Some big shakeups over at Engadget. In the span of just a few days, Senior Editors Paul Miller and Ross Miller both decided to up and leave Engadget, which is owned by AOL. Both former editors noted that AOL’s ownership wasn’t the sole reason for their decision to leave, but suggest that the AOL Way, as it were, may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Ross Miller writes:
As for the reasons why, I won’t get too far into it. The AOL Way isn’t the sole reason, but it’s certainly a catalyst, a symptom of concerns I’ve had for a while. I worry about the long-term viability of what I foresee is the future business model. How our brand will be affected and how much control we’ll maintain over it. If we can continue to nurture the talent without burning them out. If we can get the needed resources to expand on our ideas. (Update: Just to be clear, Engadget is not currently subject to the AOL Way, and I’m not sure it ever will be. It’s not the driving reason behind why I left.)
For more on the AOL way, check out the full 58 page document over here. Some highlights from AOL CEO Tim Armstrong’s manifesto include:
By April, he wants AOL editorial to increase its stories per month from 33,000 to 55,000.
He wants pageviews per story to jump from 1,500 to 7,000.
He wants video stories to go from being 4% of all stories produced to 70%.
AOL tells its editors to decide what topics to cover based on four considerations: traffic potential, revenue potential, edit quality and turn-around time.
AOL asks its editors to decide whether to produce content based on “the profitability consideration.”
The documents reveal that AOL is, when the story calls for it, willing to boost traffic by 5 to 10% with search ads and other “paid media.”
AOL site leaders are expected to have eight ideas for packages that could generate at least $1 million in revenue on hand at all times.
In-house AOL staffers are expected to write five to 10 stories per day.
AOL knows its sites are too dependent on traffic from AOL.com, and it wants its editors to fix the problem by posting more frequently, with more emphasis on getting pageviews.