Articles of the Day


EarthLink To Aggressively Pursue AOL Dial-Up Merger; Other M&A Hopes — EarthLink, which earlier today reported its Q2 earnings, said that it wants to facilitate consolidation in the dial-up ISP space, including going after AOL’s dial-up business, which parent Time Warner has already said it is looking to sell off. CEO Rolla Huff: “We believe we’re best-positioned to be the consolidator in this industry…When an industry reaches a point of maturation and growth stops, it simply makes good economic sense to consolidate into one cost platform.” In a separate interview with WSJ, Huff expanded on this: he said merging the two would create cost savings and better service, benefiting customers as well as shareholders of both companies. “We think it’s worth aggressively pursuing,” he said.

ESPN To Launch Online Action Sports Network; Morphing EXPN Into It — Right on cue around the X Games, ESPN has announced plans to launch an online action sports network, imaginatively called ESPN Action Sports Network. The online channel, slated for a fall launch, will have a slew of sites, each focused on action sports such as surfing, skateboarding, motocross and snowboarding. This will expand on its X Games franchise that it created more than a decade ago. The network also developed the EXPN.com website about a year ago to start offering daily content of different extreme sports, but that will now become ESPN Action Sports Network, the company says.

Marchex Relaunches Local Ad Platform — Local online advertising company Marchex today will relaunch its local ad platform with the integration of its online and call-based ad services. “We fundamentally believe that phone calls are the currency that local businesses operate under,” said Leigh McMillan, SVP of marketing and communications at Marchex. Marchex Connect 2.0 represents the proverbial fruit from the company’s acquisition of call-based ad unit VoiceStar last year for $28 million. That deal also added more than 100 local advertiser aggregators including Comcast, The Cobalt Group, R.H. Donnelley/Dex, and YellowBook USA to Marchex’s roster of partners.

Collective Media Launches Video Ad Network — Online ad network and technology provider Collective Media is launching its own video ad network. The network, supported by Collective’s proprietary AMP platform, provides advertisers with video content from publishers within the Collective Network, along with a suite of in-stream ad units, including pre-roll and overlay video formats.

Google Working On a Formal VC Arm — Google has done a number of strategic investments over the years, and usually big amounts in big-issue-tackling companies, like powerline internet, WiMax, and others. It even has a non-profit Google.org foundation to invest in global challenges. Now it wants to start a formal venture capital arm, a la Intel Capital, Time Warner investment, Steamboat (Disney’s (NYSE: DIS) venture arm) or BlueRun Ventures (formerly part of Nokia), reports WSJ, citing sources. The group will be lead by David Drummond, Google’s SVP of corp dev, chief legal officer, and it has also hired William Maris, a 33-year-old former entrepreneur who has worked as an investor, to help set up the venture.

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