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AOL Free At Last

By - August 02, 2006


Not unexpectedly, AOL has moved to a free model for web services. From the release:

Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX) today announced that AOL’s software and e-mail as well as various other products will be made available for free to broadband users in a move to enhance the growth of its online advertising business.

…Among the AOL products that will be available for free to anyone with an Internet connection are: AOL’s integrated software; communications features, including AOL e-mail, instant messaging, a local phone number with unlimited incoming calls, and social networking applications; and safety and security features, such as parental controls.

and interestingly:

In the weeks ahead, AOL will announce a number of free new products in such areas as safety and security, storage, personalized e-mail domains, video and search, as well as an update of its AOL software. Combined with AOL’s video search, video assets, compelling content, blogging and other existing free applications, these new products will allow AOL to compete across the board for new Internet users, both domestically and abroad.

So AOL, which also reported 40% growth in its advertising business (and TW reported a profit, which has to help) – is joining the Google and Yahoo model. AOL plans to continue to charge for its dial up service, but won’t market it aggressively. In other words, hundreds of millions of dollars in marketing costs will instead fall to the bottom line. That can’t hurt.

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5 thoughts on “AOL Free At Last

  1. Jordan B. says:

    I noticed that with the Google Toolbar plugin on IE 6, past search terms from Google are now supplanted in the AOL search box? Looks like the AOL Search functionality may be getting supercharged via its the Google-AOL partnership.

  2. Jordan B. says:

    Actually, it may not be the Toolbar’s doing per se, but some Googolean mechanism is generating a list of my previous Google search terms in the AOL Search box! Any thoughts?

  3. ContentWorth says:

    So, am I to forget all those colorfully packaged AOL CDs I find monthly in my mail box?

    It’s about time AOL got onboard. I’m curious though, if they are going this route, what the rest of the strategy will be. Will they stick it out or is this bold move as far as they’ll take it? AOL needed to do something, this seems like the right direction.

  4. Randy Weber says:

    It’s about time that AOL paid attention to Marketing 101 – You don’t spend money promoting a cash cow. You use revenues from the cash cow to drive development of new products.

    It would be nice to see them succeed because the industry needs multiple players, not just Google and Yahoo.

  5. Bonnie K. says:

    When are we going to be able to use the AOL Chat rooms with the free account……..or are we allowed to and I am just not aware of how to use this feature?? please advise