Outsiders have been wondering how all of the content properties AOL has been buying up will hold up as part of the media giant. Engadget has been part of AOL for quite a while, having been purchased in 2005 – some time before AOL’s real push for mass content, most recently punctuated by its purchase of The Huffington Post.
AOL’s strategy appears to be taking its toll on some of its content producers. Engadget Editor Paul Miller announced his resignation last night, and left no room for speculation about the reason.
On his personal blog, Miller wrote, "I’d love to be able to keep doing this forever, but unfortunately Engadget is owned by AOL, and AOL has proved an unwilling partner in this site’s evolution. It doesn’t take a veteran of the publishing world to realize that AOL has its heart in the wrong place with content. As detailed in the ‘AOL Way,’ and borne out in personal experience, AOL sees content as a commodity it can sell ads against. That might make good business sense (though I doubt it), but it doesn’t promote good journalism or even good entertainment, and it doesn’t allow an ambitious team like the one I know and love at Engadget to thrive."
This will only fuel the fire of criticism of AOL and The Huffington Post no doubt. Upon that acquisition, AOL appointed HuffPo’s Arianna Huffington editor-in-chief of all of AOL’s content properties.
Miller’s criticism of AOL isn’t the first we’ve seen from its internal content producers. TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington (who interestingly enough also had a separate blog war with Engadget not too long ago) recently suggested that AOL could have been responsible for an annoying interstitial ad that appeared on that blog.
It will be interesting to see if more of AOL’s content producers follow Miller’s lead, or speak out against the company.