Today in Social

When AOL reported its quarterly earnings, it showed that overall online advertising was up 6 percent, but that was driven primarily by Europe and AOL’s ad networks. Its own display ad business was flat, and it blamed a continuing sales force reorganization. It claimed its hyperlocal Patch business will hit $40-50 million this year. Earlier, Yahoo said its display ad business was up 1 percent. Microsoft said its online advertising business was up 8 percent due to search, while display was down slightly. Together, the big portals’ display ad revenues are either flat or down. Google is probably up, but it doesn’t break out display from search, and we’re all waiting for Facebook to report tomorrow. If it turns out that Google and Facebook are the only big guys up double digits, that presents a pretty gloomy picture of online brand advertising. Both companies mostly sell direct-marketing ads that qualify as remnant inventory for brand-name publishers. Would putting together some of these weak sisters help accelerate the business?