Photo: Scott Pham
As a part of an initiative called “The Winter Luge,” AOL CEO Tim Armstrong told his editors at the end of December that he wanted them to double AOL.com homepage traffic by April.In a leaked document called “The AOL Way,” AOL told editorial it could reach these goals by increasing its stories per month from 33,000 to 55,000 and pageviews per story from 1,500 to 7,000.
Simple, right? Maybe not.
Hallfway to April, progress is slow – about 6% of the way there.
To double is to grow 100%, and, according to an AOL memo leaked by TechCrunch, pageviews on AOL.com grew 6% in January versus December.
(Let’s take a moment to appreciate TechCrunch’s URL for this story: http://techcrunch.com/2011/02/14/aol-lol-lol-lol/)
On a positive note, 6% per month is actually pretty decent growth. If the AOL.com team can keep it up for the next 11 months, the site will have twice as many pageviews in December 2011 as it did in December 2010.
Armstrong also says in the memo that AOL (40.4 minutes) is beating MSN (36.5 minutes), Yahoo (32.9 minutes), and the New York Times (30 minutes) in minutes per visitor per month.
Perhaps Tim and the rest of AOL management are setting unrealistic goals on purpose. Sometimes if you set the growth bar really high, failure can still be a huge improvement over the status quo. The danger in this tactic is that AOL editorial will feel demoralized and overworked.
Obviously, none of these numbers figure in the boost AOL’s latest aquistiion, Huffington Post, will bring to its traffic numbers in the coming months.Patch unique visits grew 32% in January. That’s nice to hear, but we’re still unimpressed that it takes 800+ editors to attract around 4 million readers. AOL’s latest buy, Huffington Post, attracts around 30 million with just 100 staffers.