Now We Know What AOL's Robot Editors Actually Look Like

According to “The AOL Way,” a leaked strategy document we got our hands on, AOL wants to increase the average number of pageviews for its stories from ~1,500 to 7,000 by the end of March.

To do that, AOL knows its 100 or so smaller blogs need to depend less on the homepage and more on their own new audiences.

One slide in the document tells AOL staffers: “Our sites need to ‘work’ harder and generate more pageviews per story without homepage promotion.”

The AOL Way

AOL’s solution to the homepage problem is that editors should produce more posts based on topics readers want to read about. To figure out what those stories could be, Editors should use AOL’s “demand tool.”

Here’s what the tool looks like:

The AOL Way

This is the infamous AOL robot editor we’ve long heard about, but have never seen.

Some old school media types are already shrieking about this type of content creation. New York Times media columnist David Carr said AOL is a “word gulag” that publishers “must not emulate.”

We’re not so sure there’s anything wrong with using technology to figure out what readers want to read and then giving it to them. If there’s a problem with the way AOL does it, it’s not the principle, it’s the execution.

Click here to see the rest of AOL’s master plan, “The AOL Way” >>

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