If you’re a writer with AOL, CEO Tim Armstrong is going to be expecting a whole heckuva lot more out of you real soon. Internal documents obtained by Silicon Alley Insider show that the company is asking its writers to nearly double their output while at the same time make sure they’re making their stories Google-bait.
Content farm? Sure sounds like it! The subject of content farms has gotten a lot of press lately, especially in light of Demand Media’s recent IPO, and decisions by sports-centric Bleacher Report to pay its writers and Yahoo’s purchase of Associated Content. Armstrong must see the value in gaming the search engines, something Demand has done to great effect and success.
Monthly stories are expected to jump to 55,000 from 33,000. In addition, Armstrong says he expects posts to get an average of 7,000 views (up from 1,500) apiece. Add to this that he expects video post to become 70 percent of all posts — very time consuming to edit, produce, and upload–and you can see soon that AOL is expecting the world of the people it employs.
Nick Carlson at SAI says “The AOL Way” as it is being called is not being received well. Have a read: at points it sounds fairly good from a business sense point of view, but mostly it’s ludicrous–Armstrong expects this to be done by the end of March.
I sincerely hope that Mr. Armstrong reconsiders his decision. In the end you need to make a decision about quality vs. quantity, and in my experience, in the news business quality goes a long, long way.
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