AOL’s focus is interesting because it takes a long-discussed idea — what if Google got into original content? — and tests it. Consider this passage from the Business Week piece:
Owning a popular destination that’s built to divert traffic to subsidiary properties is a huge asset (as Yahoo knows). The challenge for AOL, Yahoo and other popular sites with perception issues is to manage their own expectations: there’s value in that traffic — and more than enough advertising dollars to create a strong business — but they have to fight the urge to overestimate the future. Web-based content businesses need to be lean, efficient and small(er).
… AOL comes to this game with substantial advantages, thanks to its daily gusher of traffic. Its sites still get more than 100 million unique visitors each month; around one-third of that traffic hits the home page. And its e-mail and instant messaging services still are widely used. MediaGlow CEO Bill Wilson disclosed through a spokeswoman that around 40% of MediaGlow’s traffic comes from AOL’s home page and other sites in the AOL network.