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back to article AOL sales drop by a quarter, reports billion dollar loss

AOL blew another hole in its finances today after the internet veteran posted a massive quarterly loss, having swallowed a Q2 goodwill impairment charge related to its sell-off of Bebo. Worse still, the company saw its advertising revenue plummet 27 per cent to $296.9m in the quarter ended 30 June. In the same period a year …

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WTF?

What? AOL is still alive?

...or at least twitching a bit and coughing up blood.

Will this dinosaur EVER die?

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IT Angle

Er...

Am I the only one who completely forgot about this company? Seriously, I didn't even know they were still in business.

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Pint

I know!

Even as a very former user, I forget about them until they appear in the news about how bad they're doing. Their previous marketing strategies were fairly pervasive and seemingly quickly made them irrelevant. It'll be interesting to see if any other companies who tried the same strategy is still around. That is, if anyone remembers them.

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FAIL

"Getting healthier every day"

Sounds a bit like what the Kremlin used to say about ageing leaders who hadn't been seen in public for a few months. Strangely I haven't had any CDs from AOL for a long time. It always used to be the company that gave you a three-month free trial so that you could (a) find out how bad it was and (b) find a decent ISP.

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Happy

CDs

Oh yes, I forgot about the CDs! How???

I remember when a campaign got together in the US, collected a million of them and dumped them outside the AOL head office. Poetry.

AOL should have been sued for all the useless rubbish they created.

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CD's ? ..

I bet I can still find AOL floppy disks in some old box of crap I should have dumped 10 years ago

never did use them however

"Getting healthier every day"

more like a terminal cancer patient "feeling" a bit better between chemo rounds

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Silver badge

That bit is still around

but it is now a division of TalkTalk along with Tiscali

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Bronze badge

Getting Healthier?

Well, the article wasn't exactly clear.. was that $1.4 billion goodwill impairment charge in ADDITION to the $1.6 billion loss, or was $1.4 of the $1.6 (87.5%) coming from that?

A quarterly loss of $200 million isn't great, but wouldn't be terrible if their revenue is down 25%. They could be restructuring to get costs down and had a temporary loss of customers as a result. That's not altogether uncommon.

My question would be what products do they have that are still relevant? I would think most of their business is now advertising revenue, but I don't know where they advertise these days with Google vs Bing/Yahoo ruling the market. I don't know of many people who actively use AIM these days, with Smart Phone texting/messaging becoming the preferred method of communication.

What does AOL do to become relevant? What market do they have a convincing offering in? What core competencies do they have that they could use to create an offering? As others have mentioned with the CDs for AOL... the only thing they were really good at was spamming the hell out of computer-illiterate people and conning them into buying their service.

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I used the floppies

We would just take them over to the nearest drill press and punch a hole where the write protect tab should be and reformat them. I was annoyed when they switched to CDs because I had no actual use for them.

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Splendid news

It will be a good day for the internet when AOL finally pops its clogs.

And that day seems to be getting nearer.

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FAIL

Eh?

"...getting healthier every day" what kind of alternate universe do you live in to come out with this kind of rubbish?

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Some one has to say it, I suppose...

"We're getting healthier every day"

"No you're not, you'll be stone dead in a moment! Now get in the cart!"

Mind, you can tell he's the CEO... he hasn't got shit all over him.

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FAIL

Re: Eh?

Well it does sound better than "slowing the rate at which we get worse every day".

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Anonymous Coward

Is this how they stay in business?

"Today, I discovered our AOL billing information. Turns out we've been paying for dial-up via automatic bill paying that we thought we cancelled in 2000. $1,800 later, we called to cancel. Customer service congratulated us on being loyal members for over 13 years. FML"

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Anonymous Coward

Erm

How did you manage to miss THAT?

Sure even an occasional glance at a bank/credit card statement during the last decade would have picked it up?

(And could I ask you to sign this direct debit mandate and return it to me for, er, research purposes? ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

eerrr, how did *you* manage to miss

..the quotation marks, and the way it ends "FML". It's from the popular and wellknown FML website.

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A very bad company

After 5 years I canceled my service and paid termination fee, I received a bill for fee-not-paid from a collection agency. I contacted AOL, they simply refused to look up their record. Luckily I have my credit card records in "shoe box", It took me hours to find it. One customer service told me, "Many customers walked away and did not pay cancellation fee." Till this day, I did not received an apology.... AOL, how many decent people did you scam?

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CEO BS

I know a CEO like that. He can find an "encouraging trend" in sinking by the stern.

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Silver badge

AOL is King Midas

Except everything they touch turns to shit.

AOL is a conservative, marketing driven company pandering to the most technophobic, risk averse customers in the whole internet. Decisions are not made on how cool something is or what the market might be worth in 5 years but on how many support calls it will generate. Since they couldn't innovate in-house they decided to acquire some through buy-outs. A sound plan except that they promptly smothered their acquisitions in the same corporate culture as themselves.

The fate of acquisitions like Netscape, Nullsoft et al demonstrates that all too well.

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Unhappy

Oh nullsoft....

I was so disappointed when they purchased Nullsoft. Winamp has been stale for years. Still use it a lot but it's heavily slacking compared to other media players now :(

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Silver badge

Nullsoft

The sick part is Nullsoft singlehandedly kicked off MP3 media players AND p2p networking (with gnutella). AOL managed to turn a potential goldmine into just another ad laden, bloated, has-been media player.

At one time WinAMP was the king of media players and it's not hard to envisage how it could have become iTunes before iTunes even existed. It just required a company with the vision and might to see it through. That company wasn't AOL even though at the time they were sitting on a massive collection of music, video & movie properties that could have kickstarted a store.

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Bronze badge

Ok, those CDs?

Are apparently now collectors items. There are web sites to buy, sell and trade them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AOL_disk_collecting

This is kind of sick.

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Anonymous Coward

Die already, damn you!

This huge pile of AOL CDs I have here still isn't appreciating in value

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Two things I don't miss

1) Calls for help from people with wheezing, overworked, AOL-infested P3's

2) Hearing Joanna Lumley's voice from said machines

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FAIL

The CD's were only the beginning...

Does anyone remember the fun and games to be had uninstalling AOL? In the Windows 95 days, I must have thrown away a good few weeks of my life "fixing" PC's that had slowed to the point of being fit for doorstops thanks to AOL's "low level drivers". What a great day it was when they finally decided that Dial Up Networking could work for them after all!

Good riddance (in advance) AOL. You took Compuserve (which wasn't half bad) and bastardised it into that mess you're still trying to tout today. Shame on you!

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Badgers

They need a bigger cricket bat..

Why *smack* won't *smack* you *smack* die !?! *smack*

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AOL?

I tested it back in the day, after the trial period, I uninstalled it from Windows 95. It asked me if I wanted to delete shared dll's - I was not really computer literate a the time and clicked "delete all" ... I remember the mistake to this day ... I had to reinstall ie ... must have been 1997 or early 1998.

The other evil mistake I remember was when I installed linux into what I thought was a partition in an extended partition, it "somehow" used the entire extended partition (deleting existing partitions in the extended partition) and I lost all my mp3's ... sad day, that ... must have been 2000 ... it was Suse 7.0 pro, iirc.

We all learn sometime ... ;-)

AOL sucks!

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Flame

AOL is evil.

There are many reasons to hate AOL, but I hate them because the treated my mom like dirt, called her a liar and make her cry for two weeks. Oh and they tried to rip her off for almost $500.

My mom signed up as an AOL unlimited broadband customer with a cable modem via her cable company. AOL's billing department screwed up and had her marked as a dial up customer on per minute plan. Since her broadband connection was on whenever her computer was on, her first bill was almost over $400.

My mother was disabled and on a fixed income. They kept insisting that she wasn't signed up for AOL broadband, and that her computer (which lacked a modem) was connecting via a dial up connection and since she wasn't on any plan she was had to pay the hourly rate. A top level manager eventually put a note on her account instructing service reps that the matter was settled and no longer open to discussion. After that she kept calling but they'd refuse to talk to her and insisted that she pay up or face legal consequences.

She probably talked to them for about 30 hours over a two week period.

It took me 3-4 hours of repeatedly calling until I reached a service rep who'd actually talk to me, I convinced him to ignore whatever information was in AOL's system and take a few minutes to actually call the cable company that installed the AOL broadband service and all the per minute charges where dropped.

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WTF?

AOL

I can't believe this company is still around, but then again its customers were just about always the most computer illiterate people. (from years of tech support and running my own PC repair business).

I remember the term 'Assholes OnLine', which suited most very well.

The day this company dies should be declared a public holiday. I'd celebrate.

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Flame

AOL Sucks / Muppets / AOL CDs

http://www.aolsucks.org/ - says it all

I still can't believe (well, I can) that they managed to convince so many muppets for so long that the normal internet was in fact AOL content!

AOL CDs were only good for drinks mats - I had quite a collection (turned upside-down) on my coffee table for many years.

AOL's demise can't come soon enough!

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Anonymous Coward

$1,000,000,000,000 loss but

What surprises me is that AOL has managed to convince $296.9m worth of advertisers to pay them.

The mind boggles.

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Unhappy

AIM isn't bad

When they go, I hope they don't kill AIM, their instant message program. It federates with iChat and Gmail Chat; and it now lets you chat with your FaceBook friends.

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Silver badge

Which will die first?

SCO or AOL?

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Unhappy

It was ditching poor Connie ..

.. wot done for 'em....

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/06/30/aols_connie_given_the_push/

The last time I saw a mention of her was when her MP father got a turfing over by the Telegraph for some (alledged) expenses fiddle involving her and a flat.

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Pint

Die already

Title says it all

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