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February 26 2014


February 06 2014

AOL’s Q4 Revenue Grows To $679M, But Earnings Per Share of $0.43 Fall Short Of Estimates
tim armstrongAOL came in ahead of analyst estimates on revenue but not earnings in its in its fourth quarter of 2013, reporting $679 million in revenue and diluted earnings per share of 43 cents. Analysts had predicted EPS of 60 cents per share and revenue of $655.8 million. AOL said EPS (along with operating income and net income) was negatively affected by "a pre-tax restructuring charge of $13.2 million, largely related to a reduction in personnel, including Patch."
AOL Quietly Changes Our 401(k) Employer Match Program
aol-401kStarting this year, AOL has changed how it distributes its matching 401(k) contributions for all employees, which could put a sizable dent in the retirement accounts for workers who part ways with the company before the end of the year.
Tags: Finance TC AOL

January 23 2014

Settings Its Sights On Content Personalization, AOL To Acquire Gravity For $90.7M
tim armstrongAOL is announcing that it has reached a deal to acquire content personalization startup Gravity for an initial $83 million, with another $7.7 million paid out over the next two years. Gravity works with online publishers and brands to tailor their content based on the activity of each visitor. This can take the form of "Recommended For You" or "What You Missed"-type widgets, which is how we implemented Gravity on the TechCrunch site. But co-founder and CEO Amit Kapur (who, like the other Gravity founders, was a former MySpace executive) has laid out a broader vision in the past, suggesting that this personalization is "the future of content."

January 02 2014

Vringo Sells Infomedia Its Mobile Content Business To Sharpen Focus On Patent Suits Against Google, ZTE And More
facetone vringoVringo, a publicly-traded patent-holding company that has been locked in infringement lawsuits against Google, ZTE, (TechCrunch owner) AOL and others, today announced that it has sold off the last remaining assets of its mobile business that were not directly related to those patent suits, throwing its hat into the ring as a full-on patent chaser.

January 01 2014

AOL Sells Winamp And Shoutcast Music Services To Online Radio Aggregator Radionomy
winampSome more detail on the fate of Winamp and Shoutcast, the legacy digital music services that owner AOL (which also owns TechCrunch) originally planned to shut down but then halted pending a sale. They are not being bought by Microsoft, as we had heard when we first reported news of a sale. The properties are instead being acquired by Radionomy -- an international aggregator of online radio stations headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.

December 19 2013

AOL Finalizing Talks To Sell Winamp And Shoutcast, No Shutdown Expected On Dec. 20
winampAOL is finalizing negotiations to sell off Winamp and Shoutcast in a deal that would allow both products to live on, according to a source with knowledge of the discussions. The company (which owns TechCrunch) announced last month that as of December 20, Winamp web services would shut down and that the desktop version of the video and music player would no longer be available for download.

December 16 2013

AOL Closes Down Its Hyperlocal Effort Patch After A Long, Losing Struggle For Profitability
Patch screenshotAOL is closing down Patch, even though CEO Tim Armstrong said just last week that the company was looking at ways to save the hyper-local news service. We've contacted AOL and Patch for more information.

December 05 2013

Interactive Video AdTech Startup, Carambola, Closes $4M Series A Led By Pitango
Israeli video adtech startup, Carambola has closed a $4 million Series A round, led by Pitango Venture Capital. Existing investors, 2B Angels, Plus Ventures and Rutledge Vine Capital, also participated in the round.

November 21 2013

Source: Microsoft In Talks To Buy Shoutcast And Winamp From AOL
Looks like the llama may not get off so easily after all. AOL yesterday announced that it was shutting down Winamp, media playing software for Windows and Android devices that it picked up through its 1999, $80 million acquisition of Nullsoft in 1999. But today Techcrunch has learned that AOL is talks with Microsoft to sell it, along with Shoutcast, a media streaming service also developed by Nullsoft. The news comes as we have also learned that AOL has been planning to announce the closure of Shoutcast next week.

November 14 2013

MapQuest Updates Its iPhone App With Improved Cartography And Routing To Take On Google And Apple Maps
On the iPhone, Apple Maps and Google Maps app have gotten all the headlines over the last several years, but MapQuest is still hanging in there, despite a lack of real innovation over the years. Today, the company is unveiling a huge update to its mobile app for iOS that provides a beautiful new alternative to the incumbents.
Tags: TC Mapquest AOL

November 11 2013

Nathan Richardson Departs AOL, '770 Live' Program Put On Hold
Nathan Richardson, who joined AOL as the president of Live from AOL (the company's live video initiative) just a few months ago, has departed, according to a report in Politico. A spokesperson for AOL, which owns TechCrunch, declined to comment on the status of individual employees, but he confirmed another aspect of the Politico report, that the 770 Live From AOL program (not the broader live video effort, which Richardson was presumably in charge of) has been put on hold: "We have decided to pause on launching 770 Live From AOL to ensure we are building a platform that will deliver across the board for consumers, partners and for AOL."
Tags: TC AOL

November 08 2013

AOL Asks AOLers To ‘Disrupt AOL'
In an internal message today, our AOL Global CTO Curtis Brown announced an "exciting event" that will be taking place next month in AOL campuses around the world. In an "exciting twist" on the TechCrunch-branded Disrupt events, the company will be running an internal "Hackathon" and "Idea Battlefield" in which participants will be able to "pitch their ideas" in front of "judges." Winning ideas will be "considered for actual development."

October 28 2013

Not Your Father's AOL? CEO Tim Armstrong Sketches Out His Vision For The Company
TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington kicked off his interview with AOL CEO Tim Armstrong at Disrupt Europe with the obligatory ragging on Armstrong for firing him, but eventually, he moved on to ask if there was "anything interesting" going on with AOL's business. In response, Armstrong offered a quick overview of what he sees as the core areas of the company — building "awesome brands", building "awesome brand ad products", and "investing in platforms as service partners". On the brand front, Armstrong pointed to TechCrunch and our Disrupt conference. (AOL owns TechCrunch.) On the platform front, he said, "We have one fo the fastest growing video platforms in the world right now."
Tags: TC AOL

October 11 2013

Memo From AOL Mgmt Re: Use Of TechCrunch Editorial Branding For Personal Pranks
Dear [Name Unknown, possibly Chris Smith?], It has come to our attention that you recently used a fake, mocked-up version of our technology editorial “blog” property TechCrunch in a personal prank. Furthermore, it has come to our attention that your friend, a Mr. “Olivier M,” was in fact fooled by the aforementioned prank — or so it seems, based on the email entitled “Personal information in your website”, which was sent to TechCrunch Editorial "Tips" earlier this week (please see Attachments A, B, and C).
Tags: TC AOL

September 30 2013

With Gathr's Custom Bundles, AOL Tries To Build A Subscription Business Beyond Dial-Up
One of the more awkward things about AOL is the fact that its profits are still entirely driven by subscriptions and memberships. Given the subscription busines' roots in dial-up Internet, it's not surprising that that those revenues keep falling — but with the launch of a new service called Gathr, the company is trying to turn things around. "It's really about bringing in new subscribers," said David Smith, vice president of marketing at AOL's paid services and membership division. What are these new subscribers actually going to pay for? AOL (which owns TechCrunch) is pitching Gathr as a way to access your favorite online services in a single place for a discounted price, with partners including Pandora, iTunes, Redbox, and Amazon.
Tags: TC AOL gathr

August 19 2013

AOL On Launches ‘Spot On' Video Ads, With Help From Interactive Ad Startup Carambola
Video distributors are still trying to build new ways for viewers to interact with the videos that they're watching online. The latest is AOL On, which is launching a new video ad unit that is designed to get viewers to engage with video content, without all the hassle that is usually required to create an interactive ad unit.
Inside Patch's Leaked Revenue Numbers And Its Hunt For Profitability
Patch, AOL’s hyperlocal news project, is undergoing steep layoffs as it aims for profitability by the end of the year. Leaked memos detail Patch’s revenue both in its lower reaches, and what its sales bosses expect it to accumulate daily. This grants us a window into Patch’s health, and why the project is cutting as deeply as it is. The core result of analyzing its financial health is that if we presume the upper end of rumored cuts to staff, fair cost per employee estimates, and reasonable top line sums based on what has leaked from AOL, Patch has a shot at reaching the black before the end of calendar 2013. The memos, obtained by Jim Romenesko, outline several important metrics: How much money Patch has brought in recently and how much money it wants to bring in daily. With these two figures, we can do some number work and parse out the ranges of Patch revenue. We can then contrast those figures with reasonable estimates of Patch’s cost structure, given that we have a recent employee number, also via the leaked memos. If you don’t care about the monetization of media and the future of news, prepare to be fantastically bored. (Standard disclosure: AOL owns TechCrunch.) Here’s our first key bit of memo, written by Jim Lipuma, head of U.S. ad sales for Patch on Tuesday: “Over the last 5 sales days, we have amassed our worst results of the year.” Let’s fit that with what Lipuma said on Friday: “We had $36K day yesterday, when we need to be having $100K+ days. I understand why yesterday happened, but we cannot settle for days like this going forward.” So, the $36,000 day was part of the worst period of ad sales of the entire year. The $100,000 figure is interesting, as it sets high-end expectations for what Patch should earn on any given day. So, we have upper and lower bands on what Patch should and should not earn day to day. We need another data point, however, which Lipuma happily provides in his memo: “This is the time to drive the ball and swing big. Do it for yourself, your families and the 1,200 people who call themselves ‘Patchers.’” Now we can dig into the math. There are two main ways for us to estimate Patch’s revenue: By discounting weekends, and by not. If we discount weekends, we assume
Tags: Media TC Patch AOL

August 16 2013

Patch Lay-Offs To Start Today, 40% Of Jobs Reportedly Cut Adding Up To Roughly 400 Employees Let Go
AOL CEO Tim Armstrong held another conference call for Patch employees today, and after what was likely the worst week to be working at the hyper-local news venture following the previous all-hands call, he confirmed that around 40 percent of the 1,000 total Patch workers will be let go starting today, according to Jim Romenesko. Around 80 percent of the Patch sites were in good or workable condition, he said, with another 20 percent set to "close or consolidate," Poynter's Andrew Beaujon reports.

August 13 2013

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong Apologizes For Brutally Firing Employee During Patch All-Hands Call
After a call with the AOL-owned Patch team included the public firing of Patch Creative Director Abel Lenz last week, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong has issued an internal memo apologizing for the action and providing some additional context (disclosure: AOL also owns TechCrunch). In the memo obtained from a tipster, Armstrong says that he has apologized to Lenz for the behaviour and that it was unfair to the former employee at a "human level."
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