AOL chief financial officer Artie Minson just took home a huge bonus — $2,253,125, according to a filing with the SEC.
It’s true that AOL posted surprisingly good results in its last quarterly report, for the third quarter of 2010. (The company reports Q4 earnings next Wednesday.) Those results were mainly the result of AOL selling two properties, Kayak and ICQ, during the quarter.
However, it’s not clear at all that AOL is really turning in the right direction. The company’s advertising business — which is supposed to be AOL’s future — was down across the board in Q3. The company is also spending an estimated $50 million a year on writers and editors for Patch, its collection of local news sites, and so far has gained only 3 million unique users per month on the sites.
Meanwhile, AOL still gets about 80% of its business from monthly subscribers — even though about 75% of those customers have cable or DSL and don’t need to pay AOL a dime to keep getting Internet access, according to a recent remark from an AOL executive.
Most of Minson’s bonus was part of the company’s standard Annual Bonus Plan, which rewards execs for both individual and company performance. Another $500,000 was part of a discretionary pool, awarded for “Mr. Minson’s leadership and superior performance on major corporate initiatives and transactions in 2010,” says the filing.