AOL on Friday touted its traffic gains in March as reported by Comscore, but it is a curious announcement given that the company is a pawn in the Yahoo-Microsoft scrum and Time Warner earnings are due next week.
Sure, AOL has a redesign (Techmeme) and a content focus that's delivering results. AOL programmed site page views in March were up 35 percent from a year ago. Unique visitors came in at 56.5 million. As previously noted, Platform A is the top ad network. And AOL's vertical redesigns--money, sports, health--and demographic-led efforts--men, women, African American and Latino--are doing well.
But what's the subtext here? A few thoughts: First, Time Warner is trying to show AOL has some momentum ahead of what's likely to be a difficult first quarter. Why do that? Time Warner is also playing to Yahoo a day before Microsoft's proxy war deadline (all Microhoo coverage)? Double your spin. Double your fun.
Seems to me that AOL is trying to show it's worth something to Yahoo, which is still trying to figure out if AOL is a good plan B to fend off Microsoft. We'll gloss over the fact that page views don't necessarily indicate how well AOL is monetizing them, the message seems to be that AOL and Yahoo may be a nice match.
AOL has transformed itself and has been reinvigorated via acquisitions like Bebo, but this announcement really seems like there may be a little more than the usual chest thumping to it.