Aol. vs. Yahoo

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Aol. and Yahoo have both finally figured out that good content begets readership, viewership, referral, and participation which begets — the same.  These two seminal online brands will be dooking it out for years to come. They both took different paths to get here and both have CEOs with unique perspectives, but the battle should be fun to watch. Coke and Pepsi, AT&T and Verizon fun.

Armstrong vs. Bartz

My bet is on Aol. Tim Armstrong hitched his ride to a rising star (Google) and got that success smell on him — but I think he created some of that smell with his focus and good leadership. Carol Bartz’s career advanced by good blocking and tackling and good business decisions, something Yahoo hadn’t had for a while prior to her arrival.  Yahoo made lots of decisions, just not with a solid brand idea driving them. Until proven otherwise, I’ll give Mr. Armstrong the edge and write it off to “derring do.”

Ad dollars are moving online, no doubt, but those in the know will tell you the lion’s share are going to Google thanks to AdWords and their direct-to-consumer, DIY, analytics-powered ad model. As Aol. and Yahoo re-create their online brands and lead the market in the generation of original content (paid and contributed), search will stay a powerful, lucrative utility, but won’t be the best way to find good content. That will be the domain of Aol and, hopefully, Yahoo. Peace!