Ad Age has an interesting article plumbing the reasons why MSN wants to buy in to AOL. The Strategy Driving MSN’s AOL Buy-In Quest.
In sum, the combination would top Google’s traffic numbers and potentially deprive it of 11% of its revenue. (I didn’t know that AOL is probably Google’s largest AdSense client. and that AOL gets 11% of AOL’s revenues comes from its AdSense ads.)
According to Nielsen/NetRatings, AOL and MSN had an unduplicated audience of 120 million in August, well above Yahooís 100 million and Googleís 80 million.
If AOL and MSN entered a partnership in which MSN powered AOL’s search engine, and AOL dumped Google, that would give MSN access to a heavy stream of AOL traffic — 75 million unique visitors, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.
Another benefit: MSN does not have a video search product, AOL does – Singing Fish. Video search is critical for the next generation of advertising. And another: AOL with its Time-Warner relationships can also deliver a lot of rich content to MSN.
AOL needs money. MSN needs to battle Google. Becoming partners makes sense.