In a weekend New York Times article describing AOL’s (TWX) latest reinvention — a plan to rely less on AOL.com and more on 75 or so niche sites such as Engadget, TMZ and Spinner.com — the president of the new media divison, Bill Wilson, said that while AOL.com still drives traffic to the niche sites, “we’re not counting on that.”
But Web metrics firm Hitwise tells us that even three of the six sites Wilson and AOL PR discussed with the Times — TheBoot.com, theboombox.com and Spinner.com — remain dependent on links from AOL.com for most of their traffic. As for the other sites, AOL.com links still account for huge chunks of traffic to TMZ.com and TourTracker.com.
A reader saw the Times article and wrote us:
Platform A, People Networks and MediaGlow do not make money for AOL. The vast majority of AOL’s revenues and, most importantly, all of its margin come from the ISP and Search businesses.
Despite what Wilson says in the NY Times article, almost of all his “niche” sites are 100% dependent on aol.com to drive traffic to them. There are notable exceptions such as Engadget. Take away the traffic from aol.com and these sites will die a quick death.
Analyst: AOL Ad Revenues Down 18% (TWX)