ADOTAS – AOL has unveiled a new homepage that will let consumers access several multiple social networking services, the company said today. This makes AOL.com the first major portal to offer direct access to social sites (last month it started providing access to several email services on its homepage).
The new social networking feature allows consumers to post status updates to multiple social networks at once, and provides profile activity information, including new friend requests, status updates and mail notifications from services such as AIM, Bebo, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and other third-party sites.
“As the Web becomes more fragmented, consumers want choice and relevance in their Web experiences. AOL.com is the first traditional big portal to offer access to popular social networking sites all in one place,” said Bill Wilson, Executive Vice President, AOL Programming. “Now consumers can connect with their numerous networks and information sources all from AOL.com. We have already seen success by opening up AOL.com to other e-mail providers. We will continue to enhance the appeal of our portal with the changes we are making today by adding more relevant programming, customization opportunities, greater integration of third party content, improved design and access to social networks directly from AOL.com.”
Advertisers will benefit too. AOL’s digital ad arm, Platform A, will offer new capabilities, including customized wallpapers, increased rich media capabilities, much deeper and richer content integration opportunities and more. For example, a recent one-day advertisement for a new DVD provided a chance for the advertiser to own the AOL.com homepage wallpaper for the day to reach consumers in a highly customizable and measurable way.
It looks like AOL’s bid to boost its profile is working. In September, when AOL began allowing consumers access to Yahoo!, Gmail and Hotmail accounts, year-over-year page views to AOL.com grew 34%, unique visitors were up 12%, total visits were up 15% and total minutes were up 40%, according to the September 2008 comScore Media Metrix report.