AOL today announced that it has acquired Sphere Source, Inc., a
leading provider of contextual-search tools which offers related
content to publishers. Sphere will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary
of AOL as part of the company’s Programming division, which is led by
Executive Vice President Bill Wilson.
Founded in 2005 and based in San Francisco, Sphere uses its
contextual-search platform technology to make connections between
content from blogs, video, media, photos and advertisements. These
contextual results are then displayed in a pop-over window or an
integrated widget that lets publishers enhance articles by
incorporating related articles and blog posts from archived content and
across the Web.
Prior to the acquisition, AOL partnered with Sphere to offer its widget technology on AOL News, http://news.aol.com, and the myAOL service, Mgnet, http://mgnet.aol.com.
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.*
“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,” said Ron Grant, President and COO of
AOL. “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.”
“We are delighted to be joining AOL,” said Tony Conrad, CEO of
Sphere. “AOL’s vast properties and platforms offer us the opportunity
to reach publishing and news environments across the Web.”
Sphere was founded by Tony Conrad, Martin Remy, Steve Nieker and Toni Schneider. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.