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Super post, Judy. You've really nailed it. The need for vertical niche products and experiments that are allowed to fail is particularly acute, and newspapers' failure to follow these strategies is a fatal, frustrating mistake. I'm not sure AOL has figured anything out--historically, its track record is fairly horrible at anything but selling dialup access--but at least the company is trying a bunch of different things, which is more than you can say about most newspaper companies.

Agreed with Mark, AOL's track record is pretty terrible. However, for the first time in a decade, I am excited about their strategy. As an entrepreneur, I have them on my radar and am curious to see how the 3500 journalists impact the organization and the content they produce. As a consumer, I'm actually excited about the new products they will develop. And I have never felt this way about AOL, so I must give credit where it's due: Tim Armstrong has done all the right things so far.

I know the analogy is getting old, but will AOL become the dominant news player akin to Apple's iPhone taking over the multibillion dollar music market? Will the newspapers stand around and let it happen much like the music labels?


Great article and good overview of why AOL could succeed in gaining traction in building audiences independently of the portal homepage traffic hose.

I did laugh however at your reference of "the very successful and very smart Glam.com model" since for all purposes they have been very successful at PR and raising money but the jury is still out on whether their model (previously know as ad network) can be viable as a profitable operation :-)


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