Since its 2001 acquisition of Time Warner, AOL has struggled to maintain its brand on the Internet with the rise of first Yahoo and then Google. Now the company has a new strategy to get their traffic numbers up: build more sites.
AOL plans to launch at least a dozen new sites in the next six months according to Bloomberg. While no specifics were given as to the content of these sites, one could assume they will follow the trend of the Asylum and Spinner sites AOL launched last year for men’s lifestyle and music respectively.
The important point here, of course, is advertising. More sites mean more pageviews — which means more prospective eyeballs for advertisers to reach.
While certainly there is a logic to that strategy, it’s hard to feel excited about a company that hopes to succeed simply by putting more of its product on the web rather than focusing on improving the sites they already have. It’s the old quantity versus quality argument.
Still, in a world where AOL has slipped to fourth in visitors per month behind Yahoo, Google and Microsoft in January according to comScore, they must do something to try and stem the tide. As recently as March of 2006, AOL was in 2nd place among U.S. web properties, trailing only Yahoo while besting Microsoft and being far ahead of Google.
This latest strategic push could determine the fate of AOL. Pressure has been mounting for Time Warner to spin off the company into its own brand once more. Then of course there are the merger rumors with Yahoo to consider (our coverage).