AOL, which is attempting to turn around its financial fortunes by becoming a major content producer via new hyperlocal news sites and buyouts of websites such as the TechCrunch blog, is quietly shutting down its Propeller social news aggregation on Oct. 1.
AOL, which has been blasting out press releases left and right regarding all its latest online content maneuvers, including its Thing Labs buyout, simply posted the following atop the Propeller homepage:
"Note to all users: As of October 1, 2010, Propeller will no longer be active. To the loyal users of the site, we extend our thanks. Keep talking about the news that matters most to you and sharing it with your friends both online and off. – Team Propeller"
Propeller, which started in 2006 and was inherited by AOL through its Netscape buyout, was once hailed as a possible Digg killer but never caught on. The latest figures from website traffic comparer Compete show that Propeller had less than 160,000 unique visitors as of Aug. 20, dwarfed by such sites such as Digg (7.6 million) and Reddit (2 million).
Digg is having plenty of its own problems with traffic loss since revamping the site recently, but given its big user base it still has a chance of rebounding.
Meanwhile, it’s been a rough stretch of late for social networking sites. RSS aggregator Bloglines is being shut down by Ask.com in November and the plug is also being pulled on social bookmarking site Xmarks.