AOL Buys Userplane to Boost Ad Technology for IM

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Time Warner Inc.'s AOL LLC acquired social networking software company Userplane a few months after buying online advertising companies Lightningcast Inc. and Truveo Inc.

The agreement with Totekasche Holdings Inc., signed July 28, links AOL with Userplane's 100,000 current license partners - Web sites and online communities such as MySpace.com, Date.com, IGN, Red Bull and Marvel Comics.

Terms were not disclosed.

The deal aims to integrate the network of 83 million AOL, AIM and ICQ users with Userplane's ad-targeting technology and user base of 18 to 35 year olds.

Userplane will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL. Its 12 employees will remain based in the Los Angeles area.

The acquired brand at userplane offers its users Web-based chat and instant messaging that can be either fee-based, free with targeted ads served or a model that allows licensed clients to place ad inventory on their sites and share profits.

AOL, Dulles, VA, has been growing its instant messaging communities and now supports voice, video and collaboration services as well as standard text.

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