If Tim Armstrong is opening his wallet, and he wants AOL to be the content kings, we have some ideas for him…
Founded by former Gawker managing editor Lockhart Steele, the Curbed network is the place to go for real estate porn.
With its local content, Curbed could also help AOL crack the local ad market it's going after with its local blogs. Curbed also owns the Eater and Racked sites.
AOL desperately needs more sites users go directly to besides AOL.com and the popular sites brought in through the Weblogs Inc. acquisition. The Huffington Post fits the bill precisely.
This one definitely wouldn't have been possible under the cap: HuffPo is probably worth $150-$300 million.
Thrillist is an email that goes out to guys in their 20s and 30s and tells them where to eat and drink.
Because the email goes only to people who have asked to receive it, the ads are very valuable. A video ad sold against the email can fetch a $275 CPM.
Comcast bought Daily Candy, an email list for women also owned by Thrillist's investors, for $125 million in 2008.
Tumblr was supposed to rival Twitter. It hasn't happened.
But if AOL were to buy it, it wouldn't just be getting a blogging platform, it'd be buying the ability to advertise against a slew of relatively popular 'meme-blogs' like Garfield Minus Garfield, This Is Why You're Fat, Look At This Fucking Hipster and Pets Who Want to Kill Themselves.
Sure, these blogs are faddish and fade in popularity quickly. But owning the platform, AOL would be able to take advantage of them while they're hot and would have the inside track at acquiring any that showed signs of sustainability.
The whole reason for Seed.com and robo-content in general is that it provides AOL cheap content it can advertise against. Nothing is cheaper than the free content Tumblr gets!
Foursquare reportedly walked away from a $100+ million offer from Yahoo, and that was before it raised another big funding round.
Still, there could be some good synergy between Foursquare and AOL's local content if the company wanted to splurge.
Breaking Media is the publishing company behind popular brands such as Fashonista, Dealbreaker and Above The Law. It's like a high-class Weblogs Inc.
That deal worked out for AOL. So could this one.
Dan Abrams started his online publishing company just a year ago with media news site Mediaite.
Now there's Styleite, GeekOSystem, Gossip Cop, and Sports Grid. The sites are surprisingly popular, and run by people who know what they're doing. There are lots of shareholders who wouldn't mind seeing an exit, either.
Gawker is probably a stretch at this point -- the network of blogs would fetch at least $200 million.