The 'AOL Way' strikes again? Ross Miller leaves Engadget

The recently leaked document, the “AOL Way”, seems to be causing more public outcry than CEO Tim Armstrong probably ever intended.

It was not long after that document made headlines that staff at Engadget, one of AOL’s premium web properties, began leaving the site after years of loyal service.

Paul Miller was the first to step down and specifically called out the “AOL Way” as for one of his reasons for leaving. Following up closely behind Miller’s leave is Ross Miller, who has now announced that he is stepping down.

Ross does say that the “AOL Way” is part of his reasoning for leaving:

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.

It seems that there is far more going on behind the scene than many may realize after the AOL document was released. Ross had been with the Weblogs, Inc brand for over five years.

Joshua Topolsky, Editor-in-Chief of Engadget, has stated that Engadget does not have to abide by the “AOL Way” but it does seem a bit odd that a couple of full time writers have now left the group since the document surfaced. 

AOL has been buying up premium web properties to try and change its revenue streams. It recently purchased TechCrunch (which apparently Topolsky tried to block) and The Huffington Post.

For AOL these new properties must bring in the revenue to help keep the company prosperous. Currently 40% of AOLs revenue comes from subscribers, but, a staggering 80% of its profit is from subscriber income. 

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30 Comments

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wow... AOL remind me of the magic they weaved with Netscape Navigator and Winamp. I can imagine engadget 5 years from.

310 mil? How much ad revenue does AOL expect it to bring in? Or do they hope they can build it up a little, then sell it off for even more to another naïve blog-buying sucker?

superconductive said,
I don't know what I would do if those AOL douchebags ever bought out neowin!

Neobond would laugh all the way to the bank!

bob_c_b said,

Not to be picky but Ross Miller and Paul Miller are two different people.

Touche. Apologies for trying to rock the boat guys.

So someone is poaching Engadget editors, who knows why since the writing is generally not that great. No way both of these guys suddenly found the moral high ground in the same week, now the only real question is who was after mulitple Apple fanboys who write marginal reviews?

hagjohn said,
I can't believe she (or anyone) sold out to AOL of all companies. What a fool. She won't be there long, I bet.

315 million dollars. The price she sold for. I bet you would have settled for a lot less.

MindTrickz said,

315 million dollars. The price she sold for. I bet you would have settled for a lot less.

She may regret it when she's forced out by AOL or wants to leave because AOL sucks and her name is still on the site.

It's probably one of those grassroots "stick it to the man" type of things. Nobody likes corporate takeovers, especially if your site has been around for a while. It's like someone walks into your home or office and says "MINE".

CoMMo said,
Where can I download the "AOL Way"? I'd like to see what all the fuss is about.

Here's the gist of it: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-aol-way

It's basically SEO optimization to get more page views and increase ad revenue while affecting the quality of the content provided. And with 2 editors leaving the same week, it's pretty obvious there's more to this story than has been currently told. Two people don't just randomly decide to leave a blog on the same day, AOL likely had some part in it.

The problem is that he wants more stories and more ads on those stories and more links to those stories, but he doesn't care about the quality of the story or even if anyone reads it. WHich if you are an active blogger you want people to care about your story, not just give you the page hit or generate ads. Bloggers want people to care what they say. To the good ones ad revenue and post output is second to that.

CoMMo said,
Where can I download the "AOL Way"? I'd like to see what all the fuss is about.

call aol's 1800 number, they'll be happy to send a cd with the info free of charge

SONiKz said,
@metropolis - There ain't a lot wrong with Engadget, what other tech sites do you read on a daily basis??

This one.

I stopped reading Engadget long ago.

nohone said,

This one.

I stopped reading Engadget long ago.

I read Neowin for a concise digest of all the big news stories, however I find sites like engadget are a lot more bleeding edge - typically they send whole teams to big events like CES, MWC and the like that smaller sites simply can't do. As far as i'm concerned the best tech sites are here, Engadget and Ars Technica. They tend to tick all the boxes.

SONiKz said,
@metropolis - There ain't a lot wrong with Engadget, what other tech sites do you read on a daily basis??

You know, there's an easier way to reply to somebody. It's called the "Reply" button.

empty said,

I read Neowin for a concise digest of all the big news stories, however I find sites like engadget are a lot more bleeding edge - typically they send whole teams to big events like CES, MWC and the like that smaller sites simply can't do. As far as i'm concerned the best tech sites are here, Engadget and Ars Technica. They tend to tick all the boxes.


I agree. I'd love to just follow Neowin, but I think I'd miss a lot of news.

GaMMa said,

I agree. I'd love to just follow Neowin, but I think I'd miss a lot of news.

And to clarify, I don't think I want Neowin to become Engadget. I get a lot of scoops and rumors I don't get elsewhere (from here) and I think the quality of the stories that are shown are better.

TCLN Ryster said,

You know, there's an easier way to reply to somebody. It's called the "Reply" button.

Oh so there is!! My faux pas.

I love it how they blame AOL.. I'm surprised he didn't blame Microsoft on the way out either. The site isn't anything but a schill to everything google and apple with random love for the underdog as long as the underdog isn't Microsoft. The only reason i visit the site is that they are fast on coverage, but with every passing day i'll wait a little bit longer to read about it at Ars or here. I doubt AOL feed their rampant fanboyism and seemingly trollish community.