AOL Pairs SEM Products in Broader Integration Push

As part of its broader mission to incorporate new ad tech holdings into a cohesive offering under the Platform A umbrella, AOL is combining sales of Quigo’s retailer-centric feed management product with Advertising.com’s search bid management system.

“These are two sets of services that didn’t overlap much,” said Quigo COO David Sasson in regards to Quigo’s FeedPoint and Advertising.com’s Outsearch. “It’s integrated as an offering, but the technology is not integrated yet,” he added.

FeedPoint manages data about products for distribution on shopping comparison sites and through programs such as Yahoo’s Search Submit Pro paid inclusion service. The FeedPoint technology “takes in data from a retailer…, gathers that data in one way, and then syndicates that data out to all these channels,” said Sasson.

Outsearch, a service of AOL’s Advertising.com network, provides keyword optimization and bid management to search marketers.

In addition to serving retail clients, Sasson suggested the new combined search offering might appeal to directories firms in need of distribution for local advertiser listings. The integrated product also could help companies with extensive search marketing campaigns manage landing page optimization. “The challenge they confront is that they have 20,000 potential URLs for any one service,” he said.

Until recently, online ad industry watchers seemed to have brushed aside AOL, forgetting the firm amidst hype around Google, DoubleClick, Microsoft and Yahoo. But the Time Warner company is reminding observers it could be ahead of the game on some fronts when it comes to integration.

AOL purchased contextual text ad network Quigo for around $340 million in November 2007. The firm is part of the Platform A unit formed last September, which houses other ad technology outfits such as mobile ad firm Third Screen Media, ad management company AdTech and behavioral targeting network Tacoda.

AOL has continued its buying spree, most recently snapping up social networking player Bebo for $850 million in cash last week. The new subsidiary could provide AOL with more ad inventory targeted based on audience profiles and behavioral data.

Though AOL has big plans for comprehensive integration of all its ad-related companies via Platform A, only video firm Lightningcast, acquired nearly two years ago is completely integrated, Platform A President Lynda Clarizio told ClickZ News last week.

“Lightningcast has been fully integrated,” said Clarizio, noting, “I wouldn’t want to take the Lightningcast situation and say it would work across the board” as a template for other integrations.

Clarizio replaced former Platform A head Curt Viebranz earlier this month, furthering speculation about a staff shakeup at the unit. Clarizio served as president of Advertising.com before the switch.

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