AOL (NYSE: TWX) is tweaking its website strategy yet again. As the company struggles with the slowdown in display ad activity, it is giving its web publishing unit a formal name, called MediaGlow. AOL’s Bill Wilson will go from EVP of programming to president of the the new unit, which will oversee programming’s 75 sites, NYT reports. AOL plans to create 30 more sites this year. The formation of MediaGlow is meant to move AOL away from being a portal, as opposed to a publisher with niche sites, like “edgy” younger men’s site Asylum and its female counterpart Lemondrop.com, something it’s been working towards for over a year.
AOL hopes that by creating sites that downplay — or even ignore, in most cases — the AOL brand, it can create more competitive sites that are attractive to advertisers and web users. At the same time, it can sell vertical sites in gaming, or men’s and women’s entertainment, to advertisers as a single package. So even though the main AOL page still exists as a starting point for some users, as Wilson tells the NYT,