AOL Buys

America Online Inc, the world’s largest distributor of disposable CDs and apparently also an interactive services company, has announced that it has signed an agreement to hand over US$435 million (€359 million) in cash for, the internet’s third largest advertising network. plans and optimises online campaigns for more than 800 advertisers, and also works with some 1500 online publishers to bring them 110 million unique visitors every month. About 70% of all US internet users encounter’s work in the course of a month’s surfing.

This is AOL’s biggest deal since it merged with Time Warner, and shows that there may be some life in online advertising after the bubble burst after all. AOL, having ditched its broadband product and now staring at declining dial-up business, is understandably keen to drive growth in other areas, and believes that content and services are what it’s best at.

Jonathan Miller, Chairman and CEO, America Online, Inc., said, “Online advertising is showing very strong growth across the industry, and the acquisition of underscores AOL’s determination to strengthen its competitive position. has built a profitable, scalable and highly attractive business. This acquisition is a strategic move that will bolster AOL’s advertising business, building on the strides made in the past year.”

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?