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AOL Acquires Affiliate Marketing Network Buy.at

Regardless of what Time Warner has planned for it down the road, AOL continues to make acquisitions… the latest is UK-based affiliate marketing network Buy.at. The acquisition will be used to bring a performance-based component to AOL’s Platform-A advertising offering. Basically, Buy.at, which is backed by DFJ Esprit, offers a pay-per-action alternative to traditional impression or click-based ad campaigns. Ticketmaster and Swarovski are among the advertisers in its network. Recently, the company has introduced new offerings specifically aimed at marketing content and marketing on social networks. The corporate name of the company is Perfiliate Technologies; it has 70 employees in the UK and NYC. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Release.

The deal comes a day after AOL announced the acquisition of widget firm Goowy Media.

David adds: The acquisition of Buy.at represents a shift in AOL’s construction of its Platform-A ad unit. An AOL rep told me that the company’s four other acquisitions over the past year – contextual ad firm Quigo, behavioral marketer Tacoda, mobile ad network Third Screen Media, and German ad net AdTech AG – have tended to concentrate on the ad serving aspect on online advertising. But Buy.at offers a more direct relationship to retailers and their e-commerce promotions.

Update: The focus on sales solutions is not new to AOL (NYSE: TWX). A little more than a year ago, AOL bid $900 million for Sweden’s TradeDoubler, which offered performance-based marketing tools. But one intransigent shareholder refused to budge, feeling that AOL’s offer was not high enough and by March, the Time Warner company walked away.

I spoke with Lynda Clarizio, president of Platform-A’s Advertising.com unit, who said that the one missing piece in AOL’s array of online ad services has been affiliate marketing, an e-commerce platform where online merchants sell their product through third party sites. “We would like to go to our ad base and offer them the broadest set of e-commerce services that we can. The acquisition of Buy.at allows us to do that.” She expects AOL to begin rolling out some products of its own in the affiliate marketing/e-commerce area, as well as continuing to explore other purchases.

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