AOL UK Launches AOL.com with E-mail and Social Networking Aggregation
NEW YORK – AOL UK today announced the beta launch of its new homepage available at http://www.aol.co.uk/newhomepage that will let consumers access multiple e-mail accounts and social networking services from a single online destination. The new AOL.com homepage will be opened to third-party services and content, providing consumers with new customization options while offering advertisers new opportunities to tap into an increasingly engaged audience. The site is part of the ongoing strategy from AOL’s MediaGlow publishing division, http://mediaglow.com, to expand globally, including the launches in the UK of men’s lifestyle site Asylum (http://www.asylum.co.uk), personal finance site WalletPop (http://www.walletpop.co.uk), automotive news blog Autoblog (http://uk.autoblog.com) and casual gaming website Flytrap Games (http://www.flytrapgames.com).
The new homepage model has already proven a success in the U.S. with the relaunch of AOL.com in September 2008 growing 7% in page views and 26% in total minutes year over year.* Today’s beta launch in the UK will feature the same new tools as in the US and features that allow users to further personalize and control their online experience, from display and design to navigation, news feed options and social media.
“As the Web becomes more fragmented, consumers want choice and relevance in their online experience,” said Bill Wilson, President of MediaGlow. “Today’s beta launch of the new AOL UK portal builds on the tremendous success we’ve experienced in the U.S. offering consumers more choice and customization. For the advertising community, it means even greater reach and relevancy for campaigns aimed at audiences across a wealth of rich media content and channels already available across AOL.”
Some of the innovative features include AOL UK users being able to check their Google Mail, Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail and of course AOL Mail e-mail accounts, in addition to seeing their online buddies via AOL’s AIM service. From the AOL.co.uk home page, users will also be able to post status updates to multiple social networks, and access profile activity information, including new friend requests and mail notifications, from services such as AIM, Bebo, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other third-party sites in future. In the UK, social sites account for one in every six minutes spent online, according to a recent study.**
Supported by AOL’s digital advertising business Platform-A, http://www.platform-a.com, AOL UK’s new homepage offers advertisers ad formats and capabilities including customized re-skins, rich media options and content integration opportunities. Platform-A’s Targeted Text Links advertising platform, powered by Quigo on a pay-per-click basis, has been fully integrated into the homepage launch, allowing advertisers to target their ads to ensure high lead generation and return on investment.
AOL UK also recently announced an enhanced AOL Mail experience, featuring more than 30 new plug-ins and shortcuts providing one-click access to Google Mail, Yahoo! Mail and a variety of other third-party sites and destinations directly from within the AOL Web Mail experience.
Other new homepage features include:
• Customized backgrounds with six new designs to choose from;
• Ability to add any links to the page so users can more easily access their most frequently visited sites;
• Users can drag and drop to reorder channel navigation to suit personal preferences;
• Users can add RSS feeds and categories to get content from their preferred external sites; and
• Leading market quotes and global stock finder.
The new homepage advances MediaGlow’s strategy of connecting people with their passion points by opening up to third-party content and services, providing consumers with new customization options and opportunities for advertisers to tap into an increasingly engaged audience. The site is expected to fully launch this summer.
* comScore Media Metrix AOL.com Homepages, March 2009.
** Study by Nielsen Online ‘Global Faces and Networked Places’ published March 2009.
MediaGlow, AOL’s publishing business unit formed in early 2009, centralizes AOL’s programming efforts, including AOL.com, AOL’s content verticals and commerce and marketplace channels, dozens of niche sites, and state-of-the-art studios in Los Angeles and New York City. In all, MediaGlow operates more than 70 sites and attracts more than 67 million unique visitors each month, according to comScore Media Metrix. It plans to launch more than 30 new sites in 2009. MediaGlow, along with AOL’s advertising business, Platform-A, and its social media business, People Networks, represent the three core businesses for AOL.
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., AOL LLC and its subsidiaries have operations in the U.S., Europe, Canada and Asia. Learn more at www.AOL.com.
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