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AOL vs Yahoo–Again



AOL logoIt’s been a long time doming, but now it’s officially, truly, official: AOL is part of Time Warner no more. (Technically, actually, AOL bought Time Warner—isn’t that weird?—and now they’re the ones being spun off.) And with its newly-single status, AOL is eyeing every woman in the room—especially old flame Yahoo.

They were flirting (or at least rumors have been flying) heavily last year, with reports resurfacing periodically. But now the love has turned to rivalry, with AOL and Yahoo both focusing on their Internet display advertising businesses.

AOL is also looking to take on other Internet behemoths like Citysearch, Yelp and Google in a local effort:

The initiative — which he characterized as “digitizing towns” — will grow to 100 municipalities in 2010, [AOL CEO and ex-Googler Tim] Armstrong said. Providing a turn-key platform where schools, government departments, local businesses, and classified listings firms can create or update Web sites will be at the heart of the effort.

AOL is also focusing on an API-intensive ad platform to allow users to interface directly with their data. That’s cool.

But the heart of their plan is their content. AOL will be heavily focusing its advertising sales upon its own properties, where 80% of the content is original. Yahoo, by contrast, has about 20% original content.

What do you think? Can AOL be turned around, or is it too late?