Yes, it was just a few weeks back that AOL was laying off writers and publicly grappling with class action lawsuits filed against it for exploitation of unpaid bloggers, but such concerns are apparently a thing of the past. Now, it’s all about growth – and trying to recruit as many as 8,000 new bloggers over the next eight days. (None of whom will be paid, of course.)
The 800 local editors at Patch, AOL’s hyper-local portal, have been told that they are each expected to recruit five to 10 new unpaid bloggers before the official launch of the blog platform on May 4th. The target was given in a memo from Patch editor-in-chief Brian Farnham, who said that “the introduction of blogging on our sites is far more than just the release of a new feature, like Q&A. It is a full-on course correction heading Patch in the direction we want to go,” adding that “it’s an adjustment, but that’s the short term pain.”
The question isn’t whether the editors will be able to find ten people willing to blog about their area in the next eight days, it’s whether they’ll be any good, considering they’ll be unpaid and AOL/Huffington Post’s goodwill in that area is quickly diminishing. Perhaps quality really will end up being less important than quantity this time?
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