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.