AOL Looking for New Search Partner(s)
Aol. is still around folks. Back in June I heard CEO Tim Armstrong speak at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s content focused Innovation Days event. He was passionate about Aol. as a comeback story and was intent on focusing on how it would be generating a lot of custom content from real journalists. Honestly, I am not sure where that is at some 1 ½ months down the road but I’m sure Aol. will let us know of there is any success.
For now, though, there is a need to get their future search partners in order since the current $700 million a year deal with Google is set to expire in December. It appears as if Armstrong is looking to get creative which could mean more than one search partner for the company.
“Search is heating up from a multi-partner space—we are not talking to two companies,” said Armstrong while speaking at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference.
As he embarks on a turnaround that has yet to manifest, Armstrong is thinking long into the future. “What you do today is probably going to have a seven-year outcome,” he explained. When a new search deal is announced later in the year, AOL-watchers may not see Google, which currently supplies a large percentage of the company’s revenue, as its only partner.
Wow, Armstrong is certainly breaking the Internet mold by talking about seven-year outcomes. If something isn’t happening in seven weeks there will be more than a few folks getting antsy and wondering if Aol. is going to pull itself out of the Internet ditch or not.
Since Aol. is really banking on advertising that will be placed around their ‘in-house’ content production the conversation seems to always come around to Aol.’s technique in this area. Their SEED methodology which is usually bunched in with Yahoo’s Associated Content and Demand Media is another mass content production process from ‘writers’ that can submit material. It’s the editorial oversight of this material that has people worried that the Internet will be cluttered with keyword triggered ‘stories’ that may have little to do with accuracy or dependability.
It makes sense that if this technique were to drive more traffic to Aol. sites that a strong search partner or partners should be in place. Considering the cost of having Google do this in the past, Aol. is likely looking for some cost savings to try to see if any money will move to the bottom line in the near future.
Regardless of who ends up being Aol.’s search buddy, what are YOUR feelings about Aol. and it’s chances for the future? Is there any gas left in the Aol. tank or will the effort needed to ‘right the ship’ be for naught?
Feel free to give us your Aol. turnaround strategy. Maybe Tim Armstrong is looking for some user generated content in that area too.