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May 8th 2012

Heroes Wanted: Join AOL's Mobile Team

Hi, my name is Sabrina, and I'm a recruiter on the AOL Talent Acquisition team. I'm excited to be the first to contribute to a new series for the AOL Blog that we're calling "Heroes Wanted." The series aims to bring you some of the most exciting employment opportunities within the many teams at AOL. This first post goes in search of heroes to join our Mobile development team, who build some of the most fun and well-regarded mobile products in the business!

In a world where millions of people use our products every month*, we rely on the power and pluck of the mobile software engineers to save the day. You were put on this earth to make a difference and we want to harness, develop and foster your skills and talent to help you achieve that goal. We are focused on the future. We have a solid plan in place to become the largest online content provider in the world and we're making strides every day. But what I truly think differentiates us from other companies are our people. We collaborate and work as a team creating a real sense of community.

We're searching for developers that are passionate about mobile technology. We have a dynamic team full of creative, ingenious AOLers that work hard and play hard. They've already made amazing products like my personal favorites Moviefone for iPad, Engadget Distro and AOL Play. To win the war on bad applications, we are on a mission to find the few, the proud, the super-talented. Our goal is to build intuitive and engaging mobile applications that even your parents can use. This means solving complex, unique and large-scale problems, working with a passionate team and creating compelling apps for the Android and iOS platforms. You'll battle dark forces daily and continually improve processes and tools to make the web a better place for all civilians.

Think you have what it takes? Can you answer Yes to all of the following questions?
  • I have built high quality web applications that were published in the Android Market/Google Play and/or the Apple AppStore. I'll tell you all about them.
  • When I build applications, I always consider how to create a great end-user experience because if I don't look out for those little guys, who will?
  • I have a passion for mobile device technologies and a desire to increase my cadre of technology powers.
  • I enjoy working within a league of other code heroes. Building apps is a team sport and I excel at communications – especially with team members and product or business owners.
  • Also? I have a B.S. in Computer Science or a related field. My coding superpowers extend to Java and Android development and/or Objective-C/C++/C, Cocoa Touch and iOS development. Plus, I have hands-on experience developing software using object-oriented programming and killer design skills. Duh, obviously. I am a code superhero after all.

Interested in joining us? Visit our careers page to find out more, and visit our Heroes Wanted category on the AOL Blog for more great jobs!

*Internal mobile data

Apr 6th 2012

About.me Launches Mobile App


about.me
now has an app for the iPhone. Built in collaboration with the AOL Mobile team, the app helps ensure your online identity goes wherever you go by delivering the about.me experience as well as access to exclusive mobile features that take advantage of location awareness. The new "Check Out" option lets you view pages of nearby users who are also using the feature, making it easier to connect meaningfully with new acquaintances offline.

More key features of the app include the ability to:
  • Create your own about.me page
  • Browse "Featured" and random pages and then email the user or share their page
  • Search and add pages to your "Favorites" list
  • View and update your own page

These join existing Web features that let you:
  • Link to disparate social media pages (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
  • Add discovery tags to help find like-minded people
Download the free application here.

Mar 14th 2012

Christa Zambardino Talks AOL.com, America's Homepage and Giving Back


This is the second post in our series profiling incredible women at AOL in honor of "Women's History Month."

An AOLer for over fifteen years, Christa Zambardino, VP of Sales for AOL homepages, has seen it all. Over her long career at AOL, Christa has witnessed first-hand the evolution of AOL into a company and brand, but also the progression of the industry as a whole.

We sat down with Christa to discuss a wide variety of topics including advertising trends, the importance of volunteerism and her thoughts on what differentiates the AOL homepage from its competitors. "For our users, it all starts here. Our homepage is really America's homepage. By integrating our unique canvases, our video assets like the 'You've Got...' series and featuring heart-warming stories, the homepage has a more personal feel that users identify with and want to wake up to in the morning and end their days with in the evening."

When Christa came aboard AOL there was no sales strategy for the homepage and she quickly identified that a category focus was needed. By working with marketing, her team created sales materials and messaging that catered to brands in all industries.

Combined with continuing technological advancements and a focused editorial strategy, the AOL homepage has seen huge growth in revenue, and a substantial increase in video views and video content displayed since 2010.¹ Providing personalization for users with different tactics like an emphasis on local offerings has also led to growth. "We introduced the local page, which uses your zip code to pull relevant information, whether its news from your local Patch town, directions for your neighborhood from MapQuest or movie times and listings from Moviefone, we use geo-targeted data to make our users' lives easier."

Discussing advertising trends that will impact 2012, Christa cites the importance of mobile and video. "We're working with our mobile team to take advantage of these added advertising opportunities. Over the next quarter we will continue to integrate rich media into our mobile offerings and possibly incorporate targeting capabilities to create a more complete experience."

One of the things that sets Christa apart is her commitment to helping others. At AOL, "We are in the business of helping people. Period" and Christa lives this value every single day. After volunteering in 2009 at the Ronald McDonald House New York during AOL's day of service, Monster Help Day, Christa made a personal connection to the house and wanted to look for new ways to continue to support the organization. After spending more time at the house, it was clear to Christa that they needed a new media room. Suggesting demolishing the house's dated computer room and starting fresh, Christa presented her proposal to the executive team and immediately received support for her project, engaging 20 different departments from designers to engineers to assist her along the way.

One year later, AOLers celebrated the room's completion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony with patients, their families and Kevin Jonas. The new AOL Media Room now includes brand new computers and digital equipment set up for one-on-one tutoring, and group learning scenarios for children in treatment, as well as their siblings staying at the House. The house was so thankful to Christa for all of her hard work that they recently asked to join the house's board of associates.

This year, in an effort to raise money for her NY marathon run, Christa created an AOL team that will run under the Ronald McDonald House name. All donations will go toward enhancing the house's music room, on behalf of Rory Wheeler, Christa's AOL colleague and marathon runner, who passed away from cancer late last year.

Christa's amazing accomplishments have not gone unnoticed at AOL. At this year's sales conference, Christa was recognized in front of all of her peers when she was honored with the Rory Wheeler Courage Award for her tireless philanthropic work both professionally and personally. "Cancer has been such a big part of my life, and I love showing people that giving back is an easy thing to do and does not take a lot of time. Being acknowledged in front of my peers and the whole company was incredible. I was so honored and proud to be part of AOL."

Source: AOL Internal Data

Feb 16th 2012

Introducing Our New iPad Site


Today we've unveiled AOL's brand-new iPad site! We've optimized the entire experience to make it super tablet-friendly. Check it out by going to aol.com on your iPad and then tell us what you think.

This new design provides an easy and fun way to browse through more of AOL's best content including top news, local and entertainment headlines.

WHAT'S NEW:
  • AOL Mail – Tap on the Mail icon at the top of the page to quickly go to your AOL Mail account. Or, sign in to the page itself to get a dedicated mail preview section so that you can see up to 20 previews of your latest unread messages. You can swipe to review your mail, tap on previews to open messages, tap on the compose icon to open compose view, and tap on the header to open your inbox.
  • Apps – Tap on the Apps icon at the top of the page to visit our Mobile Desktop Tablets page and view all available AOL Apps and Mobile Web channels. You'll also find AOL Apps promoted further down the page as well.
  • Top News – View top news headlines with images. Swipe to see all headlines, tap an item to read the full article, and tap on the header to open Huffington Post Front Page to see all articles.
  • Video – Swipe to see featured videos and tap to to play selected videos. Once the video experience is open, you can play that video or tap on additional featured videos below.
  • AOL Music MP3 of the Day – Swipe this section to preview the latest 20 days of AOL Music's MP3 of the Day. Tap play to listen to selection. It will play in-line with continuous play of all 20 MP3s.
  • Moviefone – Swipe see all listings of movies now playing in theaters. If location is set, you will see movie times for nearest theater and movie trailer.

Learn more about the new site and its features by reading the AOL.com Blog.

Jan 10th 2012

Mobile Advertising: Will this be the Premium Advertising Platform?


Advertisers often lump smartphones and tablets into the "mobile" category, but I think we need to focus less on their portability, and more on how these devices are used. A smartphone is constantly connected and is mostly used on the go, whereas a personal computer tends to be more stationary. Plus, people have grown accustomed to the type of ads they see on both of these devices.

A tablet, however, falls somewhere between the smartphone and the traditional web experience one has on a computer. We are still at the very early stages of understanding how consumers are using this device – only 10% of consumers own one, compared to the 44% who own smartphones and nearly 80% who own personal computers. But, Forrester Research projects that U.S. tablet sales will grow from 26 million in 2011 to more than 50 million in 2012.
So what is the right format for this advertising? Is this experience a lean-back and watch interface, or do people expect to engage with ads like never before? Are in app-ads the best way to go? Is it video?

If we look at how consumers use their tablet devices, we know that its main uses are gaming, web browsing and email, with ecommerce quickly gaining an edge. In fact, a recent study conducted by comScore and Jumptap found that 63 percent of tablet owners have made a purchase with their device.

This tells us that their experience is not unlike the traditional web browsing we've seen for years. Our research shows that tablet usage occurs mostly in the morning and evening (50% above day usage), which clearly suggests that PCs are being replaced by tablets. Additionally, tablet users sessions are significantly longer - almost 5X longer - than mobile devices, also suggesting that tablet usage is PC-like.

But what makes a tablet different is the functionality of the device. The touch screen on a tablet is very different from that which ones uses on a smartphone, and is completely different than most PCs. This needs to be the driver of advertising innovation on the tablet.

People aren't looking for a traditional 250x300, click-induced direct response ad – they want to be able to swipe and drag through ads as if they were apps themselves. We need to push ourselves to build not only the technology for a dynamic content experience on tablets, but an incredible ad experience as well.

If you're at CES today, stop by Digital Hollywood at CES at 12 pm PT to discuss this very topic.

Track I - STC7 - SmartPhone & Tablet Conference
Location: North Hall N261
iPad-Tablet-SmartPhone Advertising - the Premium Advertising Platform

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