Sam Harrelson

AOL Opening Up to Growth

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Bill Wilson, AOL’s EVP of Programming, emailed me a followup to my post on AOL’s recent successes to let me know that the new comScore Media Metrix reports were out.

AOL had significant growth both in the passive page view metric as well as the more active attention metrics. New visitors and users were also both up 9% this year over last.

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The corporate press release with all of its statistical goodness can be found here:

AOL Sites Hit Record Audience Reach and Engagement in October | AOL Corporate: “AOL programming sites hit all-time high traffic numbers and marked the 21st month of consecutive year-over-year growth for unique visitors, according to the October 2008 comScore Media Metrix report. Unique visitors to AOL’s programming content sites grew 7% year-over-year to 54.3 million in October, and page views more than doubled, up 101% year-over-year to 4.2 billion. Engagement (total minutes) grew 51% year-over-year in October. Total minutes reached an all-time high on AOL.com, http://aol.com, growing 27% year-over-year. Additionally, AOL.com page views grew 27%, and unique visitors and total visitors were up 9%, year-over-year, as the site further opened up to third-party content, services and features. In addition, AOL Webmail, http://mail.aol.com, reached an all-time high of 3.5 billion page views marking a 31% year-over-year growth. “

As I wrote in my post last week, AOL is on the right path with their decision to open up and allow existing and new users to leverage the AOL.com homepage as their home base for the web. We’ve recently seen Yahoo and just this week Microsoft’s Live.com follow in similar paths as well as Google with the iGoogle platform.

I don’t think we’re in a return phase of the “power of the portal,” but we are seeing the metaphor of the portal being expanded to encompass social media and social networks and real time (AIM) data deliverability and consumption.

Pay attention to AOL and Platform-A.




AOL Mail Team Blows It Bigtime

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AOL is, on the whole, doing things right by its users and the web in general these days.

However, the mail team blew it with this bone-headed post complaining about GMail and written on the level of a jealous 14 year old girl that didn’t make the cheerleading squad but wore the same outfit as the prom queen last Tuesday at the basketball game.

Come on, AOL. You’re better than this. Don’t you have a pretty strict PR dept??

Make sure to read the comment thread for readers’ reactions.

AOL Mail Blog: “An Open Letter to Gmail: Happy Halloween! We love your costume!”