AOL is closing the doors on nearly half of the 70 niche sites they maintain under the parent company umbrella. The news hit the web after a memo went out to the staff about the reorganization and though it’s bad news for employees, it’s good news for the AOL brand.
The graphic at the right is only a portion of the sites currently being operated by AOL and that’s before the acquisition of the Huffington Post. There was already quite a bit of redundancy across the sites, so streamlining only makes sense from both a financial and a brand standpoint. AOL Jobs. AOL Health. Fine. But FleaFlicker? ShelterPop? UserPlane? Oh, wait, those are the sites that are staying. The ones that are going away? According to Forbes, they include well-known TV news site TV Squad which will be rolled into the generic AOL TV. Financial site WalletPop will become part of Daily Finance, Politics Daily will roll into Huffington Post Politics.
Other sites on the chopping block include DIY Life, AOL Small Business, Game Daily, Holidash and many more.
Unfortunately, these cuts likely mean more people will lose their jobs. At the very least, plenty of freelancers will lose an outlet. The reports say that a few of these sites were already unmanned thanks to the first round of layoffs earlier this month. The Wall Street Journal says that none of the 250 Huffington Post employees were let go after the buyout and that’s got to be making those original AOL employees very unhappy.
No one wants to see people lose their jobs, but for AOL to survive, this house cleaning was necessary. If they can tighten their focus and produce content that can actually be called journalism, they might be able to regain their footing as one of the top, first stops on the internet.
What do you think? Can anything save AOL? Or is this a sinking ship that’s slowly going under?