AOL has finally completed the acquisition of online advertising company Quigo. Quigo is a provider of contextual advertising on third-party publisher Websites, much like AdSense and Yahoo Publisher Network. The company offers a variety of different advertising formats including text, banners, and video, and sells them on a CPC, CPM, or “cost per time” basis. AOL had originally announced its intention to acquire Quigo on November 7, 2007.
Financial terms of the deal were not publicly disclosed, though we’ve found information on Web from different sources claiming the sale is said to be around $340 Million.
According AOL officials, Quigo will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL within its Platform-A organization, which is focused on unifying the company’s many online advertising divisions, which include Advertising.com, Tacoda, Adtech, among others. The acquisition of Quigo lets AOL expand the use of contextual advertising — which matches ads to the contents of a Web page — across AOL’s own Web pages, as well as its third-party networks, sites and publishers. Quigo is expected to bring in $100 million a year as it stands.
Now that the acquisition is final, and AOL is showing intentions to actually do something with a company it purchased, the unification strategy could actually work to make them a significant player in the online ad world in the face of the present dominant role of Google.
What Quigo basically offers is transparency and control in what can often be an opaque business: advertisers pay Yahoo and Google for contextual ad placement on a wide variety of Web pages, but get little say over where those ads run or even a list of sites where they do appear.
Quigo, by contrast, gives advertisers not only the list of specific sites where their ads have appeared but also the opportunity to buy only on specific Web sites or particular pages on those sites. It also allows media company sites like ESPN.com and FoxNews.com a chance to manage their own relationships with advertisers.
Although Quigo remains a small competitor, with less than 10 percent of the contextual ad business, its growing success has apparently persuaded Google, which is accustomed to calling the shots in all aspects of its business, that it has to change the way it sells the sponsored link ads in the future.
More about Quigo
Quigo – www.quigo.com – recently named Company of the Year by AlwaysOn Media – provides innovative performance marketing solutions for advertisers and premium publishers. Quigo’s AdSonar is a leading network of top-tier websites offering a broad range of advertising solutions. AdSonar’s content-targeted sponsored links are distributed to many of the web’s most recognized sites including CNNMoney.com, TIME.com, People.com, ESPN.com, Forbes.com, TheStreet.com, FoxNews.com, CareerBuilder.com, LonelyPlanet.com and on over 200 local, regional and national newspaper and television sites including those of ABC, Tribune Interactive, Fox, The Hearst Company, The McClatchy Company, Morris Communications, Media News Group, New York Daily News, New York Post, Scripps, Stephens Media, USA Today, and others. AdSonar offers advertisers multiple targeting options for their campaigns; including national and local targeting by vertical category, site, individual page, section, topic, and/or keyword. Quigo’s suite of search marketing solutions, including its flagship FeedPoint product, offers scalable, technology-driven services to help leading e-commerce and directory sites drive traffic, acquire new customers, and maximize revenue and profits.
Founded in 2000, Quigo’s primary venture backers include Highland Capital, Steamboat Ventures (the venture capital arm of The Walt Disney Company), and Institutional Venture Partners.
Michael Fisher: President.
As President, Mike is responsible for all aspects of the company’s business. Prior to joining Quigo in 2005, he served as Vice President, Engineering & Architecture for PayPal, Inc. an eBay company. Prior to joining PayPal, Mike spent seven years at General Electric helping to develop the company’s technology strategy and processes. He attended the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. Mike also holds a Master of Science and PhD in Information Systems and a Master of Business Administration.
Kevin Fortuna: Chief Strategy Officer.
As CSO, Kevin leads AdSonar and PageCast, Quigo’s advertising and video content targeting platforms, as well as the Finance and Marketing teams. Prior to joining Quigo in 2005, he was the founder and Managing Partner of Dedalus Capital, a boutique M&A consultancy and venture firm. Before Dedalus, Kevin was the VP, Business Development at two IPO-track internet companies: Juno Online Services and CNET/Snap.com. He graduated summa cum laude from Georgetown University and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
David Sasson: Chief Operating Officer.
As COO, David leads the FeedPoint division and Quigo’s Product Management team. Prior to joining Quigo in 2004, David was Vice President of Advertising Systems at Juno Online Services, where he developed new advertising technologies and managed client services. David was also co-founder & COO of Advocacy Inc., a leading interactive agency for political campaigns, congressional offices and issue advocacy. David is a Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude graduate of Haverford College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Geoffrey Weber: Chief Technology Officer.
As CTO, Geoffrey oversees the Engineering, Tech Operations, Information Technology and Quality Assurance teams. He has over 25 years of Technology experience, and previously served in several management positions at eBay including: Director of eBay Site Operations and Director of Financial Systems, PayPal. Prior to joining eBay, Geoffrey spent 10 years in an independent consulting practice building highly scalable solutions for clients such as: NEC, Sprint, Sun Microsystems, Sybase, Franklin-Templeton, and Providian Financial. He studied Mathematics and French Literature at the University of California, Berkeley.
AOL is a global Web services company that operates some of the most popular Web destinations, offers a comprehensive suite of free software and services, runs one of the largest Internet access businesses in the U.S., and provides a full set of advertising solutions. A majority-owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX – News), AOL LLC and its subsidiaries have operations in the U.S., Europe, Canada and Asia. Learn more at AOL.com.
Time Warner’s AOL unit purchased four advertising companies in 2007, including Quigo Technologies Inc. Quigo is the fourth advertising company AOL has acquired during 2007. Earlier in the year, AOL acquired Third Screen Media, a leader in mobile advertising, ADTECH, a leading ad serving platform based in Frankfurt, Germany, and TACODA, a leading behavioral targeting company.
Platform-A is said to be reaching over 90% of the online audience.
In related news Quigo’s CEO Mike Yavonditte will depart the company. He’ll spend the next six months as an adviser to Curt Viebranz, president of AOL’s Platform A advertising division. Instead the Quigo CTO Michael Fisher will become president of the subsidiary.
Michael Yavonditte is a veteran of new media and technology. Prior to being named CEO of Quigo, he served as VP of Sales for USA Networks Electronic Commerce Solutions Group. He managed the e-commerce operations for CBS Sportsline, Nascar.com and the National Hockey League. In 2000, he joined AltaVista, where he negotiated and closed several large, multi-year, multi-million dollar agreements for the company. Mr. Yavonditte started his career at Ziff-Davis Publishing in NY where he held various sales and management roles. In 6 years he took Quigo from a start up to the predominant performance-driven, ad auction-based, pay-per-click advertising company in the industry.
The deal is yet another part of the major shakeout and consolidation that took place within the online ad industry through out the entire 2007 and is one of the web’s biggest deals for the 2007 we have listed and ranked yesterday.
AOL chairman and CEO Randy Falco stated, “Quigo is an important part of our new Platform-A organization that we announced in September.” Platform-A is, by all accounts, the future of AOL.