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AOL Hopes to Change Image With Services

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the watch-for-low-flying-pigs dept.

America Online 197

Geoffrey writes "'In an effort to earn a new reputation as a leading Internet destination, AOL will open up to a wider audience on the Web through AOL.com. The portal will re-launch in beta form on Tuesday, offering visitors free Web mail, exclusive audio and video content, and access to a number of AOL services previously available only to subscribers,' reports BetaNews. The new AOL.com will highlight news from the blogosphere, offer free access to 15,000 videos, 130 radio stations, and 20 XM stations. In addition, AOL is launching an RSS aggregator that aims to make RSS actually simple for normal Web users. And unlike MSN's RSS endeavor, My AOL will work in Firefox, Safari and other browsers."

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Sorry AOL (5, Funny)

chadpnet (627771) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873713)

I hate to break the news to you but you are 12 years too late.

Re:Sorry AOL (5, Interesting)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873835)

AOL was a useful service once upon a time, like compuserve and prodigy. Technology has obsoleted it, and now they're struggling to find a place in the world.

Unfortunately corporations reach a point where they feel like they must be immortal. Sometimes you make something people like for a while, then they don't need it and you need to find something else to do. It's no ones fault, it just happens. Time to move on, do it gracefully, help your employees move on and then close up shop.

AOL however seems to envision itself as an eternal net parasite, preying on people who don't know any better. At least they could make nicer coasters.

Austerity Empowers, Councilor for the Undead

Re:Sorry AOL (1)

British (51765) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874022)

AOL was a useful service once upon a time, like compuserve and prodigy

Ah yes, Compu$erve, where you were charged by THE HOUR to use their service. I think they had premium services too.

Didn't they also have some networked air combat flight sim many many many years ago, before online multiplayer games were commonplace?

Re:Sorry AOL (2, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874082)

Ah yes, Compu$erve, where you were charged by THE HOUR to use their service. I think they had premium services too. Didn't they also have some networked air combat flight sim many many many years ago, before online multiplayer games were commonplace?

I seem to remember the flight sim, yes. I also remember thinking they should have implemented an online snail racing game to maximize revenues from their insane hourly rates.

Re:Sorry AOL (2, Funny)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874172)

Prodigy and AOL both used to charge by the hour, too. My dad's beating arm was very sore after I spent 45 dollars playing Prodigy's maze game.

Re:Sorry AOL (2, Insightful)

Scaba (183684) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874074)

Like Nokia. They started out [wired.com] making rubber boots and toilet paper.

Yes and No (3, Insightful)

Gruneun (261463) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873939)

A few years ago, I'm sure plenty of people told the Google guys that they were a few years too late for making a search engine.

AOL's problem is the Internet-for-beginners stigma that's attached to their name. My bet is the better move would be to dump their millions into a new brand, push their current user base towards it, and hope the non-AOL users will underestimate the connection.

Re:Sorry AOL (2, Funny)

Scaba (183684) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873951)

No, this is just a typical AOL "Me too! [catb.org] " response.

Re:Sorry AOL (3, Interesting)

Momoru (837801) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873997)

Um...great idea AOL, offer even LESS of a reason for people to continue paying for your service? Right now the only reason to stay a member is for the "exclusive content" (oh and the delightful chat rooms?). Now they are taking a lot of that exclusivity away? For the love of God AOL, you are a part of Time Warner...surely someone somewhere can see a better way to leverage all that media power???

Re:Sorry AOL (1)

kc0re (739168) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874081)

Mod: Redundant.. It sucked then, it sucks now. Give it up.

AOL = evil. (1)

Cedric Tsui (890887) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874220)

They market themselves here in Canada as "AOL Canada" which I always thought was a terrible oxymoron. (This coming from the country with a constitutional monarchy mind you)

I took all their CDs and glued them shiny side up on my wall. The rainbows add a nice touch.

I believe there was a project to dump one million AOL cds in their parking lot one day. Anyone heard if they've progressed?

Who cares? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12873714)

I mean, really.

Wider audience? (0, Troll)

dhanks (588795) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873722)

I wear a size XXXXL you insensitive clod!

Re:Wider audience? (1, Funny)

Leroy_Brown242 (683141) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873945)

As a dress, I hope.

I mean, damn. i can't imagine the size of person that would be required to make that shirt fit. :)

Re:Wider audience? (1)

Professr3 (670356) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874265)

A certain character from Austin Powers, I believe :P

Frankly.. (4, Insightful)

aldatur (893868) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873725)

I think that AOL will always have a stigma with geeks of being a piece of crap. And to tell you the truth, I have a bad feeling that this new service set will only confirm that stereotype.

Re:Frankly.. (2, Funny)

dsginter (104154) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873840)

And to tell you the truth, I have a bad feeling that this new service set will only confirm that stereotype.

But more importantly, how will this decision threaten Linux on the desktop?

Re:Frankly.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12873900)

An undeserved sterotype, imo. AOL has done a lot to make the Internet safer for the average luser to play around in. They package free anti-virus software, spyware cleaners, parental controls, and they filter most of the bad stuff before it hits your inbox.

You can see their success in a low percentage of bots stemming from AOL accounts. Computers are NOT the appliances that they are sold as, but AOL helps make that closer to a reality. Get off their backs, imo. They provide a good service.

Re:Frankly.. (2, Funny)

Intron (870560) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874151)

I have to agree that AOL has come a long way in grinding the rough edges off the net for its users. One of the stupidest people I know can use the internet only because of AOL [yes, I mean YOU, the one who bought her computer on Home Shopping Channel, fer Chrissakes].

Re:Frankly.. (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874255)

Botnets of dial up users are near useless. Sure, there is AOL for Broadband, but the bot would be doing its own thing without AOL. That may also explain why the bot percentile for AOL is relatively low.

I admit I have never tried or even examined the anti-virus, anti-spyware, ect. from them, but I would be very hesitant to rely on it.

Parental controls, while a good idea, are inherantly flawed in my opinion. I'm not going to get into that unless someone replies and wants to debate.

Re:Frankly.. (1)

zero_offset (200586) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873950)

More importantly, many geeks, myself included, endure great suffering in order to educate regular people about how much AOL sucks. It's pretty great when a computer novice has that "Eureka moment" and suddenly understands why I've been telling them to ditch AOL for the past several years.

Plus, I think it's healthy for the geeks to interact with computer users who are operating at the total-neophyte level of understanding. I was reminded of this recently when I realized a good friend (car buddy, has almost no interest in computers except hot rod websites) truly wasn't grasping the differences between "AOL" and "the Internet" and "the web". The phoenomenon wasn't new to me, but the fact that such information was still a mystery to somebody who got online daily was a bit of an eye-opener.

Re:Frankly.. (1)

Local Loop (55555) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874203)

Yes that stereotype will probably never go away. But every now and then I see something advertised with an "AOL Keyword" that I would like to know more about...

Maybe now I'll be able to check out some of that stuff without having to be a member.

Of course I have to wonder how bright some of these companies really are, restricting their advertising to the limited userbase of AOL, instead of just putting it up on a website.

Maybe AOL is offering free bandwidth in exchange for exclusivity...

New web comic: Jendini.com [jendini.com] , home of Zillion Zombies Zone!

1992 Called... (5, Funny)

1992 Called (893858) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873729)

They want their crappy ISP back.

Re:1992 Called... (0)

Leroy_Brown242 (683141) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873976)

This joke is losing it's appeal. . .

also overheard at AOL..... (3, Funny)

perigee369 (837140) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873732)

" All your RSS are belong to us..."

In lack of words... (-1, Troll)

markild (862998) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873734)

...I can say anything else than:


Re:In lack of words... (1)

hodet (620484) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873767)

I was thinking more like; yaaaaaaaaaaawnnnnn!!!

ha (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12873744)

lol lol lol LMFAO

Hey AOL (5, Funny)

all yr bass r belong (893681) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873749)

All your user base are belong to us.

-- The rest of the Internet's ISPs

I don't know... (2, Insightful)

udderly (890305) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873752)

Does anyone out there think that this will work? Personally, I think that the only thing that has kept AOL from folding is the sheer size of their original user base. But they are dropping off like flies due to broadband.

I would be very surprised if they could pull this off.

Re:I don't know... (4, Insightful)

chris09876 (643289) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873822)

I predicted about 10 years ago that AOL would die, and they're still alive (struggling, but still kicking). I still think that the demise of AOL is coming (and long overdue), but they seem to find new ways to stay alive (becoming part of Time Warner, etc).

I would also be surprised if they could pull something like this off... the internet portal market is already quite crowded. I just don't see room for another yahoo-type service

Re:I don't know... (1)

bodester17 (892112) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874006)

Many people are getting broadband and keeping their AOL account because they are too scared about learning something new and they think AOL is the easiest thing out there. So that means most of these families are forking over $60-$80 /month for internet! I can count at least 5 families I know who are doing this.

Oh great.. (4, Insightful)

slummy (887268) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873758)

Sounds to me like a bait 'n switch. If they're going to offer these free services, rest assured they're going to try and pound a subscription up your ass every step of the way.

Re:Oh great.. (1)

HappyDrgn (142428) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874142)

I logged in to their free webmail using my regular AIM userid (it's 2GB btw), no pounding in the ass yet... though I'm sure it's coming soon...

AOL does a good thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12873768)

These services sound nice, but are they also going to add new services for their paid subscribers? Or do they figure they won't care and that isn't the reason people sign up for AOL?

Wider audience, but just as dumb (2, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873778)

AOL is launching an RSS aggregator that aims to make RSS actually simple

I notice they don't intend to change what kind of users they want to attract. I mean, how hard is it to use RSS these days? it's just one click to install a RSS newsreader (unless they're running into Bezos' patent or something).

Re:Wider audience, but just as dumb (1)

thinkliberty (593776) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873881)

KDE has already done this... there is a little orange rss logo at the bottom right hand of the web browser when you visit a site with an RSS feed. You click it and it is added to KDE's RSS reader.


Re:Wider audience, but just as dumb (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873948)

KDE has already done this...

AOL users aren't renowned for using, much less simply knowning about KDE.

AOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12873787)

Does this mean that AOL will reduce subscription rates? I mean if they're giving away the good stuff now, why should a subscriber have to keep paying the same amount monthly..?

Keep trying..... (-1, Flamebait)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873792)

They are still trying to harvest email addresses.

Everyone will like it! (2, Funny)

yellowbkpk (890493) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873793)

Everyone will like it because its logo will have the word "Beta" in a cute little font down in the corner.

It's the cool thing to do now, doncha know??

What AOL ought to do... (2, Interesting)

jarich (733129) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873797)

What AOL ought to do is start distributing the latest version of Mozilla and Open Office on all the CDs, right alongside of their own ISP software. Then people would actually keep the CDs around instead of pitching them.

This would be a huge PR coup for AOL as well a boon for the open source community.

I actually got an AOL CD with my newspaper last week-end!

Re:What AOL ought to do... (1)

snorklewacker (836663) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873966)

What AOL ought to do is start distributing the latest version of Mozilla and Open Office on all the CDs, right alongside of their own ISP software. Then people would actually keep the CDs around instead of pitching them.

Yes, not only would they keep the CD's, they would call AOL for tech support on every OpenOffice question or issue they have. As for the PR coup, it might score with geeks, but guess who their market is not?

Re:What AOL ought to do... (1)

flood6 (852877) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874013)

Wow, no kidding. If that was an original idea, it's the best one I've heard in a long while. Mozilla, OOo, Firefox, Thunderbird would be great. But I'm betting that if AOL was going to distribute a stand-alone browser with their ISP poop it would be the new Netscape.

Are there any licensing concerns with any of that stuff being distributed with AOL software?

Canceling their service... (5, Informative)

coop0030 (263345) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873809)

Maybe if they didn't make it a bitch to cancel the service, we wouldn't be afraid to try them out again.

Seriously, after canceling from them (I tried it for free for a month); I will never, ever, ever sign up with any of their services ever again.

They like to put you on hold, and then keep offering discounts, and finally they will cancel your account...if your nice to them...after about 25 minutes of bantering back and forth.

That is what ruined it for me. The free CD's don't even bother me.

Re:Canceling their service... (1)

markild (862998) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873925)

Yeah! That actually has a lot to say. If you got some test-time, you will win a lot if you announce it with a text like "no binding sign up" or something (that beeing that it actually isn't binding!).

I've noticed this my self. In sevral accations I have signed up on stuff just because of the sign up not beeing final, and then after the free tryout, signed up for the full product.

Re:Canceling their service... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12874025)

WTF? Please go back and finish the 6th grade, then try your post again.

Re:Canceling their service... (2, Informative)

yellowbkpk (890493) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874010)

From their Member Agreement http://legal.web.aol.com/aol/aolpol/memagree.html [aol.com] :

You can cancel your membership by delivering notice to AOL's Customer Service Department at 1-888-265-8008, by sending your cancellation request via US Mail to: America Online, Inc., PO Box 17100, Jacksonville, FL 32245-7100, or by fax at (904) 232-4879. Cancellation will take effect within 72 hours of receipt of your request, and AOL will send you written confirmation. If you cancel near the end of your billing period and are inadvertently charged for the next month's fee contact AOL at the toll free number above to have the charges reversed. AOL reserves the right to collect fees, surcharges or costs incurred before you cancel your AOL membership. In addition, you are responsible for any charges incurred to third-party vendors or content providers prior to your cancellation.

Re:Canceling their service... (1)

bodester17 (892112) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874044)

I love the free CDs. I have over 200 free DVD and CD cases thanks to AOL.

Re:Canceling their service... (1)

yagu (721525) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874059)

YOU had trouble cancelling AOL! You!

It's been over five years since I convinced my parents to drop AOL for an ISP, and they still don't know if they have AOL or not. (Though the calls for "cancel AOL" support from them have dropped off in the last couple of years!)

Re:Canceling their service... (2, Informative)

shic (309152) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874102)


I've despised AOL ever since I tried their 28 day "no risk" free trial back in 1994-ish (I was in a bind and needed net access and their trial was the only option open to me.) I went from assuming it would give me net-access at noon to despair at their service at 2pm (having failed to download a 50K file over FTP) to cancelling my trial at 4pm after spending 2 hours on the phone to their customer services waiting in a call queue from hell. I was assured my trial would be terminated automatically if I didn't re-use my logon and password - so destroyed my only copies and forgot about it. A couple of months later I discovered that AOL had been drawing on my bank account WITHOUT MY PERMISSION for the service I had been assured was closed. I contacted AOL who insisted they had no record of billing me, so couldn't stop. I contacted my bank who pointed out that as AOL had taken SWITCH payment and not direct debit (as would have been in line with the bank's code of conduct for customer-absent regular billing) they couldn't help. As far as the bank was concerend either I made the purchase in person (and was liable) or it was criminal transaction - for which I was liable. To make matters worse my bank would not arbitrate the dispute as their policy precluded investigations where each charge is small-value... a fact I suspect AOL were aware. I was forced to declare my switch card stolen and suffer a week without access to my account... my only course of action to recover the stolen money would have been a private civil lawsuit against AOL - which, I'm sad to say, I didn't feel wealthy enough to bring.

These days I try to warn others that AOL CAN'T BE TRUSTED instead.

Re:Canceling their service... (1)

dagr8tim (866860) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874159)

Seriously, after canceling from them (I tried it for free for a month); I will never, ever, ever sign up with any of their services ever again. When I first met my wife she had AOL. She had the service for literally a year after we met because I kept calling to cancel for her, and they kept giving 3 free months at a pop.

Free != Good Service (3, Insightful)

mislam (755292) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873825)

I am sorry to say this but just because all the services that they are now happily giving away will NOT make them a better service provider. If they could not provide good service to customers who paid 23.95/month how can anyone expect that the free users will get a better service?

I'm so sick of "Blogs" (1)

LifeMatesCanada.Com (893630) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873830)

I don't understand the constant media attention over the blogging "phenomenon". They've been around since the beginning of the Internet, why is blogging news? Although it will be nice to watch the handful of companies trying to turn a marketing buck from them crash and burn.

Re:I'm so sick of "Blogs" (1)

markild (862998) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873985)

My guess would be that is just lately that services like blogger.com has come around. For a very long time people has had access to both rss and blog, but you would have to know a lot about it to stand a chance.

Back in the days free hosting was new, a lot of people didn't use it because they would have to make the sites them selves...

Dis aint enders game! (1)

ILKO_deresolution (352578) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874017)

seriously not like theres political forums
we can advance ourselves in huh.
blogs are retarded until we can seriously
do some shit like enders brother.

Re:I'm so sick of "Blogs" (1)

sp3tt (856121) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874021)

It is news because the public is catching on. Every man and his dog have a blog.


Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12873834)

Aol is great...great features, great speed, great usefulness, great to pay twice to access the internet which is basically what most users use it for, great brand name...

(fill in Triumph's trademark comment here)

News from the Blogosphere? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12873852)

Are they pulling from AOL blogs? I always wanted to have a collection of stories from high school girls about the prom and make-up.

Re:News from the Blogosphere? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12874051)

now you know how 95% of America feels about the shit you like to talk about and read about

Re:News from the Blogosphere? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12874196)

Sadly, that 95% you're refering to is writing about make-up and the prom on the internet.

MSN's RSS Endeavor (4, Informative)

Carnage4Life (106069) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873859)

The article links to the wrong URL for MSN's experimental RSS reader. The right URL is http://www.start.com/myw3b/ [start.com] and it works just fine in Firefox as well as IE.

If you are interested in the developments of the RSS reader you can check out some of the blogs by the folks working on the reader such as Steve Rider [msn.com] and Sanaz Ahari [msn.com] .

Disclaimer: I work at MSN

PNG Alpha?! (2, Funny)

rob123 (889566) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873980)

off topic but... I find it amusing that they themselves have realized their PNG alpha issue.. they check for IE, and then load this css [start.com]

Re:"I work at MSN" (4, Funny)

H_Fisher (808597) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874024)

Disclaimer: I work at MSN

Son, you'd best get outta town. Them men over there wit' th' penguins on their jackets just drew a bunch of guns.

Slashdottersville: Where The Good Guys Wear Red Hats

AOLers response to getting new services (2, Funny)

FerretFrottage (714136) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873863)

"me too"

Good job, AOL. (2, Insightful)

Leroy_Brown242 (683141) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873867)

You have the user base

You have the manpower

You have the money.

Now go forth and make yourself into an ISP that doesn't suck.

There is a long road ahead of you though.

Suggestion for AOL (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873880)

If you really want to change your reputation, here is something you might want to try. It will be difficult for you, but it is well worth it.


Really. Adding new features that suck and letting everyone use your old sucky features that were previously only available to members does NOT qualify as not sucking any more.

Modern as its competitors? (2, Insightful)

Iriel (810009) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873888)

I'm not even sure that's really the problem with AOL. Most of these services are already being provided by independant web sites or are rolled into the user homepage of many broadband ISPs. Why bother going to another page to get substandard audio/video feeds when your SBC/Roadrunner/whatever homepage does most (if not all) of that for you? I don't think anybody is really in the mood for another AOL browser on top of this.

Most people I know don't even associate AIM with AOL, and when that's the case, providing content that's been available through other portals for years will be quite a stretch to save the company. Catching up with the times alone will take a lot of work, but they can't be 'as modern as their competitors' to survive. They're going to need to be much more advanced to shoot past everyone else and escape the grim fate that looms overhead.

AOL (1)

MaxPowerDJ (888947) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873895)

AOL with their annoying kiosks and the salespeople hawking over bystanders. I have convinced more than one person to move away from them, right in their salespeoples faces. Their bundled browser/bad service is what drove us geeks away (among many other things). AOL software feels like it was made for pre-schoolers.

Hurrah! (2, Funny)

brontus3927 (865730) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873896)

I think this is a good thing. Why? Because I collect email addresses. I already have two aim accounts (gaim is my best friend!) so there's two new email accounts right there. Add them to the two gmail accounts, two yahoo accounts, a netscape mail account, 5 hotmail addresses, and 3 corporate emails. Now I'm up to 15 email addresses!

Re:Hurrah! (1)

bodester17 (892112) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874127)

how much time per day do you spend checking all these? Seriuosly, what do you need all these for?

I guess (1)

Markvs (17298) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873901)

That "AOL is the Internet!" just wasn't enough???

AOL image (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12873904)

Back in the 1990s I went to University by train. My University had many computer science students and most of them took the same train I used to commute to my "Big U".

So what do you do while on a train? Read tech magazines/periodicals of course. (Note: Back then notebook or laptop computers were to freakin expensive for the average CS student. That's right kids, no WLAN back then.)

And in all of those magazines and periodicals there were those "FREE AOL CDs". Tech savy as we were, we knew AOL was crap. So we threw the CDs out of the train windows to get rid of them.

This went on for years, every new week (and month) a new wave of AOL CDs (and only AOL CDs) was thrown out of the train windows by dozens (or even hundrets) of computer science studens...

Even today, on sunny days, you can see some left over CDs from those days on the train tracks. (I am not making this up...)

So, whenever I think about AOL, I think about those free CDs that went right out of the windows. Now freakin way AOL will ever have a good image in my mind... *grin*

Is RSS hard now? (1)

a_greer2005 (863926) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873914)

All you need to do is put the RSS feed in the bar in firefox and bamo - a pulldown menu with all the news...what could be easier?

Re:Is RSS hard now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12874348)

Actually it's kind of soft and limpy but ... nevermind.

Too much mindshare (2, Insightful)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873918)

AOL has brand name recognition with just about everyone in the U.S. The trouble is, when I think of AOL I think of those stacks of CDs in the Wal-Mart checkout isle and the endcaps at supermarkets. I don't think about any content I'd like to see there, despite the number of "content parters" they've signed up over the years.

It's the same reason Compuserve is such a non-player on the Internet. The industry shifted out from underneath them.

AOL wasted way too much corporate energy convincing their customers that they were the Internet, and didn't expend enough effort drawing in non-AOL dialup users with their content. Didn't they sign up exclusive content, so you couldn't get there unless you subscribed to AOL?

They're now paying for misreading the market, for not realizing that the money was in clicks, not in subscriptions.

Re:Too much mindshare (1)

joschm0 (858723) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874031)

It's the same reason Compuserve is such a non-player on the Internet. The industry shifted out from underneath them.

It's more like because AOL bought them in 1997 and pretty much ruined their business. Most Compuserve customers at the time were very loyal to them and after the AOL purchase hundreds of thousands literally dropped them overnight, myself included.

Re:Too much mindshare (1)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874162)

>AOL bought them in 1997

1997 was about five years after Compuserve should have known what to do. They were operating in the same mode as AOL: serve the dialup user, and put up barriers to everyone else.

Compuserve could have been the biggest company in the world if they'd just realized that market share was everything.

But then, hindsight's 20:20.

improve their image (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12873920)

If they stop giving out CDs, it might help. If people are constantly throwing out CDs, they will think the CDs are junk, and associate that with AOL.

That explains it. (1)

Gyga (873992) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873923)

They spammed me offering 2gb webmail, I thought it was a scam and deleted it.

Sorry, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12873924)

AOL is dead, and always will be. You can revive a dead horse. Sorry. Too many years were spent wooing dialup customers and not enough was done to serve broadband customers. Frankly, almost no one in the US uses dialup anymore unless they are living in the sticks or broke.
AOL has and always will have an image as a gated community for people who know literally nothing about computers and the Internet.

I'm still pissed at AOL (1)

joschm0 (858723) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873930)

Because they turned me down as a beta tester back in 1992 - true story

WAKE UP AOL... this won't work... (1)

Cutting_Crew (708624) | more than 9 years ago | (#12873953)

IMO heres why: #1. Your solutions are no longer usable/feasible/needed. Everything you are offering everyone else has and has for a LONG TIME. #2. People arent leaving you b/c you never had these services, they are leaving [theregister.co.uk] b/c your service sucks balls, you bill 23.95 for dial up when someone can AT LEAST pay that much for DSL -lite and in turn can get online whenever they want which in turn doesnt make them keep dialing up and dialing up and keeping getting busy signals. #3. Quit LIEING with your ads about AOL for broadband. You dont offer broadband you dimwads, you offer an overbloated piece of crap on top of your already overbloated aol software so someone out there with no sense can pay $10 more to use with a service they are already paying $30 - $40 for, especially for people that have cable. #4 -- even your most loyal user base, including even grandma's [networkworld.com] are leaving you because they are either doing the research and wisening up themselves or they have geeky grandchildren to tell them how dirty you really are. either way you lose. #5 -- 2003 25.3 Million customers, 2004, 24.0 million, 2005 21.7 million and still counting. i think thats enough said. sure you may add some people to their 'new feature(s), but you will lose many many more. i guess the only bad thing in the end will be if AOL does go belly up will be ALL the people that use AIM..but i guess we could all go to gaim or trillian.

Re:WAKE UP AOL... this won't work... (1)

bodester17 (892112) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874229)

Everything they do is lies. Talk about their computer check-up....what a joke!! Or their new virus protection....considering even free hotmail checks your emails for viruses, and with AOL's track record I would NOT trust that to keep viruses away.

Then why subscribe? (1)

James_Aguilar (890772) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874004)

All of these updated features are making me wonder why I would want to pay any kind of premium to use AOL's service over the next best DSL or Cable. Do I want to be price-raped or my internet content to be dumbed down? No? Then why should I ever buy AOL products when I can get them for free on their web portal?

Someone needs to tell AOL it is not 1995 (1)

princemackenzie (849396) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874034)

And why do they want to become yahoo? Yahoo who copies google? Aren't there enough of these portal sites anyway? I also believe that its a leap-of-faith for people to say "hmmm, AOL offers all this stuff gratis, so perhaps I should shell out 25 bucks a month for their service to get the same (free) things". This is 1995 thinking. But oh yeah, its AOL.

PR crap (1)

periol (767926) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874100)

from TFA: The AOL.com homepage, which is fully compatible with alternate browsers including Firefox and Safari

translation: AOL.com is designed according to web standards.

What are we supposed to do, applaud? This should be a minimal standard for a website, not a feature!

So what do AOL subscribers get? (1)

UltimateWager (893855) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874104)

I thought the entire point of subscribing to AOL, aside from the scorn of your company's IT department, was that you were privy to AOL's hot and exclussive content. So now they're delivering 'exclussive' content for free, whatever that means. What does that leave for customers who are paying twice as much money for half as much service? As far as I can tell, the only thing left for the subscribers to get is the shaft.

Firefox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12874115)

No Firefox support for live audio/radio >:-P

Internet != 'content' (1)

skinfitz (564041) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874126)

When are big ISP's going to learn that people don't give a shit about what content they bundle to justify their prices but simply want somewhere to plug in and do whatever they want? Who wants to pay for the sanitized politically correct content of Time Warner?

I tried AOL once. (1)

lcsjk (143581) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874128)

While I was preparing teach a computer users class, I signed up for AOL's 40,000 hour free service that expires in 30 days. (Yes, I know!) I managed to keep using Mozilla and Mozilla email as I learned a little about using AOL. The main problem I saw was that AOL came on like Clippit X100. Everytime I tried to do something, AOL popped up with some screen that tried to offer choices I did not want to consider. And, unless I remember incorrectly, I could not do anything on the internet without the same kind of control attempt. Needless to say, I learned more than I wanted to know, and canceled before the month was finished.

AOL has a lot of possibilities since they have such a large user base, and "hand-holding" may be good for the extremely non-technical user. However, AOL needs to relinquish some control of the computer if they are to continue as a service.

AOL... (1)

Silent_Shadow900 (893879) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874133)

The only reason anybody liked AOL is because it was so easy once upon a time. Now with technology increasing, and the old people who used AOL dying off, its becoming increasingly useless.

Why is it taking AOL so long to do this? (3, Interesting)

theurge14 (820596) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874158)

When Time Warner and AOL merged, the word was that AOL was going to become a media mega-empire of the Internet, that we would see all these exclusive and great media services streamed from AOL. You know, wild ideas like watching TV on the Internet and having the ability to send fullscreen video emails to your grandparents with no hassle.

Instead, we have TiVO and Skype and Windows Media Center and the saddest part of it all is AOL is losing out to broadband. Wouldn't that get the IRONIC tag on Fark?

AOL's problem? (2, Insightful)

Solr_Flare (844465) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874212)

- Bloated Client
- Treating its clients poorly
- Making the dollar its first and highest priority, and being obvious about it.
- Not truly changing with the times, instead just putting a new gloss(and more bloat)to its same, tired, design.
- Using spam type methods to try and hook new users(the famous coasters).

They did this to themselves through years of mismanagement and just settling for the status quo. They forgot they got to the top by out-innovating the competition like compuserve and prodigy, and making a smooth efficient internet portal for the time. Its like what happened to Netscape. Netscape was "the" browser because it was small, fast, efficient, and clean. When it bloated it died and took it mozilla and a reversion to its original design to bring it back.

The question is, can AOL really revert and recover from 10 years of bad reputation? I don't think it ever will.

It could start by dropping the AOL name (1)

bADlOGIN (133391) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874217)

"Amateurs On-line","A**Holes On-Line", I'm sure there are far more and far worse. Most experienced Net users associate them with being a low-quality and/or "training whells" type of internet experience. You know, the service you're loathe to admit you used before you know what the Internet was? A name change would go a long way to removing that image.

Well lets wait and see (1)

tigerd (890439) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874257)

Hell guys you are flaming this company, and the reason is obviously that it has been poorly managed in a long time. As an european I have no idea how bad it was, but lets wait and see. I mean the more 'content' on the internet, the better, right?

Grrr (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874271)

If I hear the buzzword "blogosphere" once more, I think I'm going to vomit!

An Improvement (1)

ndansmith (582590) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874290)

I thought for sure their next move would be the classic "Let's offer more free trial hours."

um? (1)

X_Bones (93097) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874291)

So if all this neat stuff is available via the Web, what's the point of paying them a monthly fee?

The page you are looking for might have been... (1)

Se7enLC (714730) | more than 9 years ago | (#12874357)

The page you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.

Bummer. I was actually looking forward to getting email for my sn @ aol.com. How convenient would that be to be able to pretend to be a stupid aol luser when contacting tech support for a company? The options are endless.
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