AOL acquires TechCrunch sites: It's all about advertising

AOL announced Tuesday that it will be acquiring popular blog TechCrunch and all of its subsidiary sites, which includes MobileCruch, CrunchGear, TechCrunchIT, GreenTech, TechCrunchTV, and Crunchbase. The sites will be incorporated into AOL's Technology Network of publications.

AOL's Technology Network already includes the blogs Engadget, Switched, The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW,) and DownloadSquad. The inclusion of TechCrunch and its related sites will make AOL the owner of two of the most popular tech blogs according to news aggregator Techmeme.

"Michael and his colleagues have made the TechCrunch network a byword for breaking tech news and insight into the innovative world of start-ups, and their reputation for top-class journalism precisely matches AOL's commitment to delivering the expert content critical to this audience," said Tim Armstrong, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AOL. "TechCrunch and its team will be an outstanding addition to the high-quality content on the AOL Technology Network, which is now a must-buy for advertisers seeking to associate their brands with leading technology content and its audience."

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed today.

This buy is another sign of AOL's big change into a company driven by advertising and ad-monetized content. Since its spinoff from Time Warner Inc. in 2009, AOL has been streamlining its business by shedding old properties such as ICQ and and acquiring new properties such as Israeli video startup 5Min Media, and now TechCrunch Inc.

These two acquisitions come just days after AOL launched its "Project Devil" advertising format which CEO Tim Armstrong said "addresses the traditional limitations of online advertising head-on to create ads that look better and work better for agencies and advertisers."

The new ad format offers a single large ad space per page, which is segmented into interactive panels, allowing advertisers to customize it with video, slideshows, mapping, 3D rotation, quizzes, polls, text messaging and more.

AOL will roll out the new display advertising panels on two of its sites this week: Moviefone and StyleList, and said that the new ads will roll out across other AOL sites. With the two most popular tech blogs in its roster of sites, AOL now has a significant chunk of the technologically inclined audience at its disposal to ply with these new advertisements.

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