While many were shocked at Verizon buying up AOL last year, it's no longer that much of a shock. AOL is a pretty big company, even though they haven't been in the limelight for quite a few years. Between their advertising business and their publications (Engadget, Tech Crunch and Huffington Post to name a few), the company brought in $2.7 billion in 2015. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. AOL's Chief Executive Tim Armstrong is looking to turn AOL into an advertising juggernaut. Back at CES in Las Vegas earlier this year, Armstrong met with a slew of ad buyers, behind closed doors of course, to sell them on AOL and their advertising strategy.
It was already made known that Verizon would be sharing customer location data with AOL for advertising purposes, it looks like it's about to get real with this sharing of data. This can be seen as an invasion of privacy, but Verizon does allow you to opt out, if you wish to do so. Additionally, while this may sound creepy, it's actually a good thing as it'll show you more targeted ads and ones that you might actually want to look at. For AOL that means more money, as you'll be more likely to click on them, for advertisers that means more customers. And for you, you may actually find a product or service you want to use or at least try out. Ads are what pay for the open web, and many companies already track your location data for advertising purposes.
Verizon didn't just buy AOL for their advertising chops though. With publications under their belt, they also have a good bit of exclusive video from sites like Engadget, Tech Crunch and The Huffington Post, something they can put on their over-the-top mobile video service, dubbed 'Go90', and they have done so already. Verizon and AOL are looking to become an advertising juggernaut and compete with Google and Facebook. That's a pretty tall order considering that AOL isn't even in the top 10 for advertising platforms, and Google/Facebook are number one and two respectively.