Just because AOL
News blog Fusible unearthed some interesting moves at the dot-com giant lately. It acquired the nvibe.com domain last week and has gone on to file trademark registrations covering a gamut of nvibe-branded possibilities including social networking services.
We can't jump to conclusions here.
It's way too easy to assume that AOL will be launching a run-of-the-mill Facebook-like website on its new domain. It would then be even easier to criticize AOL for overpaying for Bebo and practically giving it away a couple of years later when it could have just rebranded it. AOL is smarter than that, and this may be one of the many plans that never see the light of day.
AOL can use the spark. It posted an unexpected loss on an 8% decline in revenue in its latest quarter. The silver lining in the otherwise poorly received report was that the company posted its first year-over-year increase in global advertising in three years.
Social networking has been a tough nut to monetize, but any success would be incremental to its available inventory of ad space to sell.
This doesn't mean that there isn't growth to be had in the niche. It's not just Facebook or LinkedIn either. China's Renren
Let's see what AOL does with nvibe -- if it does anything at all.
If you want to see if AOL's efforts bear fruit, add AOL to My Watchlist.