AOL is no stranger to brand shifting. Since its merger with the Huffington Post, the site has uttered the phrase “refocus” too many times to count. And once again, it will be reorganizing the way it does content. Apparently, this shift also may be giving HuffPo a stronger role when it comes to AOL properties: Media group COO John Brod’s role will be cut back, and he’ll now only preside over Patch and MapQuest. The report comes via a memo from AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, courtesy of AllThingsD.
Either AOL feels HuffPo-produced or managed content will provide better results — or it has a lot of faith in Patch. Faith some might call incredibly unfounded. The company continues to pump resources into its hyper-local news and blogging network, recently even launching its own Groupon scheme with Patch Deals. There are high expectations for the site, which unfortunately are marred by the fact that various sales employees and freelance contributors have been speaking up about the sorry state Patch is in. We even had an ad manager at Patch contact us, saying “I have been selling enough to keep my job but not pushing to kill it because 1. I’m not going to get paid for it. Commission is capped. 2. I have no passion for selling ads that don’t work.” The source went on to say there is positive traffic on the site which should translate into success, but the shaky internal structure doesn’t exactly boost our confidence.
So it stands to reason that Brod may be focusing his full-time guidance on Patch now to make sure the investment pays off. BusinessInsider says Yahoo commented saying the move intends to “[streamline] reporting lines on the business side and more closely integrating sales and editorial. The move is also described internally as the company doubling down on the Huffington Post platform.”
At the same time, the Huffington Post will now take control over a few previously indepedent AOL editorial platforms: PopEater, Politics Daily, Kitchen Daily, Parent Dish, and Black Voices will now all be absorbed by their HuffPo equivalents. Armstrong says this change gives the company the ambility to focus on its “power brands” (which include Joystiq, Engadget, TechCrunch, TUAW, Patch, Moviefone, MapQuest, and others) and increase its ability to drive sales.