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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

AOL Acquires Buy.at Affiliate Network

image AOL announced today that it has acquired buy.at, a leading independent affiliate network that provides a platform for performance-based e-commerce marketing programs to advertisers and publishers. buy.at will operate as a wholly-owned  business unit of Advertising.com, part of AOL’s Platform-A organization.

“This acquisition further enhances our Platform-A advertising offerings by enabling us to offer a new set of advertiser and publisher products, while also supporting our international strategy, ” said AOL Chairman and CEO Randy Falco. “It will position AOL's Advertising.com to serve merchant and retail advertisers with the industry's most comprehensive set of performance marketing offerings to drive sales and other transactions, leveraging Advertising.com's web advertising network and search engine marketing services and now buy.at's innovative affiliate network.  We look forward to accelerating the expansion of buy.at's affiliate network in the United States and worldwide.”

buy.at, backed by DFJ Esprit and founded in 2002, is an affiliate marketing network in which affiliates (publishers) partner with advertisers (merchants) to enhance sales growth by driving consumers to those companies' websites. Unlike traditional display advertising or pay-per-click (PPC) models, an advertiser only pays when a visitor to its site takes action (such as making a purchase or signing up for a free trial). buy.at has consistently been a leader in technology innovation and development, with recent releases such as its ContentEngine, which allows retailers to promote their products and offers dynamically on affiliate websites. buy.at was also the first network to launch an integrated affiliate solution for users of social networking sites, working with WAYN, the travel-focused social network.  And through its buy.at leads division, the company sources high-quality consumer leads for merchants in the financial services industry.

The acquisition comes as U.S. ecommerce grew 14% to $116B in 2007 and is estimated to be at $171B by 2011, according to Jupiter Research[1]. U.S. advertisers continue to embrace this form of marketing as a way to increase their online penetration of sales channels across the ever growing fragmented universe of affiliate publishers.

“The combination of Advertising.com and buy.at provides a unique and significant opportunity for advertisers to leverage an expanded publisher base with even more tools and services,” said Kevin Cornils, CEO of buy.at. “buy.at has always focused on providing top-class customer service and customized technology to leading retailers and e-commerce businesses and we are looking forward to extending that to Platform-A’s client base. And as part of a larger performance-based marketing business, we will be able to engage more strategically with our clients and better optimize programs to drive further sales growth.”

buy.at is the fifth advertising acquisition AOL has made in the past 12 months. Last year, AOL acquired Quigo, a contextual advertising firm; TACODA, a behavioral targeting firm; Third Screen Media, the leading mobile advertising network and software provider; and AdTech AG, the leading international online ad-serving company based in Frankfurt, Germany. In 2006, AOL acquired Lightningcast, a leader in delivering advertising solutions for on-demand, live and downloaded video content across the Web. AOL acquired Advertising.com, which operates the largest third-party display network, in 2004.

With offices in London and Newcastle in the United Kingdom and in New York in the U.S., buy.at employs approximately 70 people and offers affiliate marketing in both the U.S. and UK and counts over 200 leading ecommerce businesses as its clients. Advertising.com also has operations in the U.S. and ten other countries, nine in Europe plus Japan. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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