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AOL CEO Tim Armstrong has a big goal for his newly-independent company: revitalize AOL by turning it into a bona fide content company.
A big part of his plan is Seed.com, AOL's recently-launched content platform. Seed.com essentially employs the same model as Demand Media, which relies on freelance writers and editors to create SEO-friendly content on a mass scale.
The CEO of newly-independent AOL, Tim Armstrong, knows that AOL's future is not its past. But that doesn't mean AOL can't recapture some of the glimmer it's lost over the years.
In an effort to accomplish that, Armstrong is changing AOL's its focus by, well, getting focused.
AOL's new CEO Tim Armstrong has been quickly buying up talent and increasing AOL's media properties in the lead up to the company's tkt from parent Time Warner later this year.
At the Roosevelt hotel in New York today, Armstrong went into AOL's continuing strategy.
AOL's CEO announced that online content can be "much better."
"That's why we are making such a big bet there," he said during a keynote appearance at the annual Media and Money conference, hosted by Nielsen and Dow Jones.
It's true that content online has a long way to go. But is AOL the one to make it happen?
Display advertising may not have the reliable click-through rates of search, but after months of economic weakness and public disparaging, numerous online companies have been ratcheting up their display ad businesses. And it may be a bit early to say definitively, but it's starting to look like display is making comeback.
AOL's new CEO Tim Armstrong has spent the past few months reorganizing the company and snatching up unemployed journalists. Under the former Google exec, AOL has gotten more headlines for its publishing business than its advertising platform, and according to Armstrong that should continue.
Speaking at the IAB MIXX conference in New York Monday, Armstrong laid out his plans: AOL wants to be the Disney of the digital era.
AOL may have a copyright on advertising online. Or at least using the word "advertise" in a URL. The company has filed a lawsuit against the website Advertise.com for infringing on AOL's rights to the names Advertising.com and Ad.com.
There are many tactics used to drive a website up in the search rankings and they all have benefits with the various search engines.
But each of these engines uses a different algorithm to determine which pages should rank highly, so how can you impress each of them?
AOL may not have been a profitable business for Time Warner, but the internet service provider is finding a new revenue stream in the publishing business.
Time Warner famously merged with AOL in a 2000 deal valued at over $100 billion. By 2002, the companies posted a loss of $100 billion. Low advertising revenue and incompatible business goals made AOL a loss leader for Time Warner. The companies announced that they would go separate ways this spring. And while AOL wasn't able to bring in enough advertising revenue for its parent company, the portal is now looking to grow revenues by increasing its staff of writers and creating more content.
Essentially, AOL is trying to make a place for itself in the wreckage of traditional media. Their new strategy involves hiring established writers, plugging them into verticals attractive to advertisers and sending the company's impressive traffic numbers to the new sites.
Awesome domain name? Check. A content guy at the helm? Check. A solid strategy? Very questionable.
That's AOL's new Love.com for you.
The mobile ad platform is fragmented, lacks customer data, and needs standards. That's some of the thinking produced by the blogosphere and recent conferences. Whether mobile marketing is really in such disarray is debatable. It has, after all, attracted most major brands and will rate its own category in the next round of IAB quarterly measurements. But for the "broken" side of the mobile debate, two developments may address some concerns.
Both are technology driven, which is important as mobile finds its legs with advertisers. The first announcement: AOL and Platform-A will make a "device-agnostic" rich media mobile ad format available through Third Screen Media, Platform-A's mobile ad-serving platform and network. That means rich media can run on iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Palm and Symbian handsets. It's a clear indication that AOL will make rich media ads a priority and make them easy to buy. One complaint from the "broken" side of the debate is that marketers have to choose one device over another for campaign creation and planning. If the AOL solution works, that argument is a long way toward over.
Hit "reset" and forget everything you've read about Tim Armstrong leaving Google for AOL. Take a leap of faith and believe he was not brought in to take the company public on its own, or paint this house and then sell it to another media company. Armstrong at AOL makes sense on many levels. From TimeWarner CEO Jeff Bewkes' point of view, this is a logical hire to keep AOL within the company and connect its fate to TimeWarner's myriad content brands.
Bewkes has been through a few top dogs at AOL. One, Jon Miller, came in with a very impressive resume on the ecommerce and entertainment content lines. His strategy did not drive revenue. Now Bewkes is looking at a company that has media assets occupying very different stages of their lifecycles. Movies and cable are still prime. One of the most troubling assets is a huge stack of print magazines of varying profitability and viability. Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly, and even the flagship Time have had a tough time maintaining readership and revenue. Readers have moved online, but TW has cut too many deals to make the internet a value-add for print sales. Revenue migration has lagged.
AOL has seen better days. It has never been able to replicate its high-flying act of the 1990s and under Time Warner, at times it seems to have barely managed to stay above ground.
It was time for a change and yesterday it got one as soon-to-be-former Google Senior Vice President Tim Armstrong was named chairman and CEO of AOL.