Internet media company AOL is introducing Marketplace by Adtech, a sell-side platform (SSP) aimed at premium AOL advertisers and publishers.

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AOL Takes On Google, Adobe

Marketplace by Adtech is designed to be a full-service solution enabling advertisers and publishers to leverage the Adtech cross-platform ad-serving platform for activities such as managing blocks and transparency settings regardless of inventory level, obtaining high-touch client service and disposing of non-reserved demand. The solution also offers layered insights into ad yield and performance and can be used either on a stand-alone basis or as an integrated feature of the Adtech platform.

According to paidContent, Marketplace by Adtech will compete with similar offerings from Google and Adobe and “is intended to provide publishers with an alternative to using multiple companies to carry out the process of selling and serving digital advertisements.” A paidContent article about the new solution quotes AOL executives as saying ad publishers will be able to keep 80 cents out of every ad dollar they receive, instead of the normal 50 cents, and that to this point the “lion’s share of ad tech innovation has occurred on the buyer’s side.”

In addition, paidContent offers the analysis that the ad tech offerings “are also part of (AOL CEO Tim Armstrong’s) efforts to refashion AOL into a company that no longer has to rely on its legacy dial-up Internet subscriptions.”

Capitalizing on HuffPo Popularity

It is interesting that AOL is rolling out a whole new platform aimed at advertisers and publishers now that the very popular Huffington Post online media property has been fully brought into the AOL fold. AOL purchased the Huffington Post from its founder Arianna Huffington (who remains an executive with the company) in a US$ 300 million plus US$ 15 million stock deal in February 2011.

As reported by CMSWire, Huffington Post “join(ed) the likes of EnGadget and TechCrunch as highly-visible web properties under the AOL umbrella as the company aims to position its services as a next-generation media company. The deal brings a far wider range of readers to AOL than the likes of those tech mags that bring millions of geeks and their fast-clicking fingers, who are probably less likely to click adverts and interact in ways that more casual visitors might.”

Despite the continuing popularity of Huffington Post, AOL is still struggling to reclaim its position as a leading Internet media brand that it held in the late 1990s but lost in the early 2000s and never recovered. Making it easier for advertisers and publishers to sell excess ad inventory with high margins is a good step, but AOL must ensure it has the content to draw the eyeballs those advertisers and publishers desire.