AOL Time Warner said its beleaguered America Online unit will pull most advertising off its Web service in deference to the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The company, which earlier had indicated it would pull all ads, later said some ads would have to remain in place for a variety of logistical reasons.
The one-day ad blackout could cost the world's biggest media company millions in lost ad revenue. AOL, which claims 35 million members for its online service, is already beset by slumping ad sales and slowing growth -- in addition to investigations by the Securities & Exchange Commission and the U.S. Justice Department into allegedly improper accounting practices.
"As part of an AOL Time Warner corporate-wide initiative, all commercial ad banners will be pulled from AOL, the Web properties and the Time Warner interactive brands," AOL said in a statement. The company will instead run "commemorative banners" from 5 a.m. Sept. 11 until 5 a.m. the next day "as a sign of respect to all affected by last September's events."
The banners will link to dedicated Sept. 11 programming on AOL. The Time Warner online sites, along with portals Netscape and CompuServe, will feature banners linking to Network for Good, a coalition helping non-profit organizations advance their mission via the Web.
AOL said that ad sales account teams will work closely with advertisers to make whatever adjustments are necessary to make up the loss of ad time.