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A post-redesign AOL hits new Web site traffic records

After a major overhaul of its Web sites, the Time Warner unit reports double-digit Web site traffic growth, alongside strong March measurements from ComScore.

Dawn Kawamoto Former Staff writer, CNET News
Dawn Kawamoto covered enterprise security and financial news relating to technology for CNET News.
Dawn Kawamoto
2 min read

AOL announced on Friday that it posted double-digit growth in March, posting new traffic records for the former high-flying Internet darling.

Page views on AOL's programming sites jumped 35 percent in March, compared to a year ago, while unique visitors rose 11 percent, to 56.5 million users, in the same comparison period, according to ComScore Media Metrix.

"Our strong growth is a direct result of rebuilding each and every one of our vertical Web sites over the past 12 months, with the goal of providing consumers highly relevant and rich experiences that focus on key passion points," Bill Wilson, AOL Vertical Programming executive vice president, said in a statement.

Some of AOL's core sites that received a makeover included Money & Finance, which rose 24 percent in year-over-year page views in March, News, which climbed 20 percent, and Sports, which rose a whopping 148 percent.

During the past year, AOL has launched a number of new sites, ranging from men's site Asylum to Spinner.com for Indie music fans to personal-finance consumer news site WalletPop.

And in March, AOL acquired social-networking site Bebo for $850 million. Bebo, which has a strong following in the U.K., Ireland, and New Zealand, said that acquisition was made as part of AOL's efforts to grab more eyes internationally. Over the past year, AOL has launched 17 international sites.

All these efforts are designed to also drive revenue for AOL, which has struggled over the years to reposition itself, after its saw its core dial-up subscription business fall dramatically as broadband competitors came on strong. In 2006, AOL underwent a major overhaul, ditching its long-held subscription business for an advertising-supported business model. To generate ad revenues, you have to have lots of eyeballs pursuing your sites.

Last September, AOL launched its Platform-A, an advertising network designed to sell ad inventory on its own Web sites, as well as third-party sites. But in earlier this month, AOL's ad unit began to cut 100 positions from its operations.