co Is AOL Moving Forward, Or Back? |

The big talk of the day is the AOL acquisition of Huffington Post. Everyone is speculating about whether or not AOL made a good buy. They purchased Huffington Post for $315 million. And, the Huff-Post press release states that $300 million of that will be cash. Yummy!

Another thing AOL gets is Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington. She will head up the Huffington Post Media Group, which will consist of all Huffington Post and AOL content.

Arianna is the clear winner here. She gets a boatload of cash and still maintains control over the property she founded. What more could a person want? But did AOL make a wise decision?

If you look at AOLs goal, to develop a diverse group of news and content sources that cover the local, national, and international scenes, then it may very well be a good buy. They do, after all, already have their hands in some pretty impressive properties – Engadget, TechCrunch, Patch.com, Mapquest, MovieFone, Autoblog, just to name a few.

So the real question is, what is the nature of content marketing online? How does AOL win? I consider it a branding issue. If AOL can brand itself as a premium content provider, then AOLs reputation will extend far beyond its own imagination, or the imaginations of its executives.

Remember when AOL was just an ISP? Now, it’s a content publisher. And content publishers are the ones who are making money online. How can you take that knowledge and make it work for your small business? You don’t have to be AOL or Rupert Murdoch to make your mark online.