AOL sells shuttered blogs to former AOL boss

tsmgIt’s been a little over a month since AOL had shuttered a number of its various blog properties, including all of the AOL Music blogs as well as the much-loved and critically acclaimed Comics Alliance. Although AOL claims the massive layoffs were fueled by what was described as those sites’ traffic underperformance (a charge denied by the sites’ editors), four of the closed sites have reportedly been sold to Townsquare Media – a company whose executive team includes the man who was involved in the creation of each of the sites during his previous job at AOL.

The sites bought by Townsquare Media target specific niche audiences currently under or unserved by the company’s line up. In addition to Comics Alliance, which relaunched on Monday following multiple weeks of teasing a return, Townsquare purchased the hip hop-themed The BoomBox, heavy metal blog NoiseCreep, and country and western-directed The Boot. With the exception of Comics Alliance, all sites had been offering new content since the announcement of their closure, and were unaffected by the move between owners. Oddly enough, all sites still offer AOL links on their pages. Presumably, a design update is forthcoming to take care of that.

It’s unknown how instrumental in the deal Townsquare Media’s current executive VP Bill Wilson was, but it’s worth noting that all four blogs that were purchased by the company were originally created by Wilson and his team during his tenure with AOL as content business head, which ended when he moved to Townsquare in 2010.

Details of the deal between AOL and Townsquare Media remain undisclosed, although it’s believed that the blogs will maintain their previous staff with writers transferring employment to Townsquare. Some reports claim that only Comics Alliance staff were aware of the buyout ahead of time.

In a statement announcing the news, Townsquare chairman and CEO Steven Price said that the “acquisition of these assets from AOL represents the continued rapid growth of Townsquare Media’s portfolio of owned and operated music and entertainment websites,” referring to the company’s purchase of MOG’s blog network last year. The Townsquare blog portfolio, which includes sites like PopCrush and ScreenCrush, reach more than 52 million unique visitors on a monthly basis, according to official company estimates.

Price also said that the deal expands on the company’s current reach, “allowing advertisers and agencies even greater access to this highly engaged and demographically desirable audience.” According to estimates, the new properties bring with them a reach of around 3.5 million unique visitors per month.

Sites not mentioned in today’s deal, and therefore assumed still shuttered, include Spinner and the core AOL Music blog.

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