Three years ago AOL.com’s online content ecosystem had 120 million monthly users. Today, the number has collapsed to 60 million — so AOL is upping its game with an innovation called Project Devil. AOL is streamlining content on its web pages and also making ads look better — with a clean vertical box at the right of each page, one advertiser per page, and a simple layout that makes it easy (gasp) to actually read the articles. It’s a continuation of the trend triggered by Apple’s iPad, in which consumers became stunned to see that web content could actually look pleasing to the eye.
AOL concludes with a tagline that strikes to the heart of any planner struggling with poor click-through rates: “Advertisers own one third of the web. Imagine actually enjoying that 33.3%.” At this point implementation seems theoretical; AOL’s home page still looks like a car-salesmen-weather-guy-convention afterhours dance party mosh pit. But we love the theory.