The former king of dialup connections, AOL in recent years has cobbled together a bunch of advertising-related companies it calls Platform A, which it is using to build its online advertising business.
"Over the past eight months, we have put together a network with unprecedented reach and state-of-the-art solutions," said Randy Falco, chairman and CEO of AOL, in a statement. "With the increasing fragmentation of online audiences, the best way to serve advertisers is to enable them to harness massive advertising networks that reach across the entire Internet, not just our AOL Web sites."
Using its once-highflying stock to purchase Time Warner at the tail end of the technology bubble in 2001, America Online's business -- like many during the tech bust -- dropped and its stock collapsed. Time Warner dropped AOL from its corporate name and the downsized AOL began refurbishing itself.
In recent months AOL has polished its Advertising.com network and added important advertising-related acquisitions including Tacoda, Third Screen Media, Lightningcast, and AdTech. The move from Dulles, Va., to New York City's Union Square will put AOL's advertising team in the middle of the world's advertising capital.
In announcing the move Tuesday, AOL noted that its Platform A already reaches more than 90% of the U.S. online audience and that its Advertising.com unit is the largest third-party display network. "New York City is the center of advertising, so it makes perfect sense to locate our corporate headquarters here," Falco observed.
Named AOL EVP and president of Platform A was former Tacoda CEO Curtis G. Viebranz. AOL said it would continue operations at the Dulles site, including its product development team. AOL also has major facilities in Bangalore, India, and Mountain View, California.
The move was hailed by AOL vice chairman emeritus Ted Leonsis, who rode the AOL rocket up and then down. In his blog, he said: "AOL is truly a media company now by moving its headquarters to NYC. Now it can evangelize the company's lead in third-party ad networks pivoted around Advertising.com and its set of recent acquisitions."
The move to New York is likely to take precedent over attempts to push Time Warner to spin off AOL -- a move that has been promoted for months by billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who owns a block of Time Warner stock.