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Was It All a Joke at AOL?

SEC Probing More AOL Advertising Deals [TechNews.com]. The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating “millions of dollars of advertising deals” involving America Online that “go significantly beyond the scope of problems already disclosed” by AOL Time Warner Inc., sources familiar with the probe said yesterday. What this suggests is that even during the “bubble” years, AOL’s earnings were overstated by realizing revenue on Enron-like deals. They fooled a lot of folks into investing, particularly after the Time Warner merger. As the epitome of the “new economy,” AOL’s continuing accounting irregularities only underscore that there was not much real value to the “value propositions” these Internet-centric companies touted.

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