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Monday, May 19, 2008

America Online Builds Integrated Social Media Platform

America Online -- once the great Internet Service Provider power -- has struggled mightily throughout the past decade.

The struggles appear to be in the rearview mirror. AOL continues to reinvent itself as a two-headed hydra with its Platform A advertising network and its recently purchased social network -- Bebo -- which will be integrated with its two instant messager software applications (AIM and ICQ) along with other media assets.

The goal: compete with Microsoft, Yahoo and Google for dominance in audience aggregation at social media and network sites.

AOL also appears ready to ditch its brand name, since it now comes with so much negative baggage, in an attempt to reach a younger demographic, which it sorely needs to do.

Thee business model around these social media networks is still nebulous but that shouldn't worry marketers and advertisers. The people who use social media and social networks are engaged online. They create content. They get involved with interactive games. They share.

The question will be: can these networks find a way to work together on data portability -- which gives each the best chance to grow and thrive -- or will they choke themselves off by trying, as AOL did in the early part of this decade and Facebook is doing now, to create a proprietary, walled garden of information?

By brad at 01:05 AM | Comments (0)

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