Will AOL keep Massively going?

If you follow online media news, you’ll know that the big story of the week was that AOL bought the Huffington Post for crazy high amounts of dosh, and handed editorial control of all of its blogs/ media content over to Arianna Huffington. One of the family of AOL owned blogs is Joystiq which readers might recognise from the URLs of WoW Insider and Massively.

WoW Insider has pretty much nailed down its readership. I’d guess it as the most popular of all the WoW news blogs – the fact that getting linked from WoW Insider can easily net a small blog up to 5k hits will give you an inkling of how many readers they have in general, since only a small proportion of readers do click on links.

But what about Massively? I like the site (despite them failing to offer me a writing gig), but how long can that survive in the brave new HuffPo world, subject to an editor-in-chief whose main strengths are news and women’s interest issues. Here’s a hint of what is to come:

A recent leak of AOL’s growth strategy for its media division showed a business ruthlessly devoted to generating more traffic through increased frequency of publication, better search-engine optimization, and more recruitment of talented writers and editors. The new way sets ambitious goals for site editors, requiring writers to post 5 to 10 stories a day and generate at least 7,000 hits per story.

Does anyone think that press releases about non-mainstream MMOs are going to generate 7000 hits per story?

I’m not trying to be downbeat here. I’d like to be wrong, or misinformed. I think we’re lucky to have a bankrolled MMO news site that doesn’t cut out the smaller, newer, or less WOW-ish games and I’d like to see it do well. But small and diverse niches don’t sound to me as though they fit too well with the AOL growth strategy.

And if it does crash and burn in it’s current form, that doesn’t mean that its corporate masters are giving up on the market. Maybe if things change they can get better. What would you want to see instead?


WoW US Insider?

I like WoW Insider, it’s a cool blog. People put a lot of work into it, there’s tons and tons of content, and I kind of like the random scattershot nature of the posts. It isn’t consistent, but that’s part of the charm.

But I am tired of the relentless assumption that we’re all in the US. Take this post, spotted today:

Here we are, my old friend. You and I, waiting for downtime again. Yeah, we got a little spot of downtime coming our way again.

Downtime? Nope, we really don’t have any here (at least not more than usual). Our maintenance is tomorrow, but thanks for playing.

Also no comment on the European side of things being hived off to Blizzard Europe. I don’t expect deep and incisive reportage but you know, maybe just a note in passing.

For sure, most of their readers are probably in America. But there’s no need to pointlessly alienate the rest. It’s not that anyone needs to read two posts about maintenance every week (how about no posts about maintenance, just for a change of pace?), but we’re all still playing the same game. Right?