John Furrier posted "AOL needs new products and a modern vibe…" but I disagree.
AOL that’s the company that sends the Shiny coasters in the mail… I don’t have kids so I let my cat play with them… I think they make an instant messenger too. That’s quaint.
Maybe they could convince someone that they are half as good as Yahoo and get purchased for 1/4th of what ever Yahoo turned down. That’d be twice what they are worth.
AOL doesn’t need new products they need to stop having identity issues, they need to kill 90% of their ad sales team and buddy up to MSFT’s PubCenter so that they can get on Microsoft’s radar enough that they have an exit strategy.
AOL can’t keep destroying the content companies they buy, they need to focus on being a news and editorial company and being VERY good at the SEO, SOCIAL, and CONTENT games that they more or less invented.
"Keyword" is a term that AOL put in the vocabulary of housewives and marketers alike. The content and pages AOL are building now are so "un-keyword" friendly they might as well not exists.
Social? How dumb is a company that buys a company that makes its money on volunteer writers and then is surprised when those writers don’t want to slave for a huge company. That pretty much sums up the anti-social behavior AOL has.
Content? SNL pretty much summed up Huffington’s role in content at her own company, put her over Michael and then wonder why the quality and traffic of the Tech Crunch site goes down.
No. New is the least of AOL’s problem. If you buy new toys and the first thing you do is smash them in to each other when one breaks the solution is not to buy more, it is to change the behavior of the people managing them. AOL’s failing is it doesn’t remember its roots. It forgot the lessons that it taught the internet, and it has the attention span of a 3 year old. AOL needs to Stop thinking it is a VC, or a Start Up, and instead look at itself as "Old Media" and focus on creating Good content for the long tail. Optimizing for SEO, and Embracing a Social code of conduct that encourages users to come, stay, and feel good about helping AOL grow. You know the things AOL did 15 years ago.
Here is the link John was speaking of Permanent Revolution at AOL: Six Months, 50% Turnover – Forbes