AOL's Latest Revival Scheme Sounds Awful

Chasing search terms is a bad way to produce content
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2009 12:01 PM CST
The new AOL ? sorry "Aol." ? logo.

(Newser) – AOL’s latest brilliant plan is to reinvent itself as an imitation of what Farhad Manjoo considers possibly the worst website in the world. New CEO Tim Armstrong recently unveiled his plan to make AOL a premier provider of “content.” It’ll have a computer scan search results for popular topics, then pay freelancers next to nothing to produce something related. If that business model sounds familiar, it’s because it’s similar to that of Associated Content (a company in which Armstrong is said to be an investor), notes Manjoo on Slate.

That’s bad news because Manjoo finds AC “a wasteland of bad writing, uninformed commentary, and the sort of comically dull recitation of the news you’d get from a second-grader.” Its stories are so loaded with keywords that they sound like bad translations. AC currently gets lots of traffic, and maybe AOL can improve on its model, but don't bet on it. This is the same company that just rebranded itself “Aol”—apparently unaware that it “sounds a lot like a-hole without the h.”

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