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More Massive Layoffs at AOL

CowboyNeal posted about 8 years ago | from the you've-got-a-pink-slip dept.


dawnzer writes "It looks like AOL read the comments from Slashdotters saying that 950 employees do not constitute a 'massive' layoff. Several news sites are reporting that AOL is getting ready to cut 5,000 jobs, or roughly 26 percent of their global workforce. Now that's more like it."

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Sweet (5, Funny)

Umbral Blot (737704) | about 8 years ago | (#15844215)

Does this mean that AOL is going away, because I'm getting excited just thinking about it.

Re:Sweet (4, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | about 8 years ago | (#15844251)

Nope. This is just the HR side to AOL's decision to only charge for ISP connections... much fewer paying customers, much fewer people needed to handle the support, sales, and retention operations. AOL figures they'll get more cash from ads being shown to many more eyeballs than they're currently getting for subscription revenues.

Re:Sweet (1)

cHiphead (17854) | about 8 years ago | (#15844601)

Non-ISP customers are not the ones that need support. The ISP customers, which are still the backbone of AOL's existance as a viable business despite doublespeak from Time Warner and AOL execs, are going to take the major hit. AOL is has a fever, and theres just not enough cowbell to cure it.

And more importantly, now all the noob AOL ISP ass clowns are going to be taking MY high speed cable bandwidth as they finally give up on quality support!


Re:Sweet (2, Funny)

Da_Weasel (458921) | about 8 years ago | (#15844387)

nah just the 5,000 customer service reps that refuse to allow you to cancel your service...

Re:Sweet (3, Funny)

Schemat1c (464768) | about 8 years ago | (#15844447)

Does this mean that AOL is going away, because I'm getting excited just thinking about it.

ME TOO!!!!

Re:Sweet (1)

johansalk (818687) | about 8 years ago | (#15844466)

Even if it doesn, that September won't end now :-/

Re:Sweet (4, Funny)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 8 years ago | (#15844516)

I think we reached terminal September when that knight guy, Tim Burners, invented the graphical usenet at CERN.

Oh, and, ME TOO!!!!

Re:Sweet (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15844510)

The Coaster Association of America embraces this development whole-heartedly and expects growth rates of up to 10,000%.

It was predictable (5, Insightful)

Marcos Eliziario (969923) | about 8 years ago | (#15844220)

AOL is a dinossaur now. Their market doesn't exist anymore and they stuck upon their past until it was too late.

I agree (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 8 years ago | (#15844357)

AOL could recover, but it is very doubtful that they will. To do that, it will require them to quit trying to compete head on against MS in MS's backyard.

They could roll a linux distro and even offer it on their own system. In fact, they could create the system and target the newbies or those with old windows systems. This would allow them to quit trying to compete with MSN under MS's rules. But I have always given them little chance of doing it.

Re:It was predictable (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | about 8 years ago | (#15844401)

Some people argue that AOL means Time Warner. Time Warmer staff has to eat snakes on a plane and fried worms [] . Those who think it was funny may stay. Lord of the Rings was a recent Time Warner success. So our Lords of the ringtones think it makes sense to provide AOL's special features for FREEEEEEE [] . It will end up like this. Citizens will get paid by AOL for testing spyware, watching advertisement and the resurrection of Harry Potter [] .

Missives of September (4, Funny)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 8 years ago | (#15844559)

AOL is Web 3.0!!! Where do my eyeballs sign up for this pay-per-click multilevel marketing bonanza. Both of them missed the first two bubbles. They blame me; instead of blogging like I was supposed to I wasted (am currently wasting) my talents getting modded off topic on slashdig. We want some of that Web 3.0 cash. Now. Referrals. My eyeballs might like Roland Pickypail if he kicked down. We want referral fees for my teflon eyeballs. How many frogclick ringtones did my clickthroughs sell for you? APIs!! APO's!! IPI's! PAP's! Frog click. Frog click bad. Class action.

Their helping us... (1)

tubapro12 (896596) | about 8 years ago | (#15844221)

Maybe some other notorious monsters of the net will help us get rid of them as well. Too bad about the people losing their jobs, though, don't get me wrong.

Re:Their helping us... (1)

fireboy1919 (257783) | about 8 years ago | (#15844585)

Now they can get new jobs that offer the chance of a greater benefit to society and a higher moral ground.

Like clubbing baby seals, or drowning puppies or something...

Keeping jobs is never a good reason to keep anything going.
In a great many ways, meaningless labor is worse than doing nothing.

Conspiracy! (5, Funny)

Linkiroth (952123) | about 8 years ago | (#15844222)

26%!!?? AOL is cutting their employees by AMD's marketshare. Intel's in bed with AOL! It makes perfect sense!

Re:Conspiracy! (1)

bcat24 (914105) | about 8 years ago | (#15844232)

But if Intel and AOL.... God, those would be some hideous mutant children (particullarly the ones that more closely resemble AOL).

Re:Conspiracy! (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 8 years ago | (#15844563)

Relax. They'll probably be so retarded, they'll suffocate in their multicolored bunny suits.

Now that's more like it?? (5, Insightful)

Fazlazen (626923) | about 8 years ago | (#15844224)

You're talking about displacing 5,000 other people from their job, their primary source of income (most likely), and you think that it warrants a "now that's more like it"?

I'll bet you'd be a lot less glib about it (and way more pissed off) if it was your job on the line. Especially if you saw people making comments like that!

Economic Perspective (2, Insightful)

XanC (644172) | about 8 years ago | (#15844231)

Those people will now be employed doing something useful, instead of perpetuating the existance of AOL. Everybody wins!

Re:Economic Perspective (4, Insightful)

70Bang (805280) | about 8 years ago | (#15844367)

They do serve a unique function: Spam control.

They've been known as the 800 lb. anti-spammers for several years now. Read what you want to in the news about Microsoft's efforts, but fan away the smoke and there's nothing left but the mirror you're standing on. Microsoft has made some money, directed it to their "big three" (Huey, Dewey, and Louie - aka Marketing, PR, and Sales), and Dewey has done a good job of ensuring they make a lot of press by looking terrific. When you hear a consensus of HotMail issues and ratified in the anti world, then perhaps it's safe to venture back online. Microsoft's anti efforts are supposed to be a hammer, looking at 2003-U-CAN-SPAM as a blueprint. Has the volume decreased?

Aside from AOL, how many other Fortune 500 companies are actually doing something about spam generated by their resources, either by providing online services or have zombies?

By-and-large, AOL has had at least one person monitoring SPAM-L beyond the PORN (Post Once, Read Nothing) factor, where others such as Tropica have done. When questions have arisen, AOL has been pretty open about what they're doing and resolving issues. If they were like everyone else, they'd have left the guy who walked with their member list go. They pursued his hairy ass and taped his buns together.

Oh, and Louie could be generating more local (U$) income if the address actually worked. If you send them too little info, they tell you they need everything. Send everything along with an explanation at the top, and it'll be rejected, telling you it looks too much like spam. Send them text asking which way they want it and silence. Send plaintext message + ROT13 for the headers+payload, silence. Plaintext explaining you are unable to send anything, the response is, "We're working on it." So much for being a good guy. (actually, it started as an experiment and I had to see what happened all of the way around.

Re:Now that's more like it?? (5, Insightful)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | about 8 years ago | (#15844233)

There's a breed of people with no empathy. They think its funny when bad things happen to other people. Anyway, all companies seem to be doing lately is going bankrupt, doing massive layoffs, or shipping jobs overseas. Finding a job that pays more than minimum wage in all this turmoil is very difficult and you should be thankful you got one.

Re:Now that's more like it?? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15844266)

And there is a breed of people who cannot see things abstractly, for whom everything is personal. They are generally nice people to be around, but they should not be allowed on the net.

Nah (4, Insightful)

XanC (644172) | about 8 years ago | (#15844278)

It's just a shift to smaller companies or self-employment; we just don't hear about it. A company laying off 10,000 people is news. 1,000 different companies hiring those people the next day isn't.

Re:Now that's more like it?? (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | about 8 years ago | (#15844349)

Jobs at AOL? CD-packagers?

Wait, I guess AOL does it because intellectual property protection is too weak in the US. Another DMCA++ is needed. Net neutrality is to be blamed for the lay-offs. Legislators have to combat net neutrality to secure jobs...

They will have to move jobs abroad. AOL CD will get distributed to new emerging markets such as Iraq or the Democratic Republic of Congo. New markets such as home decorating [] ...

Re:Now that's more like it?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15844386)

If all the nuclear weapons plants around the globe shut down, you are the kind of retarded cunt who'd bemoan the loss of jobs.

Re:Now that's more like it?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15844412)

That is because it isn't news when companies higher. Look at Boeing. If you just looked at all the layoffs they have had over the years, you would think nobody worked for the company any more.

Re:Now that's more like it?? (1)

tshak (173364) | about 8 years ago | (#15844422)

Finding a job that pays more than minimum wage in all this turmoil is very difficult and you should be thankful you got one.

That's exactly what corporate stakeholders want you to think. It keeps your compensation package low and retention high because you're content with simply having a job in the first place.

Re:Now that's more like it?? (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | about 8 years ago | (#15844425)

Maybe your comments are an indication of a shining future...

Re:Now that's more like it?? (1)

Verity_Crux (523278) | about 8 years ago | (#15844511)

Let's review their marketing plans and see if you can see why they, with many of their peers, are going down. 1. Make coasters at a cost of $0.25/each 2. Mail them to everybody on the planet at a cost of $0.5/each 3. Profit or 1. Provide slow internet connections for clueless people 2. Tell them they can do no better and flood their home page with cheap political comentary and pop-up adds 3. Profit Eh, I could go on from there but not without a redneck joke. Seriously, are they an ISP? And if so, why not work the niche; dig down and compete with local ISP companies. Move into places without ISPs, etc. So many companies fail to work their niche. It goes back to my days at This was their thinking: we have great server statistics software. That means we can make mediocre other producs only quasi-related to our niche and people will buy it. Yeah. Uhuh. So what happened? Up and one day layed off 80% of its workforce and went back to making server statistics software. AOL needs to work their niche or get out altogether.

Re:Now that's more like it?? (3, Interesting)

Danga (307709) | about 8 years ago | (#15844527)

Finding a job that pays more than minimum wage in all this turmoil is very difficult and you should be thankful you got one.

This is simply not true unless you have no skills and nothing to offer. I got bored and posted my resume to and the response I got was overwelming, I eventually took it off of there because I was getting so many calls/emails. It was also not all headhunters, only about 25% (if that) were not people who actually worked for the companies that the jobs were at. I don't think I have anything exceptional to offer other than a pretty good understanding of c/c++ and the STL and I also can learn new concepts quickly. Sure, some of the companies offered shit salaries but there were quite a few that were between $75k-125k+, all for around 4 years of experience (and I have 2 but they still were interested) which seems damn good to me.

Two years ago the job market was tough, it took me six months to find the job I am at now and it was very frustrating. The job market nowadays however is worlds better if you at least have something to offer.

Re:Now that's more like it?? (0, Redundant)

Clover_Kicker (20761) | about 8 years ago | (#15844245)

ME TOO!!!!!!

> You're talking about displacing 5,000 other people from their job, their
> primary source of income (most likely), and you think that it warrants a "now
> that's more like it"?
> I'll bet you'd be a lot less glib about it (and way more pissed off) if it was
> your job on the line. Especially if you saw people making comments like that!

Re:Now that's more like it?? (1)

LostCluster (625375) | about 8 years ago | (#15844261)

I take it you're not a TWX shareholder...

Re:Now that's more like it?? (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | about 8 years ago | (#15844280)

Anyone who took at job at AOL within the last 12-15 years knows how hated the company is. They know how there are legions of people hoping and praying that their employer goes belly up. Since these people shouldn't be surprised to know that the sentiment is out there, I doubt that many of them will frequent Slashdot and those who do should have come to expect it by now.


Re:Now that's more like it?? (2, Interesting)

GnuPooh (696143) | about 8 years ago | (#15844327)

No, this falls under feeling bad for the contractors that worked on the second Death Star in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Anyone one working at AOL should have seen this coming years ago and if they had any clue and any talent they moved on to somewhere with a future. It's not like they couldn't have seen this coming, years and years ago.

Re:Now that's more like it?? (1)

supremebob (574732) | about 8 years ago | (#15844335)

Sorry, but it's kind of hard to feel pity for folks who chose to work for a company with customer service and marketing tactics as horrible as AOL's.

Re:Now that's more like it?? (1)

Rakishi (759894) | about 8 years ago | (#15844340)

If you don't want people to be happy when you lose your job don't work for a company that everyone hates. Consider this an opportunity to do just that.

I'll bet you'd be a lot less glib about it (and way more pissed off) if it was your job on the line. Especially if you saw people making comments like that!

You're talking about AOL, I'd be annoyed but at least from now on I wouldn't need to hide what company I work for when people asked.

Honestly if you can't handle losing your job you will not do well in the current world. Flexibility is a necessity, if I got fired I'd simply go and find something else (and live of off my saving, you do know what that is right?).

Re:Now that's more like it?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15844400)

Hey! This is the US! Everyone who isn't megawealthy deserves to either live in squalor or die on the streets! Didn't you get the memo?

Re:Now that's more like it?? (5, Insightful)

chromozone (847904) | about 8 years ago | (#15844442)

I had AOL dial-up for one year. I had AOL for Broadband for 2 years. I finally got tired of FORCED updates I didn't want and endless ghetto content. When I called to end all my services from AOL I was raked over coals. I was interrogated (and I mean interrogated) about my reasons for wanting to end service. I said I just wanted to end my service. The interrogation contiuned and I got pressed for my adware/spyware software usage. I was now fighting with the AOL rep to get my service ended. Despite my very obvious desire to end my service my rep proceeded to give instructions for downloading some browser.

At that point I reminded my rep that the Attorney General in my state (NY) had already filed a case against AOL for doing exactly what she was doing then (strong arming people and not allowing them to cancel their services when asked). I told her I would call the AG with a compliant and use her name. At that point she finally cancelled my services.

AOL has a well established record of legal violations and disgraceful business tactics (not to mention dumb ones). The people who willfully and knowingly performed these things are sleaze bags (and it seems AOL had LOTS of them). I find a lot of things deserve compassion in the world but f00kin AOL and its army of creep employees aint one of them.

Re:Now that's more like it?? (1)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | about 8 years ago | (#15844446)

Not just 5,000 people. 5,000 people that work for AOL. Anyone with half a brain should have seen the writing on the wall years ago when they came up with that half-assed "AOL for Broadband" joke.

Re:Now that's more like it?? (1)

michaelnz (701047) | about 8 years ago | (#15844480)

You've misinterpreted the headline. I realize that humour that needs to be explained isn't really funny anymore but I'll go ahead and take the lead on this episode of Clown Autopsy.

AOL was saying that 950 layoffs weren't enough to be deemed "massive" which boggles the mind when you think of nearly a thousand individuals being out of work, seems massive to me.

Now there are rumors are that there's nearly 5,000 layoffs in the works. So in the mind of the summary writer it seemed like AOL might be saying "950 layoffs isn't massive! We'll show you massive." And the summary writer responded, sarcastically, "Now that's more like it."

Ah, sweet sweet reading comprehension.

Re:Now that's more like it?? (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 8 years ago | (#15844658)

That's how I took it. Sarcasm. It's gallows humor and it's funny.

And we can at least be sympathetic to the poor SOBs that are getting ticketed. It's pretty amazing the attitudes of people here, that didn't seem to get the sarcasm, but have no sympathy for the workers. Comparing them to Death Star contractors or saying that "they should have seen the writing on the wall at AOL a long time ago."

  The flip side of this attitude is that when jobs get outsourced off shore, they whine and complain, despite the fact that "they should have seen the writing on the wall".

And how short term the memory around here is! Three to five years ago, we were having so many posters here telling sad stories about how tought the labor market was, of huge cuts in pay to do shittier work if they were one of the luckier ones, being unemployed for long lengths of time. Losing homes, being forced to move back in with parents, etc. There are people here that would have happily taken employment at AOL, because that would mean a paycheck and a paycheck means being able to feed your family. I wonder if any of those people are the ones now, in all seriousness, saying "good, they deserve to be fired". Could slashdotters be that forgetful and could slashdotters be that unaware of the thin margin between them and disaster? Say it ain't so! We're the best of the best here! We're blessed with brains and with high standards/costs of living! We vote! (Well, we could if we wanted.) We're pudgy and pasty white, except when we're skinny and brown. No matter, Our haircuts are still retarded looking. But we're blessed, and we always will be blessed and no misfortune will ever befall us because we are too smart. So saith Ohreally.

This shows why capitalism works! (1)

Brian_Ellenberger (308720) | about 8 years ago | (#15844524)

You're talking about displacing 5,000 other people from their job, their primary source of income (most likely), and you think that it warrants a "now that's more like it"? I'll bet you'd be a lot less glib about it (and way more pissed off) if it was your job on the line. Especially if you saw people making comments like that!

Actually, this is a prime example of why capitalism beats out other systems. Yea it sucks for those 5000, but it is the best thing in the long run. AOL is a dinosaur that has no place in a high-speed internet world. Why should they linger? Why should 5000 people work on something as useless as dial-up modem support when they could be much more productive to society doing something else??

In other systems, AOL might be a state-owned company filled with politician's kids and propped up past its time with tax-dollars from actual productive companies. Capitalism *FORCES* people to make the tough choices. The federal government could NEVER fire 5000 workers even if they are completely useless and are wasting resources.

re: AOL and unemployment (1)

King_TJ (85913) | about 8 years ago | (#15844526)

If it were my job on the line, I would *hope* I had the foresight to realize that my days working for AOL were going to be numbered. I'm not saying it's a good thing more tech. jobs are being lost in America -- but the majority of these were "bottom of the barrel" jobs doing phone support and sales. It's really only a couple steps above the "bad old days" of telemarketing. Most of 'em are still reading off of scripts, and don't really know much about what they're trying to sell/sign people up for.

I can't say for sure, but I think it's a good guess to say the more skilled people doing systems administration or coding for AOL probably got transferred to other places in the company.

Despite all the AOL bashing, a considerable amount of work had to go into the constant refinements and updates to their interface. I remember when AOL didn't even know how to do a decent job of handling a broadband connection vs. dial-up, and when many types of email attachments weren't handled properly at all. In the latest version, it's obvious they put a lot of work into improving those areas, among many others. That stuff doesn't just code itself.

You Da Man, AOL, You Da Man!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 8 years ago | (#15844225)

You can't be chillaxin with so many peeps fo you need to be downsizin'. Just don't fuck with 'counts 'ceivable, or I'm gon bust a staple in yo ass.

Re:You Da Man, AOL, You Da Man!!! (1)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | about 8 years ago | (#15844316)

Wow. Mod parent funny. This is really a funny comment. Funny enough that I wasted one of my allotted two troll comments (since i'm -1 start) on this post.

Wonder if this works for other things... (1)

Shihar (153932) | about 8 years ago | (#15844228)

It looks like AOL read the comments from Slashdotters saying that 950 employees do not constitute a 'massive' layoff. Several news sites are reporting that AOL is getting ready to cut 5,000 jobs...

I wonder if this works for other things...

One year delay in Vista a "small" delay? Hell, back in my day when the Duke Nukem Forever team said small delay they meant it would only be a few more decades!

Does this mean... (4, Funny)

Yonder Way (603108) | about 8 years ago | (#15844230) person just sent an email to everyone at the office that says "OMG I just got my pink slip" followed by thousands of replies that say "me too"?

Re:Does this mean... (1)

Durrok (912509) | about 8 years ago | (#15844293)

Doubt it. Usually they either call everyone at home or gather everyone into a big room then escort them out of the office with the police standing by.

Re:Does this mean... (1)

absinthminded64 (883630) | about 8 years ago | (#15844339)

You forgot the cardboard boxes. You know, the ones that UPS delivers three days prior.. followed by HR persons chasing the UPS person around parking lots shouting "They aren't supposed to see those!"

Obligatory (1)

W3BMAST3R101 (904060) | about 8 years ago | (#15844234)


NIGGERS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15844235)

I really fucking HATE NIGGERS

They are fucking scum lazy useless pieces of shit.. they smell like it too


Not Cool... (5, Insightful)

MrWhitefolkz (751859) | about 8 years ago | (#15844238)

Its never cool when any company does layoffs. If Microsoft did a layoff, I know people would be happy because "the tide is finally turning." That is very sad. You should never be happy when someone gets laid off... you don't know who they have to support with that income. It may be their family suffering now that someone got laid off, so be a little more of an adult and don't praise layoffs, from any company.

Re:Not Cool... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15844328)

Oh bollocks... If it was a bulk unsolicited email (read: spam) company in Russia that was going under, I don't think you'd be complaining about anyone's lack of sympathy, now would you?

When a company starts laying off people, it's a sign that they are having hard times. When that company happens to be a really crappy company that does things that annoy the masses, the masses have cause for celebration.

You may not agree with the other posters that AOL is despicable enough to warrant celebration when they go down, but don't act like you're god's gift to humanity because you would never want to see anyone lose their job, no matter how unethical that job may have been.

Re:Not Cool... (1)

absinthminded64 (883630) | about 8 years ago | (#15844378)

I've been laid off before (funny that the three letter word "off" is so negatively significant in this context) from a fortune 500 company before and I would have modded your comment as "Normal" or better. :)

Re:Not so bad, either.. (4, Insightful)

symbolic (11752) | about 8 years ago | (#15844382)

It's one of the risks inherent in participating in a capitalist economy. The potential exists to do very well, but there is also the potential that things might slip in the opposite direction. Is it cool? Not really, because it does tend to disrupt peoples' lives. Do I feel sad for them? Not really, because it's all part of the game called "US of A". And let's not forget that there are other parts of the world where just getting a single meal is the biggest worry.

Re:Not so bad, either.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15844482)

So you've never been laid off then, right?

Re:Not so bad, either.. (2, Insightful)

MrWhitefolkz (751859) | about 8 years ago | (#15844660)

I've survived layoffs and I've been laid off. I love business and I understand its part of our economy. I don't have a problem with layoffs. I have a problem with people being happy about layoffs just because they don't like the company.

I can't wait til AOL is gone. (1)

br0pbr0p (887095) | about 8 years ago | (#15844243)

They are paying the price for offering crappy services.

Slashdot's New Response (4, Funny)

dduardo (592868) | about 8 years ago | (#15844244)

Pftt, only 5000? You can do better AOL.

Too late to get in on the ground floor? (1)

smchris (464899) | about 8 years ago | (#15844252)

Invest now: []

I saw a fish wall sculpture out of disks some guy did that looked pretty good. And never again will I be able to open my door and say, "I've got mail!" as one of their packages propped up by my mailman falls before me. Actually, the wood/pressed cardboard boxes they got into made nice remailers. End of an era.

Of what quality are the jobs? (1)

PurifyYourMind (776223) | about 8 years ago | (#15844265)

Definitely layoffs are not fun; I was laid off from a web firm during 2001 and faced a stressful job search. However, I wonder if this news isn't necessarily as bad as it sounds. I suspect a good percentage of AOL jobs involve call centers, and I know from personal experience that these can be terrible jobs. Granted, (almost) everyone just needs a job sometimes... all I'm saying is that losing a really crappy job isn't as painful as losing a good one.

Re:Of what quality are the jobs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15844318)

I don't know where most of the support is run for AOL (Canada, the US or elsewhere) but I can tell you as someone who's worked in a call center its a popular place of employment for a great deal of university and college students. It pays a lot more than most retail work and give more flexibility for schedules. Not the best job, true. Have I liked it? Not really. But it pays the tuition!

Re:Of what quality are the jobs? (1)

eddy (18759) | about 8 years ago | (#15844407)

Did you watch the latest episode of 30 Days [] ? The episode is ''Outsourcing'', about a programmer who lost his job to Indian, and goes there to work and live with an Indian family for 30 days, experiencing the other side for himself. Very good episode.

Re:Of what quality are the jobs? (1)

DeadManCoding (961283) | about 8 years ago | (#15844613)

I worked in an AOL call center doing tech support for almost 2 years, from 2001 to 2003. It's true, it's a call center, but that center employed close to 500 people, ranging from billing to tech support. There were quite a few people in that Arizona call center that were in the process of getting their IT career started. It's a decent starting point, and the possible loss of the center won't devastate the economy of the city, but it's still quite a few people that are going to have a rough time trying to do better.

I'll repeat myself... (1)

alshithead (981606) | about 8 years ago | (#15844273)

AOL is offering services for free that they used to charge money for. They can't afford to employ everyone they used to with that business model. If you work for AOL, I hope your resume is current. Still repeating myself...users have too many other options for ISP's to spend money on AOL without any real benefit. The non-techies don't need AOL anymore.

MISQUOTE (5, Funny)

NoGuffCheck (746638) | about 8 years ago | (#15844298)

I'm sorry but the article has misquoted John Miller AOL CEO. His actual statement went more like this:

Following last nights board meeting, the AOL directors would like to confirm the rumours that we have decided to move away from our core business, the manufacture and distribution of drink coasters and frizbees. We are now seeking to restructure the relevant departments and pursue a profitable business model of providing our internet services at no cost to non subscribers. [ Long Pauses ] As a result we belive that within 6 months anyone in our employ today with half a brain will no longer be with the company....*phone rings* ahhh, hello?. yes Satan... sorry I gotta take this

Recent mass mailing from AOL (4, Informative)

QuantumFTL (197300) | about 8 years ago | (#15844319)

Here's AOL's most recent mailing to all of its customers:

Dear AOL Member,

I want to let you know about some exciting changes happening at AOL. Our service has always been an all-in-one solution for our members, consisting of:
      1. Connectivity - a way of connecting to the Internet (through a dial-up or high-speed connection), and
      2. Content and Services - bringing you useful tools and features like email, security and an entertaining online experience once you're connected.

Today we are announcing that AOL's software, email, and other compelling AOL features will be free to everyone who has an Internet connection -- including your Address Book, Screen Name, the Buddy List® feature and more. AOL will continue to provide a dial-up connection for you, and we will continue to offer several reliable and affordable options for getting online.

What Does This Mean for You?

Nothing about your service arrangement with us will change unless you want it to. Your current plan, which includes Internet connectivity, 24/7 customer support, unlimited email storage, your email addresses, and all the AOL content and services you rely on, will still be there for you.

If you do at some point choose another provider to connect you to the Internet:
        * You can keep your AOL Screen Name and email address for as long as you want to use it, completely free;
        * You can continue to use your AOL software, and you can still get all your favorite features and content, completely free;
        * You will still get AOL's comprehensive safety and security tools, protecting you from online hackers, spammers and identity thieves, completely free.

All of this is free, no matter who provides your Internet connection.

Why Is AOL Doing This?

We're simply changing with the times. There are many options for Internet access, whether it's dial-up or broadband. At the same time, a lot of online content and services are now available on the Web free of charge because they are supported by advertising. So, while your Internet connectivity needs may change over time, what you love about the Web does not. We are now able to ensure that the familiar AOL experience, your Screen Name, your Address Book, your Buddy List, your Favorite Places, and other content and features you enjoy, will always be available to you for free.

In September, you will be hearing more about changes at AOL. Until then, you can visit AOL Keyword: New AOL for more information and to sign up for informative email alerts.


Jon Miller
Chairman and CEO

Re:Recent mass mailing from AOL (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | about 8 years ago | (#15844377)

I interpretted this press release as follows.

We're giving away some of our services that you've enjoyed for years for free... to everyone who isn't currently an AOL customer! AOL customers will continue to pay $25.90/month [] for these features plus basic dial-up!

Re:Recent mass mailing from AOL (1)

VikingThunder (924574) | about 8 years ago | (#15844392)

Fixed: "We're giving away some of our services that you've enjoyed for years for free... to everyone who isn't currently an AOL dial-up customer!"

Re:Recent mass mailing from AOL (1)

Chatmag (646500) | about 8 years ago | (#15844572)

"There are many options for Internet access, whether it's dial-up or broadband."

How long did it take AOL to admit that? I'll bet he's in therapy.

Obviously... (1)

Hellasboy (120979) | about 8 years ago | (#15844326)

Anti-AOL, I'm superior blah blah blah eliticism aside. Isn't this obvious? It doesn't make sense to keep people on staff when the companies business model has changed from retaining paid customers to offering AOL for free.

Just off the top of my head I can see customer service and marketing employees jobs not being as needed.

How Do companies make money off just ads? (1)

Cutting_Crew (708624) | about 8 years ago | (#15844330)

As commented before, how does AOL think they will make money by more eyeballs viewing ads? the same question could be asked of television ads but is OT so i wont go there. I mean say is more people do indeed view a lot of AOL ads.. if they dont purchase anything then how are they making money? i mean sure the advertisers they are teamed up with will give them money but if said companies are getting sales off ads then eventually the money has to stop. just curious as its obvious that dont plan on making any money off subscribers. Even people with 'aol for broadband' are leaving in droves.

Re:How Do companies make money off just ads? (1)

Hellasboy (120979) | about 8 years ago | (#15844374)

The same could be said for myspace, digg, engadget, cnn, espn, etc. "AOL" is simply a piece of software (instead of web page) that gives access to different content. However, that leads to the real problem. Their software. It's not the appropriate topic to get into it but it's generally a poor piece of software. What I think they should do is create a customized version of Mozilla that integrates all their online products (messaging, chat rooms, news on, webmail, their new 5-gig storage, etc).

Their plan can only work if they get their act together. However, unfortunately for AOL, their history has metaphorically been where the body doesn't know what the hell any other body part is doing.

Re:How Do companies make money off just ads? (2, Informative)

neo8750 (566137) | about 8 years ago | (#15844383)

You have to remember how large of user base AOL has. Sure its not as big as it was a couple years back but its still pretty huge. My girlfriends mom had AOL for a long time till she got broadband. However she kept AOL even when they didn't offer free (5 dollars a month). The reason for this wasn't because she loved AOL but, since she didn't want to go through and change her emails over to another provider. Now if 1/2 to 3/4 of people who have AOL keep their emails accounts that is a lot of people viewing their ads every time they check there email. I'm sure they have some deal worked out that they get a flat rate for just showing the ads to there customer base. Add that to the ammount they make when people actually buy stuff and they get a commision for it. I think that it probly be possible. Maybe not for a smaller based company but I think they can pull it off.

Re:How Do companies make money off just ads? (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | about 8 years ago | (#15844444)

How do companies make money just off of ads? Have you never heard of Google?

Lots more coming. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 8 years ago | (#15844331)

It seems like lots of companies are planning small to medium size layoffs. AOL is just one of many here in the states.

I work for AOL (4, Funny)

quokkapox (847798) | about 8 years ago | (#15844344)

I manage a team of Retention Specialists in Reston (posting AC for obvious reasons). I'm not so sure about all this talk of layoffs. They need us more than they realize, and they would surely be willing to keep us around a little while longer for a slightly lower salary. I mean, if they really decide we aren't needed anymore, they can always reconsider and cancel our employment next month. I'm sure they'll find they really really really miss us after we're gone.

Re:I work for AOL (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15844358)

"I manage a team of Retention Specialists in Reston (posting AC for obvious reasons)"

Yeah, OK...except you didn't post as AC, Mr. "Quokkapox"...
- Your Boss

P.S. Please see HR in the morning.

Re:I work for AOL (1)

n7ytd (230708) | about 8 years ago | (#15844569)

I mean, if they really decide we aren't needed anymore, they can always reconsider and cancel our employment next month. I'm sure they'll find they really really really miss us after we're gone.

Geez, you really ARE an AOL Retention Specialist; replace "employment" with "account", and this is the same line they spewed at me a half a dozen times before finally letting me cancel...

Re:I work for AOL (2, Interesting)

somethinghollow (530478) | about 8 years ago | (#15844615)

Man... I was about to say they were probably firing 5000 of their asshole customer retention specialists [] . I guess I shouldn't make fun of customer retention to their face. :/

Most of the layoffs are in marketing (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 8 years ago | (#15844346)

Of the 5,000 layoffs, 4,999 are the people who send you AOL frisbees. The other is some guy who ticked off the boss.

AOL + Massive Layoffs .... (1)

hydraulos (971747) | about 8 years ago | (#15844361)

halo, p0rn, heck anything my day just got brighter

Re:AOL + Massive Layoffs .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15844437)

Now if a few other things were to happen, like AOL laying off the rest of their workfarce, and have Micro$hit, $ony-Bony, Adobe, Pretendo, etc. Were to follow suit by laying off their enitre workfarce as well, then my day would be even brighter.

GoodBye (2, Funny)

Cr0t (963724) | about 8 years ago | (#15844372)

... and slowly started the mouse cursor to move over the X. This my kids, will be the last time you will hear 'Goodbye'

Work Free For 45 Days! (5, Funny)

poormanjoe (889634) | about 8 years ago | (#15844388)

If after 45 days you are not completly satisfied with your Employment Service Provider, cancel at no charge!**
**You must call to cancel your employment status or will continued to be employed at the standard rate.

This doesn't mean anything.... (1)

8127972 (73495) | about 8 years ago | (#15844395)

.... As you're still going to get their CDs in the mail.

more money in the economy? (2, Insightful)

mgkimsal2 (200677) | about 8 years ago | (#15844434)

If AOL has, what?, around 20 million subscribers, and each was paying on average $20/month, isn't that $400 million dollars a month that will be pumped back in to other areas of the economy? Given that 'only' 5000 are being laid off right now, I suspect that the increase in other spending on 'net related (or entertainment, or whatever) will, on the whole, be able to create jobs for those 5000 somewhere... I realize I'm talking somewhat in the abstract, but *damn*, that's a lot of hard cash that will be freed up on the consumer side.

Re:more money in the economy? (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 8 years ago | (#15844539)

*damn*, that's a lot of hard cash that will be freed up on the consumer side.
It's already spent, on gasoline. Basically we're funding our opposition in the global war on terror.

Re:more money in the economy? (1)

NFNNMIDATA (449069) | about 8 years ago | (#15844599)

Actually from the consecutive ridiculous quarterly profits of Exxon ($10 BILLION in profit for 1 quarter? I know they are big but that is kinda nuts) and the others, I would say we are mostly funding them.

where are these 5000 (1)

crashelite (882844) | about 8 years ago | (#15844443)

humm i wonder if these 5000 are from the support line... can i cancle my membership.... please.... come on i asked nice... oh ur still trying to help me?

Layoffs Are Common (1)

SHOCKWIRE Sports (968640) | about 8 years ago | (#15844448)

This happens in every industry, for pretty much every company at some point in time. If a company has too many employees and the numbers aren't adding up, layoffs are unfortunately inevitable.

Cretinous dawnzer schadenfreude (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15844483)

Now that's more like it.

Dawnzer, you're a cunt. Do post here the next time you lose your job and we can all have a giggle.

Just need to know. (2, Interesting)

guabah (968691) | about 8 years ago | (#15844493)

Which employees are these?

The people who work at the AOL booths giving away coasters(CDs)?

The Mexicans who work customer support in Spanish?

Coders and network admins?

Because the article doesn't give much details.

You should research the Auto Industry (1)

Metroid72 (654017) | about 8 years ago | (#15844544)

When I interned at Ford in 2002 the worldwide employee population (salaried+hourly) was near 500K. As I left the company in January of this year it was lower than 330K with a major revitalization program on the way.

I'm sure there's more examples like that to mention. Although everything is relative to the size of the company, but, the numbers are way more telling.

AOL doesn't suck. (2, Interesting)

kahrytan (913147) | about 8 years ago | (#15844573)

/. users do not need AOL any more but new computer users do need them. They have made internet easier to use. It is unfortunate 5,000 or more workers are loosing their jobs but the economy is growing so they won't be out of work for long.

  It would seem that AOL is still in reorganization and are trying to find it's niche in the broadband market. And the AOL software will change as a result. AOL Explorer is probaly the beginning of that change.
/. users may not need AOL but others do need aol and will continue to need aol or similar service.

layoffs ? (1)

phreakv6 (760152) | about 8 years ago | (#15844591)

i see more ads for aol on indian billboards here in bangalore recently.

As an old CompuServe member... (3, Interesting)

TheNoxx (412624) | about 8 years ago | (#15844593)

I've been waiting for the symptoms of AOL's impending doom for years upon years. All I can say is: Good fucking riddance, you CD-spamming, English-torturing hellspawn of a company. You took my precious CServe forums from me, and now you will perish. I do, in fact, believe I've been saving some champagne for when AOL finally dies. I'll go dust it off in anticipation.

Layoffs != AOL Going Away (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15844630)

Most of the layoffs are expected to be in either Member Services, Marketing or the Access business. This is in line with the direction of where AOL wants to go. It really doesn't mean anything to AOL's future except that they are a) selling off the European business and b) they don't need to have the same marketing machine that they needed to before to sell access.

This does NOT mean that AOL is shutting down shop on the current customers. They will be supported as long as they want to pay for access. But the joke about the CDs is actually probably spot on. Yes, this move means the CDs pretty much go away and yes, the some of the people being let go are the people who sent the saucers.

So, ultimately, these layoffs are meaningless to the overall picture. If AOL had suddenly morphed into Google or Yahoo, the same thing would have happened. Google doesn't sell access and Yahoo doesn't sell dialup (although there are broadband deals they have been associated with). So, if AOL is to become successful in the same way, they would be shedding those very same employees in some manner.

What will be the real predictor of AOL's demise? Look to the new VideoSearch initiatives in particular. That initiative is being pushed from on-high, and there are some people's jobs at AOL which are quite safe because of that initiative. If VideoSearch works out, AOL will be hiring more people, not less, because the current staff working it is already overworked. Should success be apparent, the 5,000 jobs lost by October could be all rehired for Streaming and Video.

Do I think it *will* work? No idea. Needless to say, no one currently employed at AOL is naive about the possibility of failure. At the same time, Video and Streaming is pretty big and it's about the only place AOL seems to be in a position to lead in, so success is possible.

AOL employees are quite well aware that AOL isn't providing anything other than repackaged things that other people have done first, and usually better. And some of the senior management know that this is the case too. There has been more than one meeting where a VP was asked, "what are we doing that is original?", and the exec sort of stood there, thought for about a minute and eventually said "nothing I can think of other than Video". Scary, but at the same time, it's rather heartening that they didn't try to tell us that something like the new Netscape site (aka Digg) was going to propel us back to a leadership position. It won't.
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