Less than a week after sweeping layoffs, AOL just made a gigantic acquisition: a video ad service called Adap.tv. If the company is ever going to save itself, it's going to be because of a move like this.

There's a hell of a lot of money to be made in selling precisely targeted online advertisements—particularly ones that move and have sound. AOL knows that local news blurbs from Patch aren't their future. Helping other companies sell things will be their future—ergo shelling out substantially more money for Adap.tv than AOL paid for The Huffington Post in its entirety, as The Atlantic Wire points out.

What do AOL and Yahoo! have in common? They're both gliding on their legacy, both in trouble, both throwing down a lot of cash, and both expecting to avoid the landfill of tech history by looking like a company on Madison Avenue, not one in Menlo Park.