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CEO Calls For AOL Paradigm Shift 149

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the johnsmith12102343823-email-address-still-available dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The New York Times is reporting that Jonathan Miller, AOL's chief executive, is calling for the effective dismantling of marketing for their dialup service. In a new plan to be presented to the Time Warner board in a couple of weeks, Miller outlines a new direction for AOL which moves towards using advertising as the main source of revenue while offering most everything they have (software, AOL.com email addresses, etc) for free."
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CEO Calls For AOL Paradigm Shift

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  • It's AOL... (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Free is still too expensive.
    • Re:It's AOL... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by couchslug (175151)
      Free will get a shitload of subscribers.
      Not ME, but there are many, many people who are not going to get broadband wired connections and cannot justify/afford satellite internet. They do spend money and buy stuff. I fix and reload lots of AOLified machines for happy/semi-happy AOL users.
      Make it free and you 0wn them.
      • From what I understand, nothing that's been proposed would make AOL's dialup service free.

        Thus, those people who are currently using AOL as their ISP -- because they can't get broadband and for whatever reason, don't want to switch to a regular dialup ISP -- will still have to pay.

        What's being proposed in TFA is a shift in focus of AOL's marketing efforts, away from promoting their pay-to-use dialup service, in favor of promoting their "free" ad-supported web-based services, which anyone with an existing in
  • by Andrew Nagy (985144) on Monday July 10, 2006 @05:54PM (#15694126) Homepage Journal
    Disable the log-out button.
  • Hmm AOL For free? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by opieum (979858) on Monday July 10, 2006 @05:54PM (#15694130)
    That will seem very enticing....until they start flooding the internet with more of their spam. They are using the existing setups to beat google to the free internet punch. Oh well call this AOLs deathsong. They are pretty much on the way out with a declining userbase. Poor product being made free? It's like putting a cherry on a pile of crap. The cherry may taste good but the crap wont :P
  • Cancellation? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by imaginaryelf (862886)
    You think cancelling AOL is hard when they charge for services?

    Think how much harder it would be to "cancel" when it becomes free.
  • by Doches (761288) <DochesNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday July 10, 2006 @05:56PM (#15694141)
    My god, I hope they still give away CDs! I may never finish decorating my dorm now...
  • by Fubar411 (562908) on Monday July 10, 2006 @05:59PM (#15694155)
    FTFA: Under the new plan, almost everything AOL offers -- its content, software and AOL.com e-mail addresses -- will be available to any Web user free.

    Even my mother who has had broadband for only a year now knows user@aol.com == newbie. She knows better than to pay attention to mails from there declaring "Important, new email virus alert!!!" as these people are still wet behind the ears.

    Given the number of CDs AOL has sent out, and the negative response to their bloated dial-up software, I don't think people will be scrambling to aol.com to get their hands on the latest.

    So why would anyone go to AOL.com? The article leaves me unconvinced. About the only thing I can agree with is the CEO's statement about it is going to get worse (before it gets better, but there is no guarntee of that)
  • Paradigm Shift? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dryanta (978861) on Monday July 10, 2006 @05:59PM (#15694158) Journal
    More like refocusing on what actually makes AOL profitable. We knew this was coming when we saw AOL ad-words on superbowl commercials, and REALLY knew it was coming with the 10% Google aquisition. Can you really blame them for no longer competing in the sub $25/month dialup when FIMUX and muni wi-fi networks easily bring in close to 2X that per month for broadband after taking out TCO?
  • Just a thought (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Andrew Nagy (985144) on Monday July 10, 2006 @06:00PM (#15694160) Homepage Journal
    AOL sucks. We all know this. So they think that providing their services for free, in an advertising based model will help them. It probably will. I think it misses the point, though. How many stories have we heard about their terrible support, lacking features, and inability to change with the market? They should probably focus on providing a great product before they make it free. Free crap is still crap.
    • Well, if this hastens the demise of AOL, I'm all for it.
    • Re:Just a thought (Score:5, Interesting)

      by t0qer (230538) on Monday July 10, 2006 @06:33PM (#15694364) Homepage Journal
      AOL sucks. We all know this. So they think that providing their services for free, in an advertising based model will help them.


      I strongly disagree...

      AOL has some really good properties under its belt. Namely, i'm talking about Winamp. Let's not forget about all the Time Warner stuff they have access to as well.

      With Winamp and it's shoutcast technologies, they have a good platform for content delivery, a really smart user base that constantly provides free features for Winamp through plugins. Since the 5x series Winamp has moved beyond just being a mp3 player, it has live streaming content, access to tons of Time Warner properties (Animaniacs/Freakazoid anyone?) and there's a ton more stuff planned on the horizon.

      Recently a job [winamp.com] for Music Director has popped up. Part of the description talks about things going towards social networking in the Winamp microchasm. As we know, Nullsoft is sort of the place where new AOL technologies are being developped, so it stands to reason that the social networking on the horizon for AOL and Winamp is going to include some aspects of both communities, myspace with NSV video is my guess.

      The AOL client isn't completely suck ass either. Now before I get boo's from the peanut gallery let me explain... I run my own consulting company, and today I had to do some work at a lawyers office, and she's been using AOL as her email for years. She got a new PC, wanted me to transfer files from her old PC to her new PC, then hand-me-down her old PC to her assistant. I walked in thinking "OH noes! PST and outlook!" Since the AOL email client stores all the emails on the server, it was pretty painless. It wasn't *that* bad. They just logged in with their screen names, and like magic, all their stuff was there.

      The AOL client isn't too shabby for reading news or other things either. Sure you can fire up Moz, but it's really not that bad... If AIM was so terrible, why do so many people use it?

      About the only thing that has been bad with AOL is their dialup. Even there, not that bad. AOL has always had the biggest banks of blade modem banks. Dial up numbers just about anywhere you can think of.

      It's a shame so many people judge AOL on what it was 20 years ago. Sure, it was crap then, but over the years AOL has been pretty good about responding to customers outcries about the bad, and then AOL has always moved quickly to resolve it. Remember when folks complained about busy signals? AOL took care of it. Hard time cancelling your account? AOL fired the person who got recorded, then told all their staff to not give customers a hard time. Despite all outward appearances of AOL being a hard company to deal with, force feeding their customers what they want, in reality the opposite is true.

      Anyways, I have no beef against AOL. It's made the internet easier for some people, which is a good thing in my opinion. It takes a corporation with deep pockets to accomplish what AOL has, and my hats are off to them. Money well spent.

      --toq

      • Is "microchasm" just another word for "ditch"?

      • AOL Communicator is actually decent -- and allows export of everything from AOL. (I recently migrated one of my former "students" [I taught nice little old ladies how to use their PCs while I was in high school] off AOL to gmail, and Communicator lets you export EVERYTHING.] In the interim, I had played with the Communicator software -- it's not half bad for the newbie set.
      • You obviously have never had the pleasure of dealing with their idiotic mail system as a mail admin.
      • When it comes to the content they offer, Winamp is pretty much just an alternate interface to WIndows Media Player. At least, I know it is for IN2TV. And I believe they changed the Winamp Music from nsa (Nullsoft Audio) to wma, but I can't check because it keeps crashing. Shoutcast radio and TV are still MP3 and NSV though.
      • I walked in thinking "OH noes! PST and outlook!" Since the AOL email client stores all the emails on the server, it was pretty painless.

        It's called using Outlook/Thunderbird/program-of-choice with IMAP. I use TB on my desktop and laptop so I never have to worry about one computer's inbox being out-of-sync since it pulls e-mails from the server.

      • Me too!!!!!


        <G> sorry, couldn't resist...
      • Re:Just a thought (Score:2, Insightful)

        by clayanderson (632673)
        You clearly have not had to deal with AOL's continued poor decision-making over the years.

        In the early days, they were actually much better. They made a valuable contribution back then: they made this new 'Internet' thing accessible to the masses. (And back then, it needed the help...when it was mostly a bunch of BBS's.)

        But AOL soon lost it. They got exceptionally greedy, for one, evidenced most clearly by the purchase of Time Warner. And they completely lost any and all focus on their customers. For YEARS
    • AOL sucks? Tell that to all those people who use AIM everyday.

      • Re:Just a thought (Score:2, Interesting)

        by pluther (647209)
        OK.
        As a person who uses AIM every day, I have to concur with the consensus: AOL sucks.
        Since the rest of my team at my new job uses it, I went ahead and signed up for an AIM account myself. I used my own home email address for the contact. Why does AOL insist you provide a valid email address? Apparently to sell to the spammers.

        Despite clicking all the "don't advertise" "don't share my address" "don't tell me about exciting new products or features" buttons, the account I used, which previously averaged p
  • by andphi (899406) <(phillipsam) (at) (gmail.com)> on Monday July 10, 2006 @06:04PM (#15694182) Journal
    So...AOL users will finally get their money's worth?
  • by Dekortage (697532) on Monday July 10, 2006 @06:05PM (#15694186) Homepage

    "In May 2006, 14.8 billion pages were viewed on AOL's branded service -- by both paying users and others -- down 27 percent from a year earlier, according to comScore MediaMetrix. In the same period, Yahoo's page views increased by 10 percent, to 38.1 billion."

    Here's a clue: try improving the quality rather than lowering the price. Actually, chances are that AOL's stuff isn't that bad (/. bashers aside) but just the fact that it says "AOL" on it gives people a certain predisposition against it. So, a second clue: try honestly rebranding yourself to improve market perception. If McDonald's can do it, AOL can too.

    • Actually, chances are that AOL's stuff isn't that bad

      Not being funny, but you can't of used it. It really does suck. Bad browser, proprietary jpg format, spam + pop-ups everywhere, and a terrible email client are just some of the highlights. My mum has it and gets porno emails by the truckload. It's actually quite embarrassing cleaning the thing up for her. Trouble is she won't change to anything else as it just scares her (it's different). I should think that accounts for about half their user base.
    • I'm so gonna get modded down for this. -sigh-

      I'm not sure exactly how you mean 're-branding', but if you think changing their logo or even their name will make techies think anything but 'newb' when they see it, you're dead wrong.

      I think you may also suffer from a perspective problem. Not every person out there thinks of AOL as 'newb-ville'. Most non-geeks actually think it's just a rather large internet service provider that has many 'features' and is very very well known. They have heard jokes about i
      • Modded down? Why? Intelligent response, especially for /.

        Anyway: re-read my original post. I gave two suggestions: improving the quality of goods, and honest rebranding. I used the McDonald's as an example because (at least in the U.S.) they didn't just change public perception of themselves, they actually improved their menu to be more healthy. I don't eat at Mickey D's often, but with a spouse who is a nutritionist, I hear about this stuff a lot... you can still order a Deluxe McGob-o-Grease, but yo

  • Sad News (Score:2, Informative)

    by Yaksha42 (856623)
    No More AOL CDs [nomoreaolcds.com], while they may accomplish the goal of stopping CDs from being sent out, may not be able to achieve that goal of rolling up to AOL HQ with a million CDs.
  • Disturbance (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 10, 2006 @06:10PM (#15694228)
    Today, I felt a great disturbance in the force...

    It was as if millions of mail carriers suddenly cried out, then, peaceful silence.
  • by PCM2 (4486) on Monday July 10, 2006 @06:13PM (#15694248) Homepage
    As someone who works in publishing, [infoworld.com] this seems symptomatic of what is a very disturbing trend to me. Somebody has to pay for content. Popular wisdom is that the consumers of that content won't pay for it. There's only one other place to go for the money, it seems, and that's advertisers.

    I don't know how to feel about it. I'm somebody who hates ads. I watch a lot of PBS, tend to rent shows on DVD rather than watch them when broadcast on commercial television, or if I do watch them, I skip the ads in my DVR. Likewise, I run AdBlock and an aggressive set of filters in Firefox. My goal is to see no advertisements at all. Ironically, however, those same ads are my livelihood. Am I cutting my own throat?

    Even scarier is the fact that all the movie and TV studios are aware of this behavior and are taking steps to correct for it. Product placement, for example -- it's no coincidence that guy is drinking a Coke and not a Pepsi, or that there's a big RSA Security logo on that video monitor in that episode of "24."

    So if we don't want to pay for our content, and we refuse to be receptive to traditional advertising messages, how long before that kind of influence gains a foothold in other kinds of media? I work in the trade press, so we're right on the cusp of that -- some people will never believe that a story in my magazine is meant to be impartial, no matter what it says. But does anyone really think the mainstream news media -- even something like the New York Times -- is completely impervious?

    I really, really do not want to live in the kind of world where every flat surface is paved with an ad, every movie is a sales vehicle, every TV show is a survey, every newspaper article is corporate public relations. But is it avoidable, given the direction our society is going?
    • I know, I've found the pervasiveness of advertising very disturbing, too.

      But what's really scary is that AOL is talking about a move to being ad-supported. Last time I saw AOL, it was covered with ads, and pop-ups were everywhere already. Exactly how much advertising does Miller have in mind?

      No thanks. I'll stick with Firefox and AdBlock.

      • No thanks. I'll stick with Firefox and AdBlock.

        And that's exactly what wrong with advertising. Smart people (usually the ones with more money) are finding more and more ways to avoid it, which is fair since advertising has become more and more pervasing, intrusive and down-right annoying. I take great glee in shutting off loud obnoxious ads from the radio and TV, although when they are not obnoxious or (Heaven forfend!) interesting or entertaining, I might not bother.

        I can't remember the last time I saw a
      • I'll stick with Firefox and AdBlock.

        There's a huge problem with AdBlock, and it just got worse with 0.7.

        It accepts subscriptions.

        Advertisers have been able to safely ignore ad blocking software, for the most part. The proverbial Joe Sixpack doesn't have the wherewithal to install AdBlock by himself. Even if he did, he might not have noticed the extra extension required to automatically download configuration files. It was too much work for the "mundanes."

        Along comes AdBlock 0.7. When you install

        • And you're right, that this is how many advertiser see this. That's unfortunate, because it entirely misses the point. As long as advertisers insist on forcing ads down our throat, so long as they're annoying ads for things we don't want, there will be those of us who find ways to avoid them. We'll make ourselves harder to reach.

          Sites that want users to continue to see their ads should show restraint in the advertising they show. No pop-ups. Nothing annoying. Just plain, simple, clearly marked, taste

    • Popular wisdom is that the consumers of that content won't pay for it.

      Actually, that is a lie perpetuated by cable companies that wanted to double dip their revenues.

      People wanted to pay for programming with no ads... Remember the original setup in the 80's with cable? There is a market for "good" programming being sold directly to the consumer.

      However, I use the word "good" loosely because most programming on standard TV is nothing but cheap crap thrown together for the most viewers in whatever niche possi
      • People wanted to pay for programming with no ads... Remember the original setup in the 80's with cable? There is a market for "good" programming being sold directly to the consumer.


        Which is exactly why I am so close to canceling my cable subscription. I almost hate to do it, since it seems to be a good deal ($30/month for digital) but I agree with your sentiment; if I like the content, I'm willing to pay for it directly and not deal with advertising.

      • >People wanted to pay for programming with no ads... Remember the original setup in the 80's with cable?
        >There is a market for "good" programming being sold directly to the consumer.

        That might have been true in the 80's, but not today. Today, you can have "good" programming (whatever that means to you) for free. Just find yourself a .torrent, newgroup, or P2P network and you can have whatever programming you fancy for free.

        The simple fact is, today, the only way people will pay for digital content i
    • by ConceptJunkie (24823) on Monday July 10, 2006 @06:40PM (#15694406) Homepage Journal
      I agree that advertising alone is an outdated business model. I mean, newspapers and radio are really hot right now, NOT. The fact of the matter is, however, that's exactly what Google is doing, and they seem to be doing just fine with advertising providing their only revenue.

      Web 2.0 has been a big buzzword for the last year, and the technological achievements and potential are impressive and exciting. But name me one Web 2.0 business that is actually a successful business! And even if there are some (MySpace?) that are generating non-trivial revenue, they are doing so through advertising.

      Paying for content online has some serious hills to climb because ultimately customers want something concrete for their money. If you buy a newspaper for 50 cents, you get dozens of pages of content (and full-page bra and panty ads if it's the Washington Post), so what would be a analogous price for a single article (let's forget for a minute that most Web-based news articles consist of about two paragraphs and are barely a summary leave alone an actual article)? Would you pay to post on /.? Micropayments are certainly a possibility, but after years of "all you can eat", who's going to want to suddenly start paying per page, even for good content?

      For people who aren't selling actual objects and services, whether it's Amazon selling books or iTunes selling MP3 files (which are still concrete enough to make feel like you are "getting something") or Everquest selling some Chinese slave laborer a change to farm gold, who is actually making money on the Internet without relying mostly or even solely on advertising?

      In other words, if the customers aren't shopping and there's no advertising, how exactly is someone going to make money on sites like /., Digg or IMDB? I go to IMDB almost daily, but I have to admit I'd balk at having to pay to access it. AOL's past success was in providing content their customers couldn't get anywhere else, but now they can't do that any more because relatively few people are still accessing the Internet through AOL and its client.

      Ultimately, I don't think the post-advertising/non-subscription business model has been discovered yet. So I don't think you can criticize AOL for doing the only thing I think they possibly can do, at least for now. My biggest criticism would be that they took too long to figure this out. But the company is too big and has far too many resources to just disappear; it just won't be the AOL we've come to know and joke about.

      • But name me one Web 2.0 business that is actually a successful business!

        Quite a few actually - you've probably just never heard of them:

        • BlinkSale [blinksale.com] invoicing (which I actually pay for)
        • BaseCamp [basecamphq.com] and half a dozen other 37signals [37signals.com] services.
        • Zimbra webmail [zimbra.com]
        • Zazzle [zazzle.com]
        • Tons more that i'm not linking to...

        Ads don't have to dominate. And not everything has to be or even wants to be monetized.

        Ultimately, I don't think the post-advertising/non-subscription business model has been discovered yet.

        Oh I think it's been discov

        • Once the mass of humanity is freed from the need to scramble for scarce necessities...

          I think this is a beautiful, but utterly naive sentiment. As society progresses, we constantly change what we define "necessities" to be, so that everyone can never have them.

          Consider what was considered the 'basic necessities' for life 100 years ago, and compare it to today. Things that were utterly frivolous luxuries (like air conditioning) not too many generations ago are considered so critical to life today, that if yo

    • I watch a lot of PBS, tend to rent shows on DVD rather than watch them when broadcast on commercial television, or if I do watch them, I skip the ads in my DVR.

      As far as I'm concerned, that's the key. Give us the choice: ads or cash. I understand money needs to come from somewhere, but I want some control about whether I pay for it via my time or my wallet. For television, for instance, I really like what ABC is doing. Want their shows in high quality? Buy the DVD. A bit cheaper and right now, but
      • I think you've hit the nail on the head. Pity you don't work in a corner office for some studio somewhere.

        It's not that 'people are unwilling to pay for content' -- the sales of TV shows on DVD show that's obviously false. People are very willing to pay for content, when it's presented to them in the right way.

        The rise of Netflix and DVD sales should have been a wake-up call to the studios, that given the choice between paying a few bucks a month (in the case of a rental service) and watching ads, people wi
    • Ads don't really bother me anymore, as long as I can eventually block them out (e.g. turn off the TV). What ever method of ads will be seen as such (Everytime I see a product placement I always think how much they paid for it and that Wayne's World scene.)

      What bothers me are childern being to exposed to ads. They don't even realize what is happening and they are very impressionable.
      • "What bothers me are childern being to exposed to ads. They don't even realize what is happening and they are very impressionable."

        That bothers me almost as much as adults being exposed to PR. But at least one can educate the children.

    • The solution is better/targeted advertising. Advertising (and moronic network executives) are currently stuck in the same diminishing returns/kill the messenger cycle as the MPAA/RIAA is. Deprived of a captive audience, they freak out trying to further oversaturate the world in ads, which makes people turn off further. But there are three better ways:

      a. Make people want to see ads. A good ad will make people stop and rewind their PVR and watch it over. It will make people send it to their friends. Remember
    • don't know how to feel about it. I'm somebody who hates ads. I watch a lot of PBS, tend to rent shows on DVD rather than watch them when broadcast on commercial television, or if I do watch them, I skip the ads in my DVR. Likewise, I run AdBlock and an aggressive set of filters in Firefox. My goal is to see no advertisements at all. Ironically, however, those same ads are my livelihood. Am I cutting my own throat?

      What's wrong with ads exactly? If you don't like the products advertised don't buy them. I
      • Ad's on pavement aren't bad either, are they taking away from some beauty of paved ground?

        My answer is: Yeah, absolutely. Ads are garish, insulting, occasionally degrading, and generally offensive. I'll take the quirky charms of a slab of dry concrete any day.

        But then, I live in a major city and I don't own a car, ergo I spend a lot of time staring at paved ground. Your mileage may vary (no pun intended).

        Also, as somebody else pointed out, you could argue that ads are fine for you and me as experien

        • I also live in a major city (Manhattan) and don't have a liscense (I own two cars though) I'm guessing you're from the west coat because of the arrowhead reference (I only saw that water when I lived in Arizona for 6 months.) Anyway, I've never actually seen an ad on the concrete but I'm more bothered by the fact that there's concrete where there was once a forest bed (or desert in the case of Arizona) rather than there being an ad on the pavement (which I haven't seen.) What about the building the concre
          • What about the building the concrete is in front of? Isn't the sign like a giant advertisement to come inside, should those be allowed? Should we only allow a certain typeface a certain size, a certain number of lights?

            Yes, yes, and YES! In fact most cities have such ordinances. Outdoor advertising of the likes of Times Square is illegal almost everywhere else, barring maybe Las Vegas. You certainly can't do it in my hometown (San Francisco). All billboards have to be licensed by the municipality -- thi

            • Yes, yes, and YES! In fact most cities have such ordinances. Outdoor advertising of the likes of Times Square is illegal almost everywhere else, barring maybe Las Vegas. You certainly can't do it in my hometown (San Francisco). All billboards have to be licensed by the municipality -- this is true even in New York. These are community standards that under all circumstances should be determined by the residents, not corporate interests.

              I can agree with that for a residential neighborhood where lots of lig
      • What's wrong with ads exactly?

        Most steal people's time and attention and give nothing valuable in return. And the time of your life is the most important thing you have.

        If the ads take away from the TV show to the point where you can't enjoy it, don't watch that show.

        Since the net value of such TV is now zero I for one don't watch it. Ever wondered why network TV audiences are going down?

        If advertising gets me the TV shows I enjoy and brings them to me for free, I'm all for it.

        It's not free.

    • Don't worry soon you will be forced to watch ads. They still won't be able to actually tie you down and tape your eyelids or anything (yet) but you won't be able to skip them soon enough.

      Also the ads will be in the content itself with product placement and the characters raving about a product. Remember the junior mint episode of seinfeld? Just like that.
    • I really, really do not want to live in the kind of world where every flat surface is paved with an ad, every movie is a sales vehicle, every TV show is a survey, every newspaper article is corporate public relations. But is it avoidable, given the direction our society is going?

      Three words: British Broadcasting Corporation [bbc.co.uk].

    • Whilst RTFAing, I had a related thought: Every business that possibly can is moving to an advertising or services business model. What happens when there are no other types of business left?

  • by DysenteryInTheRanks (902824) on Monday July 10, 2006 @06:15PM (#15694259) Homepage
    All I can say about this "Jonathan Miller" is that he's an incredible visionary and way ahead of his time.

    For those unfamiliar with his vision for the future, Mr. Miller would replace our telephone modulator-demodulators with an "Ethernet" entering the home over thick black cables -- or perhaps even copper telephone wiring!

    Anyone the world over could view America OnLine's pictures through an interconnected "Web" of compters independent of the company. They could even manipulate America OnLine's own computers to "search" this "Web!" How very generous!!

    This new vision for inter-networking has already caught on with the kids, who have crowned it "CyberWeb 2.0" or somesuch.

    I would explain further, but I must telegraph my stockbroker posthaste, to see if we can't convince this America OnLine to detach itself from old Time Inc. and sell off its own shares! It's growth potential is simply ex-plosive!

    Posting via dictaphone,
    Charles Fornwall Huston XII
  • "Dismantling of marketing" "towards using advertising" ?

    AOL = Advertisements On Line
    10.0 Free Advertisement Edition
    [as opposed to Advertisement Free Edition]
    Brilliant!
  • cities rejoice (Score:2, Redundant)

    by fermion (181285) *
    as they no long have to build a new landfill just for AOL cds and packaging. As least with the disks I could use them. How much more would CD-RW have cost?
  • Paradigm Shift? (Score:5, Informative)

    by gamer4Life (803857) on Monday July 10, 2006 @06:23PM (#15694305)
    They can start by avoiding the words "Paradigm Shift".
  • Wait A Sec... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by somethinghollow (530478) on Monday July 10, 2006 @06:24PM (#15694318) Homepage Journal

    They are just now relying on ads as their main source of revenue? Back when I used AOL, their ads were pervasive to the point of being annoying. Everyone I know that uses AIM thinks the number of ads are annoying.

    So, what they are saying is that it will only get more annoying as they bump off dial-up. Great plan, AOL.

    If AOL wanted to swap from service revenue to an ad revenue, they shouldn't have been shoving as many ads down people's throats before the switch.

    • I haven't used AIM in years. I've moved onto GAIM and promised myself never to be saddled with that bloated IM client known as AIM.
  • I find it amusing how it took the behemoth of a company this long to realize that charging nearly 25-dollars-a-month for dial-up access is ridiculous. Of course, they tried to up-sell their "premium content" all of which could be had for free elsewhere on the world wide web. This was a prime example of executives lagging on meeting consumer needs/desires in the name of greed.
  • Typo (Score:5, Funny)

    by metamatic (202216) on Monday July 10, 2006 @06:31PM (#15694354) Homepage Journal
    "AOL Paradigm Shift"

    How did that letter 'f' get in there?
  • Sounds like a good idea. It could become a serious competitor to Yahoo if it drops its dial up. They have the parts and large customer base, but the execution sucks. This would allow TimeWarner to become the behemoth that everyone was scared of whenthe merger occurred. They can bypass many of the SEC merger restrictions by not offering ISP services at all.

    I think they should sell it off or spin out the dial up, rather than shutting it down. LAst thing they need to do is alienate the customers they have le
  • Old paradigm: Charge more for less.
    New Paradigm: Charge more for a little less.
  • Next thing you'll tell me the Soviet Union is going to break itself up.
  • I hope this means they make Yahoo Instant Messenger open source! LOL, good luck, I know.
  • by mind21_98 (18647) on Monday July 10, 2006 @06:55PM (#15694480) Homepage Journal
    Does this mean Eternal September [wikipedia.org] is almost over? ;)
  • I hope they remember to leverage their synergies. Don't shift without a clutch.
  • ...from Assholes On Line. Like how SGI renamed themselves from Silicon Graphics Inc.
  • AOL could adopt the motto, "Don't Suck." It wouldn't help, though.
  • I've been on hi-speed for about 6 years now, so the whole AOL/dial-up thing is sorta moot from where I sit. However, the following caught my attention (from TFA):

    Mr. Goldston also noted that dial-up Internet access had become phenomenally profitable in recent years as the wholesale telecommunications costs to providers like AOL have fallen from 45 cents an hour to less than 6 cents an hour.

    I see "PeoplePC" and "EarthLink" commercials on TV on a regular basis, and both charge less than half of AOL's $

  • AOL has some useful content very much in the way that MSN has some useful content. People already go to AOL.com for the entertainment news, free music previews and such. With free email (not a new concept) people may stop buy more often. It seems that they might be trying to take on Google and Microsoft for the content and search areas of the web market.
  • First symptom: CEOs who use nonsensical marketing-speak like "paradigm shift" when what they really mean is "going out of business - everything half price".
  • In 1997-8, AOL had by far the best dial-up internet service in the US, as well as a very mixed bag of software and content (I'd be even harsher, but at that point the sheer mass of people in chat rooms and so on DID count for quite a bit on the quantity vs. quality scale). It rightly focused its marketing intensely on its virtues as an ISP, probably inspired by at least two very smart consultants (the other one being my partner Linda Barlow, but I digress ...)

    At the time, I thought they had about two years

How many hardware guys does it take to change a light bulb? "Well the diagnostics say it's fine buddy, so it's a software problem."

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