AOL’s secret internal plan to ramp up its online content business was leaked today to New York business blog Business Insider and people are saying it’s got “content farm” written all over it. In-house writers are expected to write 5 to 10 blog posts per day and those stories are expected to go from an average of 1500 pageviews per post today to an amazing 7000 views per post in the future. How will stories be selected? The only thing that will matter, apparently, is search engine friendliness and monetization potential. That might sound terrible to outsiders, but having been there I want to say: Good luck AOL, I hope that strategy works wonderfully for you. I genuinely do.
I’m not sure why this surprises anyone. AOL was long ago bought out and gutted by ruthless corporate interests. SEO and low-hurdle content farm writing are the natural end-game moves of a struggling corporate behemoth that doesn’t really understand its market. The sad fact is there is a weird “beige market” created for this crap that no one wants, but still exists to farm mislabeled clicks and deceptive titles into pennies per transaction – yet pennies which, in scale, make billions.