First TechCrunch, now the Huffington Post. How hip, radical, transformational even, AOL suddenly appears. (ah hem...)
It's almost as if AOL is seeking to reinvent itself as a successful web-based media company through acquisition.
Companies acquire for two key reasons - a short cut to growth or a short cut to skills that equate to competitive advantage.
AOL badly needs the latter. And if it's able to retain the services of the likes of Huffington and Arrington (any other web entrepreneurs ending in 'ington' you can think of?) then it gets to learn.
It gets to learn how to exploit the low cost distribution model of the web. But essentially both TechCrunch and HuffPo are large scale broadcasters powered by very traditional ad models. So that's what AOL gets to learn: How to maximise old models.
These are not the best-fit with the network (rather than broadcast) nature of the web but I have no doubt they will continue to be successful in traditional terms (ie with traditional advertisers) for the short term. (image courtesy)
But make no mistake; this is not AOL preparing for the future, it's simply getting by in the present.