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Resource ID: #19844
An investigation by the Washington Post revealed that America Online "was using a series of unconventional transactions to sustain the appearance of breakneck growth in ad revenue" -- even after the Internet boom subsided and it merged with Time Warner. " Time Warner executives were "mesmerized by the hundreds of millions of dollars in online advertising pouring into AOL ... (and) even when the bubble popped and dot-coms collapsed, AOL continued to report record-breaking growth in ad revenue, reinforcing its image as the medium of the future and overwhelming any second thoughts from Time Warner shareholders and employees." What Time Warner didn't know was that, "among other things, AOL turned legal disputes into ad deals, converted long-term contracts into one-time balloon payments, shifted revenue from one division to another, bartered ads for computer equipment and sold ads on behalf of eBay while booking all the sales as its own... (The) stories immediately prompted two federal investigations of AOL Time Warner."