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AOL is a web-services company, providing premium and niche content sites, tools, and platforms.
SO let me get this straight. Ad Revenue tanking, unique visitors falling, investors bailing - how about we......hire huffington and put her in charge of content. WHAT?! I almost fell out of my chair when I read this. "Far from changing our editorial approach, our culture, or our mission, this moment will be for HuffPost like stepping off a fast-moving train and onto a supersonic jet. We're still traveling toward the same destination, with the same people at the wheel, and with the same goals, but we're now going to get there much, much faster."Sounds great - I think AOL investors will be reading this in about 18 months saying, damn - looks like she was right, we sure did get there faster. Its too bad the final destination is total disaster.
You're either totally right or dead wrong. Seems to me there will be little in-between on this one. Huffington has an impressive record of success, with that elusive, intangible ability to influence people. If one believes AOL management knows how to run the business, but is lousy at innovation, then it might be plausible Huffington could help them. We're talking social media after all.......logic may fail you when sizing up their chances. My logic told me that reality TV wouldn't live long when The Real World came out....that was the early 1990's.....yeah, guess what? still going strong.
Social Media will continue to grow in popularity and take market share away from traditional sources (newpapers, etc.), I think that most would agree with you on that. The only thing is -and the reason I think AOL has made a huge mistake - people (most) do not want to read their news through a biased POV. Ya, HP has something like 20mm unique visitors/month - of course there is (and always will be) that segment that enjoys reading news that confirms their POV - the question is how big is that segment that enjoys biased new (left-leaning) and how fast is that segment growing? I think that segment has its core followers who will always be followers, but I am not sure that overall it is growing very fast. Look at MSNBC ratings..... Huffington is not going to become "mainstream" and I am not so sure that 100% of AOL users are going to stick around once the content begins to change. I think a majority of HP users will switch over and visit AOL's website - though not 100% of them. So who is going to fill that gap? I just don't see this working out very well.
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