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... the editorial blog by Marydee Ojala, Editor of ONLINE: Exploring Technology & Resources for Information Professionals. ONLINE Insider intends to extend the reach of the print publication, presenting a more timely commentary on the products, people, and events that shape today's online world. It explores new technologies as they impact the working lives of information professionals, explains resources for specific topic areas, and expounds on information management tools and techniques.

AOL Huffs, Puffs, Acquires HuffPo

Marydee Ojala @ 9:29 am

OK, so it’s February 7th, not April 1st, and looks like AOL really did agree to buy the Huffington Post. For $315 million. Not an April Fools joke.

AOL already owns Engadget, TechCrunch, Patch, and other specialized content sites. Huffington Post brings 177 million U.S. visitors and 270 million global visitors to the party. HuffPo co-founder and editor-in-chief, Arianna Huffington will become president and editor-in-chief of a new entity within AOL to be called The Huffington Post Media Group. It will contain all those many AOL content sites. Leaving will be HuffPo co-founder and chairman Kenneth Lerer; president and chief revenue officer Greg Coleman; and CEO Eric Hippeau (who old-timers in the information industry may remember as one-time head of Information Access Company before it was acquired by Gale).

In an internal memo, published by TechCrunch, AOL’s Tim Armstrong called the deal “another major step in the comeback of AOL.”

There will be lots of chatter, I’m sure, about what this means for the search industry (will the search engine pundits begin talking about Google, Bing, and AOL as the major players?), for the news industry (the acquisition of an online news service proves that print is dead?), and for the investing environment (AOL trades on the New York Stock Exchange). What about information professionals? Should we begin to add AOL searching to our repertoire? I’m looking forward to how our speakers at WebSearch University next month will chime in on this, but in the meantime, it seems to me that anyone who was already following HuffPo or TechCrunch or Engadget, or any of the rest of AOL’s content sites, will continue to do so. The deal will close late first quarter or early second quarter, 2011. Unless Huffington decides to integrate all the AOL content into one huge database, which strikes me as unwieldy, info pros will still tend to look at individual sites rather than search AOL. Remember, too, that AOL search relies on Google technology.

With all these content sites, does AOL now qualify as a “content farm” — like the content farms that Blekko says it’s now excluding from search results, according to, among others, Search Engine Land? Should be interesting to watch developments.

1 Comment

  1. I think it actually worth more than 315 million, Im quite surprised she sold for that, given that worthless startups are commonly funded for more.

    I like what I see from AOL trying to shepard worthwhile content, its about time somebody invested in the web that is, versus the web that will never be.

    If AOL doesnt destroy these properties its acquiring it will be a great lesson to Yahoo: stop destroying the web, and start growing with it.

    The native americans taught european settlers how to farm WITH the land and not against it. This is your lesson Yahoo.

    Comment by laws about divorce — February 7, 2011 @ 9:05 pm

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