Group brings together end-to-end platforms and solutions for publishers and advertisers spanning ad serving, monetization, optimization, and premium advertising formats across all mediums including desktop, mobile, tablets and connected TVs.

We strongly believe that both brand and performance display, mobile and video campaigns benefit from dynamic, targeted creatives and messaging. The acquisition of Buysight brings proven Dynamic Creative Optimization and machine learning capabilities which will further enhance AdLearn, our market-leading optimization engine, and its ability to provide brands and performance marketers a comprehensive and integrated optimization solution across channels.

Based in Sunnyvale, California and founded in 2008, Buysight is a performance advertising company focused on retargeting using intent-based Dynamic Creative Optimization and its advanced machine learning technology. They deliver real-time behavioral advertising that drives incremental retail sales. Its Buyer Targeting platform is built on three core strengths: real-time modeling and prediction of purchase intent, real-time dynamic advertising with intelligent product selection, promotions, and creative, and real-time media buying optimized to calculate every impression's precise client value. Buysight's client advertising services include retargeting previous site visitors, acquiring new customers, and targeting relevant, personalized brand advertising to likely shoppers. More specifically, Buysight transforms online data into actionable knowledge, and uses it to connect people and advertisers in an automated, real-time marketplace to unlock significant value for both consumers and businesses.

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