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AOL Ad Revenue Falls 20%

Ad revenue at AOL fell a "startling" 20% in the first quarter, notes Silicon Alley Insider's Henry Blodget, although operating profit of $255 million was "impressive considering the wrenching changes AOL has gone through in the past five years." Blodget added that it's especially impressive considering how much money Microsoft is still losing in its Internet division. Even so, $255 million is only about half of what AOL was earning a few years ago.

Of course, the advertising collapse is most of the reason why former President Randy Falco and COO Ron Grant were replaced by new Chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong. "Their third-party ad network strategy was a disaster," says Blodget.

Separately, Time Warner is now segregating AOL on its earnings release, presumably in preparation for a spinoff. It now shows earnings results for the "Content Group" and "AOL," which Blodget says "is presumably shorthand for 'The Businesses We Want You To Focus On' and 'The Business We Wish We'd Never Heard Of.' AOL folks, meanwhile, presumably can't wait to be free."

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