As AOL closes one door, another opens. Yesterday, AOL unceremoniously stuck a fork in the official AOL News property only a day before the launch of 'Huffington', AOL's iPad magazine app.
The move marks a concerted effort to rebrand The Huffington Post as the primary news and editorial branch of AOL, which is quite a change from the pre-merger days, where AOL News dominated the Huffington Post's web traffic by almost 9 million monthly uniques. It is hard to say the death of AOL News comes as much of a shock though—the AOL News Twitter account has been dormant since July 21st, 2011 (the Good News account has been quiet for over a year). For both the AOL and Huffington Post brands the move is a win as it consolidiates the properties and will throw a whole bunch of traffic HuffPo's way (AOLNews.com now redirects to HuffingtonPost.com).
The losers in this game happen to be the writers who've contributed to AOL News throughout the year as all of their content is now extinguished from the Internet. Forbes reports that efforts are underway to retreive this content and restore access to the original authors, increasing speculation that the loss of older AOL News content may have been an unforseen consequence of pulling the plug on the domain. Accidental or not, it is a substantial loss of content.
With an eye to the future, the company launched Huffington on the iPad today, with a free preview edition and a 99 cent issue. Huffington will focus on longer content and integration of high resolution media to provide iPad readers with a flashy user experience to surround their more nutritious longform journalism. "It’s about getting away from the one-night stand…and instead letting you lounge in bed," said Huffington at Adweek's NexTech event last month.
While they've announced Toyota as their launch sponsor, Adweek noticed there were no ads in the free preview edition of the magazine.