Verizon bought Engadget's parent company AOL for its ad tech, that much we knew. And the man behind that deal was none other than AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong, who The Wall Street Journal reports has an eye on building the company into a massive mobile ad empire. By 2020 Armstrong aims for AOL to jump from its current 700 million users to two billion, and generate between $10 billion and $20 billion in revenue. With that, Armstrong says AOL will be the top global media company.
To hit that goal Armstrong will use a few different tactics, starting with a bid for Yahoo according to WSJ's sources. If it goes through, current chief Marissa Mayer could be without a job, but AOL would gain the firm's billion monthly users -- not far to go to hit two billion after that. The other bit in this empire business will involve advertising based on AOL's internal data sets.
Apparently Armstrong was taking meetings during CES with a plethora of ad companies, describing a hypothetical situation where a hotel chain would grant Verizon access to a database of its frequent visitors. Basically this would be a homegrown version of a direct marketing database, leveraging AOL's customer profiles. That sort of thing won't be feasible until later this year, from the sounds of it, but a pilot group of advertisers currently have access.