Amazon Web

Is Amazon The AOL Of The eCommerce World?

There is something very similar to the strategies adopted by Amazon – one of the world’s largest eCommerce companies and AOL – the new online media company. Both the companies own pretty strong brands that have weathered the numerous internet bubbles over the years to still be telling their tale in 2010.  There is something else that is very similar – the way the two companies go about their growth strategy.

Aol has been pretty vocal about their plan to become the go-to destination for everything media. The company owns some of the very popular portals in various segments – Engadget, TechCrunch, TMZ, PopEater, DailyFinance to name a few. And now, looking into the way Amazon has gone about its inorganic growth, it looks like the company wants to be in a similar position for eCommerce products.

Amazon’s recent acquisition of is just the latest in a series of ecommerce acquisitions in the past few years. The company has previously purchased other popular ecommerce companies from various segmens like BuyVIP, and Zappos. Of course, the portfolio is not as big as Aol in terms of volume. But in terms of value, this is pretty huge considering that this is eCommerce that we are talking about and not an online ads-based business.

It will be interesting to see how Amazon Inc. goes from here. And that refers not just to

Web Yahoo

AOL – Yahoo Merger Rumors Gather Steam

Last month, a report on the Wall Street Journal had claimed that AOL was talking to several investor companies in a bid to take over Yahoo. The bid, explained by some as a possible hostile takeover, was majorly scoffed at, though additional reports from Bloomberg noted that Yahoo was in fact aware of such plans and was mulling ways to thwart such an attempt.

Now these rumors have gathered more steam with a report from Reuters claiming that AOL Inc. is now working out a way to tie-up with Yahoo to consolidate the online advertising business of the two companies.

“These options include merging Yahoo’s and AOL’s online businesses and spinning off Yahoo’s Asian assets to give shareholders back some capital, the paper reported. Another idea would have private equity buy a stake in the combined operations and give a dividend to Yahoo shareholders, the paper said.”

With AOL having reported a 26% decline in their quarterly revenues, it is not clear whether such aggressive attempts from the company management would be approved from the board, but it will be interesting to see how the future shapes up for AOL, and Yahoo.

Mergers & Acquisitions Web Yahoo

AOL – Yahoo Acquisition : Could This Be A Hostile Takeover?

A report on the Wall Street Journal has claimed that AOL has been working with several investor companies including Silver Lake Partners and Blackstone Group to discuss a possible acquisition of Yahoo; one of the leading online media portals on the web. According to these reports, the discussions are in early stages with no involvement of Yahoo up to this point.

However, it looks like Yahoo may already be aware of AOL’s advances. Bloomberg has reported that the company has been working with the Goldman Sachs Group to thwart any attempt from AOL for a hostile takeover. The company’s General Counsel, Michael Callahan is said to be heading the takeover-defense efforts.

Late yesterday evening, Yahoo stocks at the NASDAQ stock exchange (NASDAQ:YHOO) soar 5.68% in anticipation of the acquisition. However, it will be interesting to see how the market reacts to the latest news that the Yahoo management may not be willing to budge from their position and are most likely to thwart AOL’s efforts.


Aol ICQ Acquisition : TenCent Joins Bidding Race

After AOL was spun off from its parent Time Warner, the company has been focusing on building its content business so much so that other non-core assets including the popular ICQ have been put on sale.

As of now, three bidders have expressed their interest to buy the popular chat messaging platform. After Russia’s ProfMedia and DST placed their bid to acquire ICQ, China’s popular chat messaging solutions company TenCent too has placed its bid.

ICQ has over 42 million users worldwide, of which nearly 18.5 million are just from Russia. This explains why two Russian firms are active in the fray. ProfMedia is made to have made a bid for $120 million though AOL has put its own valuation for ICQ at $300 million

[via Reuters]

Miscellaneous Web

AOL To Make Videos Search Engine Friendly

Online videos have been a challenge on so many fronts – Not only do they consume more bandwidth (and cost more to maintain), they do not monetize well and are not search engine friendly. While there have been reports of companies such as Google working on scanning online videos to understand the context (and thus be able to rank them more appropriately), AOL seems to have an interesting alternate solution.

In a recently filed patent application, AOL describes a way to “study” the instant messages shared by people viewing a video and scanning this text for keywords that may be added as a metadata. This includes splitting the video itself into frames and assigning particular frame IDs. The algorithm will then study the instances of instant messages shared within a particular time since a frame of the video is displayed.

For instance, if several users watching a baseball game video type in praising a “homerun” 25 seconds into the video, the system immediately recognizes that an event associated with a keyword “homerun” has occured at a frame near the 25 second mark and associates this keyword to the video – thus helping in future searches as well as helping it index its videos better on search engines.

AOL metadata keyword scanning using instant messagesAOL metadata keyword scanning using instant messages

Sounds cool?