AOL’s Move into Euro Affiliate Marketing

AOL has put in a huge, $900 million bid on Swedish affiliate player TradeDoubler. That’s equal to Google’s search and ads agreement with MySpace, to put it in perspective. It also calls to mind another big cross-border affiliate acquisition, that of Linkshare by Japanese portal Rakuten over a year ago for $425 million.

I know next to nothing about TradeDoubler, but am presuming AOL’s done a thorough investigation into its affiliates’ practices and legislative probabilities in Sweden and the EU. The impact of recent U.S. legislation on gambling affiliates is still a fresh memory.

AOL execs are saying they believe the company would be complementary with AOL’s ad network unit in the U.S. Perhaps that means they intend to offer advertisers the option to manage their network buys and affiliate programs in one place. That would require a leap on the part of many advertisers who run their affiliate programs out of their sales departments, whereas network buys are solidly a marketing function.

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