AOL's Ad Swapping Games
from the revenue-from-nothing dept
Following on yesterday’s excerpt, the NY Post is now running another short excerpt from Stealing Time, the new book about AOL. This one focuses on the famous ad swapping deals, where AOL would make some deal in exchange for someone agreeing to buy ads on the site – and then they knock out the difference and call it even – though AOL would still record the revenue. The story focuses on a deal with Sun. AOL agreed to buy machines from Sun in exchange for an ad buy. Then it appears Sun basically knocked the price of the ad buy off the price of the machines. I’m a bit confused as to what’s wrong with this. The net result is the same. AOL received the equivalent amount in equipment, so it seems like a perfectly legitimate deal. Maybe it’s not clear in the excerpt. If Sun wasn’t actually delivering the equipment, that’s a different story – but otherwise it sounds like a fair trade. The only thing they do say is that AOL didn’t care about the equipment – they just wanted to record the increased revenues. If that’s true, then this is incredibly stupid on the part of AOL – and not particularly misleading. The cost of the Sun equipment still would show up as well, so the net result evens out.