Posts Tagged ‘AOL’

AOL Buys Gravity for $90M


Kara Swisher of reports, “In a bid to add another publishing and advertising tool to its offerings, AOL has acquired personalization startup Gravity for about $90 million in cash. As part of the deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter, the New York-based company said it will also ‘acquire approximately $12 million of net operating losses, which is expected to result in a future cash tax benefit to AOL of approximately $5 million.’ ‘It’s been search, then social and now personal,’ said AOL CEO Tim Armstrong in an interview last night about the transaction, echoing a motto that Gravity CEO Amit Kapur has been using since he co-founded the company in 2009. ‘We think we can get a clearer signal with content with personalization to improve our results and better monetize what we offer.’ ” Read more

How Semantic Tech Can Patch Up Patch

Puneet Mehta of Street Fight Magazine recently wrote, “To meet the promise he made to shareholders, AOL’s chief executive Tim Armstrong is in the process of cutting staff and other costs at Patch in the hopes that his network of hyperlocal sites will be profitable by the end of 2013. His moves may get Patch into the black, but the company must also make substantial strategic changes if it hopes to build a sustainable business. But just making short-term cuts to hit profitability might not be the optimum choice. Patch also has to plant seedlings for mid- and long-term benefits that the company can reap 6-12 months from now. Here are six approaches that Patch can take to patch itself up.” Read more

Yoke Brings Ontology Graph to Facebook Dating To Reveal Connections, And Make Them, Too

A new matchmaking app from one of the founders of Adaptive Semantics hit Facebook yesterday. Adaptive Semantics, you may recall, developed the JuLiA semantic text-parsing technology that’s now part of AOL’s toolkit, courtesy of its Huffington Post acquisition.

Kingfish Labs is the startup that created Yoke, and it includes Jeff Revesz as CTO. Rob Fishman, who was Huffington Post’s social media editor, is the CEO of the company, which recently received $500,000 in seed funding. Yoke’s take on the online dating scene is to bring people together with the help of an ontology graph: Its algorithms explore entities, the connections between them, and the strength of those connections to discover common interests between people that just might lead to a real-world bond.

Yoke is deeply connected into the Facebook API, Revesz says. With users’ permission, it accesses basic data such as birthday, location, and education history, and also pulls their Likes in music, bands, artists, movies, books and some general areas outside those categories. Ditto for their closest friends (again, with respect to their privacy settings, so no guarantee as to how far it can get for each individual). Behind the scenes, Yoke mashes up its Facebook Graph data with data from Amazon, Netflix, and Echonest (which powers Spotify radio) to produce an ontology of interest entities for connecting users together. These three sources were chosen, Revesz says, because they’re the easiest to work with, the biggest and the best.

“We’re looking both for similarity information and ontology information,” he explains – that is, for example, how closely two movies might resemble each other, and what entities they might share in common, such as the same director or actors. So, if someone likes one particular movie, the ontology of interest entities can be used to show other people who like similar things.

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Smart Ad Sophistication Lacking in News Industry, To Its Peril

The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism State of the News Media 2012 report was just published, and among the findings is that efforts by most top news sites to monetize the web in their own right are still limited. Few news companies, it reports, “have made much progress in some key new digital areas. Among the top news websites, there is little use of the digital advertising that is expected to grow most rapidly, so-called “smart,” or targeted, advertising.”



Failing to make a lot more hay from digital ads is problematic for traditional news companies given the decline in print circulation and in its ad revenue, too. The report says that in 2011, losses in print advertising dollars outpaced gains in digital revenue by a factor of roughly 10 to 1, which it calls an even worse ratio than in 2010.

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Diffbot – Finding Meaning Visually

Diffbot logoWe sat down with Mike Tung, CEO of Diffbot to learn more about this innovative technology that takes a different approach to deriving meaning from web pages. What is Diffbot?
Mike Tung: Diffbot is a technology that allows software applications to interpret web pages the way human beings do–visually.  We offer an API to developers that lets them visually extract semantic information from web pages depending on the page type.  We’ve observed that the entire web can be classified into roughly 30 structural page types and have trained our visual extraction algorithm on two of those page types so far–frontpage and article pages.

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Calling All Coders! Web Mining Hack Day Scheduled for June 25!

Web Mining Hack Day is pleased to announce that we are sponsoring a Web Mining Hack Day, Saturday, June 25, 2011 in Palo Alto, California. More details below after the jump.

Hosted by AOL, and organized by Diffbot and StartX (the Stanford University incubator), the Hack Day promises to be a great opportunity for back-end coders and UI/UX design experts to get together with the goal of building exciting semantic applications. The organizers suggest that participants will be able to:

  1. Meet and network with other web mining experts, hackers, and students.
  2. Learn about new semantic technologies and open web APIs.
  3. See the new the AOL West Coast Headquarters, StartX, Stanford University’s startup accelerator.  Have some pizza on us.
  4. Hack on new ideas and show off your projects.

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AOL Takes On Movie Sentiment (And Justin Bieber Too?)

We reported a couple of months back about how AOL’s purchase of the Huffington Post delivered some more semantic technology to its doorstep. But that’s not the only semantically-related project underway there: Amit Moran, R&D Manager at the AOL Relegence team, is working on a movie sentiment ranking project using Twitter and other social media data. It should see the light of day in the near future on one of its properties.

“We are developing a general infrastructure for sentiment analysis that deals with finding out what people think of entities in a content stream,” Moran told attendees at the recent Sentiment Analysis Symposium in New York City. The use cases for sentiment analytics are wide – what do you think of a restaurant, or a politician, for that matter  – so domain specificity becomes important in its actual application. AOL went with movies as a first option – not a surprising choice given its ownership of sites like Moviefone.

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AOL’s Purchase of HuffPo Leaves Many Confused

In the wake of AOL’s purchase of the Huffington Post, bystanders have reacted with confusion. Stephen Colbert, for example, teased the $315 million purchase by creating The Colbuffington Re-Post and offering his site up for $316 million.

 A recent article comments, “In what current chatter has labeled a last and perhaps impotent attempt at salvation for AOL (see their marriage to Time Warner), it appears that this latest venture could yield some unexpected advantages.  HuffPo has been attracting record readership.”

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AOL Gets Some Semantics With Its Huffington Post Acquisition

What got a bit lost in the news about AOL’s purchase of the Huffington Post was that the deal also gets the Internet content provider some more semantic technology (the company’s past acquisitions include social/semantic matching Q-and-A platform Yedda, for example). In addition to The Huffington Post having been an early adopter of Thomson Reuters Open Calais semantic web service to identify and extract entities, facts and events for localized content initiatives, the site last year acquired Adaptive Semantics and its JuLiA platform for helping publishers discover the leaders in their social graph.

That acquisition now could bear fruit for AOL in influencing community engagement across a whole lot more web sites. AOL properties include community-specific sites such as the Patch network of localized news and events information, the DailyFinance business and investment news site, Autoblog, and many more.

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AOL buys 5min Media for rumored $65M – VatorNews

AOL buys 5min Media for rumored $65M
5min’s VideoSeed semantic technology contextually matches the company’s most relevant videos with a syndication partner site’s existing text content,
AOL Reportedly Buying Video Syndication Company 5min For $50 – $65 Million TechCrunch
AOL Acquires 5min Media, Web’s Largest Video Content Syndication Platform MarketWatch (press release)

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