AOL has just reported its second quarter finances: Revenues of $531 million are down 2% on the same period in 2011, but which the firm notes to be AOL’s smallest slip in seven years. Net income was $970.8 million, largely driven by a pre-tax gain on “disposal of assets” of $945.8 million, which is essentially its patent sale to Microsoft. That’s a dramatic change from the $11.8 million loss the company managed in the same period last year–although it doesn’t paint a picture of an extraordinarily healthy AOL at all, because you can only sell the family jewels once, and a more representative income figure (without the patent sale) would be around $25 million in profit.
More promising is the fact AOL reports its global advertising revenues were up 6%, the fifth consecutive quarter of year-on-year growth. Part of that positive figure is attributed to “the lowest rate of search and contextual revenue decline in over three years of 1%, driven primarily by continued double-digit growth in search revenue on AOL.com.” Which is AOL saying that though its overall search engine-driven incomes are declining, they’re doing so much more slowly.