AOL is to launch at least 12 new sites in the next six months, and between 20 and 30 new sites by the end of the year.
Bill Wilson, AOL Executive Vice President of Programming told Bloomberg that AOL wants “to be sure we are appealing to as many consumers as we can.” Ultimately it’s all about numbers; more web properties should equal more traffic and more advertising revenue.
Erick has asked twice when AOL is going to be spun off in what he calls an “advertising IPO.” The continued mass rollout of new sites, combined with the spinoff of AOL’s dying dialup business, would suggest that the company is beefing itself up for that very purpose.
MG Siegler at VentureBeat does ask an important question though: is this a strategy of quantity over quality?
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.
AOL sites still sit in a fairly healthy fourth place behind Google, Yahoo and Microsoft; if improving their lot means going wide and niche to draw more people to AOL in an endeavor to sell more ads, it has the potential of working.