AOL has announced that it is going to launch a whole bunch of new “niche” sites in the coming year. This is definitely a big trend right now but Mashable says:
“That’s quite an expectation for a company even of AOL’s size, and it appears to be a furthered effort of monetizing web content with the support of online advertising efforts. There haven’t been any more details released in regards to Wilson’s statement, but surely the niche market has regained a bit of its appeal with improved efforts for behavioral targeting and integrated social media. Who knows? This may even have some involvement with AOL’s open mobile platform.”
Many are not sure sure this is the right direction. LostRemote points to some thoughts from VentureBeat:
“Meanwhile, VentureBeat has this to say about AOL’s strategy: “It’s hard to feel excited about a company that hopes to succeed simply by putting more of its product on the web rather than focusing on improving the sites they already have. It’s the old quantity versus quality argument.”
There are definitely arguments to be made on both sides but at the end of the day it feels to me that AOL is not going to be able to provide the sort of unique and compelling content that drives the sort of niche viewers they’re hoping to grab.