AOL shrinks by a third

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AOL slashes its payroll

AOL will shed a third of its workforce as it prepares for life as an independent company, SEO marketers may be interested to hear.

The struggling internet property, due to separate from media giant Time Warner on December 9th 2009, will cut 2,500 jobs over the coming months. By making what amounts to a third of its staff redundant, the company hopes to make significant progress towards its goal of slashing costs by £182 million. In a separate move, AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong declared he would pass up on his 2009 bonus, which is reportedly worth up to £2.4 million.

AOL spokeswoman Trician Primrose said a voluntary redundancy scheme would be introduced on December 4th. "We will need to do an involuntary layoff if we do not reach the target numbers through the voluntary option," she explained. "We believe the voluntary programme gives people more choice and decision-making ability instead of waiting for the final cost recommendations and involuntary layoffs."

AOL falls behind

AOL made its name as a dial-up service provider in the late 90s. However, a much-hyped merger with Time Warner failed to live up to expectations and it became increasingly marginalised as consumers switched to broadband en masse.

Meanwhile, search engine market statistics continue to make depressing reading. Out of the five major search engines, AOL remains the worst performer with a 2.9 per cent search market share in the October 2009 figures from internet analysts comScore. Google (65 per cent) is the clear market leader, followed by Yahoo (18 per cent), Microsoft (10 per cent) and Ask (4 per cent).