AOL and DoubleClick Make Major Pact

AOL inked an agreement to employ DoubleClick’s ad management platform, DART for Publishers (DFP), across all AOL brands. The rollout begins before the end of this year.

AOL Media Networks, AOL’s ad sales, commerce and search division, is currently piloting DFP on Mapquest. The planned rollout means DFP will handle ad serving, targeting, inventory management and reporting across AOL’s myriad online properties, including, AOL Instant Messenger, Compuserve, Netscape, Mapquest, Moviefone, Time Inc. Interactive, CNN, CNNMoney, and icq. Combined, these properties reach an audience exceeding 104 million users, according to comScore Media Metrix.

The deal specifies DoubleClick will develop enhancements to the DFP platform. According to AOL Media Networks EVP David Lebow, some will be proprietary, addressing issues unique to AOL technology. “We’ll also fund some innovations that will be felt across the DART tool,” he said.

David Rosenblatt, DoubleClick’s president, told ClickZ News the enhancements include, “A number of workflow tools AOL will use to productize their audience. The idea is to empower their sales force and give them the ability to very quickly put together media packages. We’re making pretty substantial improvements to the forecasting abilities.”

AOL, under existing agreements, is already using DoubleClick solutions for data and campaign management, email, and search and affiliate marketing.

Financial terms of the contract weren’t disclosed, but the deal is a coup for DoubleClick not only in terms of its size, but because the company has been searching for a buyer for some time. “With a media property as large as AOL adopting the DART technology, already widely used by online advertisers, we’re creating a common technology platform and industry standard for online ad management, said Rosenblatt. “The addition of a Top-Three publisher pushes us along the path of creating an industry standard for online ad management. One of the benefits of this deal is it’s a pretty strong endorsement.”

The DFP product has found the company significant new clients this year, such as FOX Broadcasting.

AOL Media Networks President Mike Kelly said in a statement, “On the heels of our acquisition of last summer, we will have what nobody else has — absolutely state-of-the-art ad serving and optimization.”

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