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12/21/2010
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AOL Acquires About.me

Aggregator lets users create an online "business card" that offers a single access point for social networks, email, personal blogs and more.

AOL has acquired About.me just four days after the startup launched a service that lets users create a single personal profile page that links to their various social networks, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Financial details were not disclosed.

AOL announced the acquisition on Monday, saying About.me co-founder Tony Conrad and his team would be under Brad Garlinghouse, president of AOL's Consumer Applications Group. About.me will be based in AOL's Palo Alto, Calif., headquarters.

The startup, which launched Dec. 16, lets people build a kind of online business card that links to all the social networks a person belongs to, as well as the user's email, personal blogs and more. Garlinghouse said the single profile pages that people create present an advertising opportunity for AOL.

"Creating smart online identities for consumers can have an incredibly positive impact on AOL’s content and advertising strategy as it gives us the ability to provide relevant and meaningful content to consumers," Garlinghouse said.

Among the AOL services that could be promoted through About.me are AOL e-mail and instant messaging and content sites like Engadget.

In addition to tying together a person's individual social profiles, About.me also provides analytics that allow users to track the number of people viewing their profile pages and which social networks they went on to view them. The information is useful in helping people market themselves online, according to About.me.

AOL has been on a buying spree this year, as it seeks to maintain relevance in an age dominated by younger Internet companies such as Google and Facebook. AOL acquisitions this year include StudioNow, 5min Media, TechCrunch, Thing Labs, and Pictela.

TechCrunch, founded in 2005 by former lawyer-turned-blogger Michael Arrington, was AOL's highest-profile deal of the year. The influential Silicon Valley blog and its network of Web sites are dedicated to technology news and analysis. AOL has made TechCrunch part of its technology network, which include web magazine Engadget, Switched, the unofficial Apple blog TUAW and the DownloadSquad.

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