Former AOLer: 'Seed Was A Flop From The Beginning'

Saul Hansell

We heard last week that Seed was effectively “defunct.”

The truth, according to another source who worked closely on the project, is that Seed has essentially been dead for a very long time. It was, in their words, a “nonstarter” that “was a flop from the beginning.”

There were a number of problems with Seed.

The AOL Way called for editors to develop stories based on search queries. Freelancers would write them quickly, and AOL would monetise against that content.

A lot of staffers, however, wouldn’t put many stories up for freelancers to write.

“Not many editors within AOL would put their articles on Seed because they would get back inferior content,” the source told us.

In the end, there were not enough writers, not enough stories, and very low pay.

Additionally, Saul Hansell — the man in charge of Seed — was more of a big news guy. (Our source reported that Hansell had a copy of the article he wrote about the AOL/Time Warner merger on his desk.)

The Seed purview didn’t fit his interest or his skill set.

Given that, it’s no surprise that Hansell moved to be “Big News editor” at the Huffington Post in May.

Seed is not completely dead — the website says they are “reformatting” and new assignments are “on hold” — but the entire plan certainly looks more and more like a failure.

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