has announced that it has acquired Sphere Source Inc., a provider of contextual-search tools that offers relevant content to publishers. Sphere’s third-party network includes more than 50,000 content publishers and blogs and is live on an average of more than 2 billion article pages across the web every month, according to AOL.
Sphere, located in San Francisco, was founded in 2005 by Tony Conrad, Martin Remy, Steve Nieker and Toni Schneider. Its search technology is designed to allow Web publishers to link to blog posts, articles, videos and other types of content as a means for those publishers to enhance their Web pages and drive page viewing. Sphere’s widget technology is currently offered on AOL News and to myAOL service users.
Sphere will continue its operations as a wholly-owned subsidiary of AOL as part of the company’s Programming division, which is led by Executive Vice President Bill Wilson. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, and there were no details as to a proposed date for the deal to close.
According to Ron Grant, President and COO of AOL, “Our focus at AOL is providing consumers relevant content wherever they are on the Web, and Sphere’s capabilities fit in perfectly with this effort. Not only will it let us enhance content on our own sites, it will let us distribute our content across Sphere’s growing third-party publisher network. In addition, this acquisition provides AOL with access to advertising inventory across Sphere’s network, while growing its reach to content publishers via the widget.”
Sphere’s CEO was equally jubilant: "We are delighted to be joining AOL,” said Tony Conrad. “AOL’s vast properties and platforms offer us the opportunity to reach publishing and news environments across the Web. We think it's a huge advantage to become part of a suite of services that understands how Internet users access/consume content, and how to intelligently monetize in tandem with that content. This is a win-win for our partners, AOL and Sphere."
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