The Business Insider earlier today obtained a 58-slide document detailing Aol’s content business plan, and the result has been a distinct bout of queasiness among journalists and media pundits.
“The Aol Way” reveals the company’s desire that its consumer-facing websites be able to compete with rival sites without the considerable traffic subsidy offered by links from Aol’s homepage. It also provides a hard-nosed look at what kind of traffic a given story would have to do given its production costs. Taken to its logical extreme, the manifesto reads like the Demand Media model, only even more aggressively dumb and cheap.
TheNextWeb asks, “Is Aol Destroying Journalism for Pageviews?” Mark Coatney of Tumblr wonders what kind of premium content can be bought for $250. And inquiring minds want to know: What does Aol-owned TechCrunch, which is prone to assert its independence, have to say about the memo? So far, mum’s the word in the house of Arrington.
mtaylor [at] observer.com | @mbrookstaylor