AOL was once the leader in online service providers in the U.S.and around the world. In 1988 America Online (AOL) came alive and legendary CEO Stave Case took charge in 1991. During 1996, AOL reached six million subscribers and that fall they started offering flat-rate monthly service fee of $19.95. In January of 2000, AOL decided to buy up Time Warner Inc. and was spun out again in 2009.
A report from the BusinessInsider says that AOL (AOL) wants to refurbish its brand and boost its energy out west. They cite a Bloomberg BusinessWeek story, that AOL is attempting rebuild its brand by:
* Re-painting its West Coast HQ.
* Opening a gym downstairs.
* Inviting startups to work at the office rent-free.
* Hiring 80 new engineers.
* Throwing ex-AOLers under the bus.
“AOL wasn’t building great products, and the brand was reflecting that,” says AOL West Coast boss Brad Garlinghouse. “We have to expunge the ghosts of AOL and start fresh.”
The BusinessInsider speculates now that the top two editors for AOL’s (AOL) powerhouse gadget site Engadget headed out the door, lots of people think the next thing AOL will do is buy GDGT, the gadget-oriented social network started by Engadget alumni Peter Rojas and Ryan Block.
Through AOL Ventures, AOL already owns a piece of the startup. The buy would probably be one of those “acqui-hires” where GDGT investors are made whole and the founders get what amounts to a signing bonus. comScore tells BusinessInsider that GDGT has been fluctuating between 60,000 and 140,000 unique visitors over the past year.
An AOL/Engadget insider tells BI “that gdgt rumor comes and goes.”
Update: GDGT cofounder Peter Rojas says, “I can’t comment either way, you know the drill.”
America Online (AOL) laid off around 900 people on 03 march 2011 and undoubtedly, it was brutal for those people, and for their friends at the online provider. Unfortunately layoffs are a long-standing tradition at AOL . Chart of the Day plots the job butchers toll of 11 years of AOL layoffs. Sometimes the layoffs are big, sometimes they’re small, but they’re pretty much endless.
America Online (AOL) used to be king of the dial-up hill. At its peak, over 26.7 million households accessed the Internet via AOL, a figure that no American ISP has ever surpassed according to a report from AOL’s own DownloadSquad. That success came at a cost, though: those CDs (and floppy disks!) that arrived in your letterbox, often on a weekly basis, cost AOL over $300 million.
The data comes from Quora, a service that is fast becoming the go-to place for juicy, ‘insider’ information. Someone asked about AOL’s distribution costs, and in mere moments, both the CEO-at-the-time, Steve Case, and the former Chief Marketing Officer, Jan Brandt, had chimed in with authoritative responses. Case recalls, that in the heyday of the mid-1990s, AOL was quite content to spend $35 on obtaining a new subscriber. Brandt, responding a bit later, provided a total cost of “over $300 million,” for the distribution of the CDs. She went on to offer a shocking statistic: “At one point, 50% of the CDs produced worldwide had an AOL logo on it.” Shocking, but… sadly rather believable.
When America Online’s (AOL) CEO Tim Armstrong announced the $315-million acquisition of The Huffington Post he made the deal sound like a strategic add-on for the former web portal’s content business however, GigaOm says that AOL had to buy Huffington Post. GigaOm says that AOL traffic has been plummeting and losses increasing at most of its major media properties. GigaOm’s Mathew Ingram cites an Advertising Age report that unique visitors in February 2011 was down by more than 40 percent compared with the same month a year ago.
AOL has tried to reinvent itself as a content company, using the cash its Internet access business continues to produce (which I wrote about here) to buy assets like TechCrunch and video service 5Min Media, and The Huffington Post. GigaOm reports AOL has also spent $100 million on building out its Patch.com hyper-local news operation with another $120 million this year. GigaOm’s Ingram says AOL is feverishly trying to build new businesses that can replace the ones that are disintegrating, before the cash from its legacy businesses runs out and the company collapses.
Assets like DailyFinance and PoliticsDaily were supposed to be part of the recipe for boosting traffic and advertising but that doesn’t seem to be happening. Mr. Armstrong is quoted in Paid Content that the news and finance sites were losing $20 million a year for the company and advertising revenue reportedly dropped by almost 30 percent in the latest quarter.
At The Huffington Post, meanwhile, both traffic and revenues have climbed. Mr. Ingram concludes that the HuffPost acquisition brings two things to AOL that it desperately needs: an understanding of how much social networks and social features matter to new media, and a sense of personality and brand awareness that AOL sites have failed to generate. Now all Arianna Huffington has to do is somehow graft all of that into AOL.