Advertising.com, an online advertising firm, is looking to hire again at its Baltimore headquarters after launching a major new product and as it recovers from a downsizing last winter instituted by its corporate parent, AOL Inc.
The company expects to hire as many as 35 people this year, mainly in technology, global business operations, and advertising products and operations, executives said. The company, based in the Tide Point office complex in Locust Point, now has about 200 employees in Baltimore.
What's spurring the new hiring is Advertising.com's introduction of a new software service in April called Ad Desk, a type of online dashboard that analyzes how its clients' advertising campaigns are performing across AOL's ad network.
"The work we do now is vastly different than what we did even a year ago," said Don Kennedy, senior vice president of network sales at Advertising.com. "This industry changes so quickly."
The recent hiring comes after AOL spun off from Time Warner Inc. last fall and AOL's chief executive, Tim Armstrong, set a new course for the company that involved a deep restructuring of its businesses and operations. One-third — or about 2,300 — of AOL's global workforce was cut in December and January through a combination of buyouts and layoffs.
Armstrong is trying to reshape AOL from a company that relies on a dwindling dial-up Internet service business into a a media-producing and advertising-generating powerhouse. In addition to hiring at Advertising.com, AOL is also recruiting journalists in Maryland for Patch.com, a hyper-local news service that's expanding in several states.
AOL and Advertising.com officials declined to release a specific job reduction number for Baltimore this winter, though officials said at the time the layoffs would not trigger a federal requirement that employers provide notice of layoffs of more than 50 people.
Six months later, executives decided they needed to increase staffing levels to continue to develop new products.
Advertising.com was founded in Baltimore in the late 1990s by two brothers, Scott and John Ferber, and sold in 2004 to AOL Time Warner for $435 million. Its main business involves quickly selling and placing online advertising units on thousands of websites daily.
In the first quarter this year, Advertising.com's revenues were $108 million, a 17 percent decline from $130 million in the same quarter a year earlier — a drop mostly due to AOL pulling operations out of several foreign countries, according to a financial filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.