Items tagged with AOL

One of the near-cardinal rules of Wall Street is that companies who dismiss their CEOs typically fall all over themselves to reassure investors that they're hunting for new candidates and/or have tapped great interim leaders to fill the gap. Yahoo has opted to take a different approach and is reportedly focused on whether or not the company should be sold, rather than soliciting resumes. The move is an understandable one given Yahoo's long-term difficulties, but it could undermine the confidence of investors who feel the company's best course is to remain together. It's been a little over two years since Microsoft and Yahoo inked an agreement to share Microsoft's search engine and web results,... Read more...
It's been a few months since we covered AOL's controversial new business strategy and surprising purchase of The Huffington Post. The company released its first quarter results earlier this week—is there any good news underneath the bad? A little, as it turns out. Global display advertising revenue (this refers to large, flashy ads) grew four percent quarter-on-quarter, marking the first increase in display revenue since Q4 2007. Company chairman Tim Armstrong stated: ""Today represents an important milestone in the turnaround of AOL as global display revenue grew for the first time since Q4 2007. I am proud of the work completed thus far and we remain focused on accelerating our momentum... Read more...
After years of attempting to variously reinvent, reorganize, and recapture the market space it's been losing to Facebook, MySpace is out the door. This isn't a surprise—News Corp declared it was ready to sell the segment last February. Now the social networking site is actually on the chopping block. News Corp is quite profitable, but the changes facing certain markets, particularly print, has likely contributed to the MySpace spinoff. Several venture capital firms are expected to bid on the company, including Redscout Ventures, Thomas H. Lee Partners, and Criterion Capital Partners LLC. News Corp reportedly wants at least $100 million for it, having paid $580 million for the website in... Read more...
As AOL looks to the future following its $315 million acquisition of the Huffington Post, a good chunk of the old regime will be left behind. AOL is in the process of handing out around 900 pink slips, which represents 20 percent of the company's workforce. All affected employees have already been notified, who according to All Things Digital, will be receiving four weeks of severance pay plus an additional week for each of service. So what comes next for AOL? In a memo titled "AOL's Next Step," company CEO Tim Armstrong called this a "critical step on the comeback trail for AOL," adding that they're "creating a next generation hyper-local, national, and global media company." We're not sure... Read more...
Last week we reported on AOL's business plan for 2011 and how it appears to eschew content quality in favor of content quality. Today, the company announced that it's reached an acquisition agreement with The Huffington Post. For the price of $315 million, Arianna Huffington and her website's staff, professional journalists, and various contributing bloggers have become a part of AOL's not-insignificant online media empire. Huffington has published a blog entry of her own detailing how and why she and AOL CEO Tim Armstrong came to this arrangement. "while Tim was talking about his plans for turning AOL around, he said that the challenge lay in the fact that AOL had off-the-charts brand awareness,... Read more...
It hasn't been a good month decade for AOL. A little over a week ago, The New Yorker published a profile of the company's CEO Tim Armstrong in which the author, Ken Auletta, dismissed most of the website's published content as 'piffle.'  Worse, Armstrong admitted that the vast majority of the company's subscribers—some three million out of an estimated 4.1 million total—are needlessly paying an extra $25 for the AOL service. As if that wasn't bad enough, someone inside AOL has since leaked a copy of the company's business plan for Q1 2011; it's not the sort of document that's going to reassure investors. The image above lays out the company's goals through the end of the first... Read more...
This news clip from the Today show's archives is an interesting look at how awkward and uncertain the first discussions of the Internet on television actually were. On January 24, 1994, Katie Couric and Bryan Gumbel did a short segment on the massive "computer billboard" that's getting bigger and bigger all the time. The mind-blowing thing is that we thought computers in 1994 were all fast and capable and stuff. If you could watch videos in Compton's Encyclopedia or the 7th Guest you were rocking. Other fun tidbits include no on being sure how to say "@" (though Gumbel gets it right), not wanting to read the "dot" in addresses, and calling an email address an "Internet Address."  Also, you... Read more...
On the eve of Facebook's rumored announcement of a Facebook Webmail product, AOL announced an attempt to rise its email product from the ashes of AOL'e email, which is seeing its user base rapidly decline: Project Phoenix. Project Phoenix can be accessed at phoenix.aol.com. It is invite only, at least for now. It's hard to see how a Webmail refresh can stem the tide of those leaving AOL's email service. Business Insider's chart on the decline and fall of AOL's email shows the service has fallen below MySpace Mail, way down the list. Additionally, and worse news for AOL, AOL Mail provides 45 percent of the page views on the AOL network. Thus, it is obvious that AOL needs to halt the decline of... Read more...
As we move more and more toward "all things Google," it might surprise people to learn that Google's Gmail was, until recently, mired in 4th place among email vendors. That's where it was until new comScore estimates for July 2009. Yes, despite the way Gmail and Google Docs, and Google Reader, and the rest all work together, it's only now that Gmail edged past AOL Mail, with 37 million unique visitors compared to only 36.4 million for AOL. Who's number two? That's Windows Live Hotmail, with 47 million unique visitors. Number one and still far, far ahead is Yahoo! Mail with 106 million monthly unique visitors. In 2009, Gmail’s unique visitors grew 25%, while AOL Mail’s declined 22%. Windows Live... Read more...
Another big name is about to enter the webmail market and would be the third-largest provider the day it launches, TechCrunch reported today, citing unnamed sources.All the reason it would be so big upon launch is because all MySpace users would be assigned an e-mail address of [username]@myspace.com. The social networking site has about 125 million active users (those who check in at least once a month), which would place it above Gmail and below Yahoo and Hotmail/Windows Live (a ComScore report from about a year ago showed Yahoo the big heavy with nearly 257 million users, Microsoft just short of 255 million and Gmail at 90 million worldwide, though those numbers are sure to have changed somewhat... Read more...
AOL has launched an updated beta version of AOL Web Mail, https://beta.webmail.aol.com, offering users one of the most complete e-mail experiences available, with one-click access to Gmail and Yahoo! Mail accounts, customization capabilities and over-the-air mobile sync of AOL Calendar and Address Book. The new AOL Mail Web Suite also includes a gallery of plug-ins and applications offering immediate access to favorite sites and content. In addition, a new set of APIs will also be made available to third party developers and advertisers interested in creating special themes and plug-ins for the site.“Over the past year, we have been continually adding new features and functionality to improve... Read more...
Another day, another Yahoo! acquisition rumor? According to a terse report on Tuesday in the WSJ, ex-AOL CEO Jonathan Miller is trying to raise funds for a bid on Yahoo!, which may result in either a total or partial buyout of the company. Unlike the last such rumor we reported on, which came from the Times Online, and didn't mention any sources, this one is from the Wall Street Journal, and at least mentions the normal "sources familiar with the situation." Miller was CEO of AOL from 2002 to 2006. According to the WSJ sources, he has been trying to get this done through private-equity investors and sovereign-wealth funds for months. While it seems as though Yahoo! needs some sort of rescue (though... Read more...
Remember when AOL was king of the Web portals and when it had over 30 million members? That was a good six or so years ago. The expression Web portal is now considered passé and AOL claims only slightly more than 8 million members today. But with a number of significant changes taking place on AOL.com, AOL hopes to regain some of its lost market share and take on Internet powerhouse, Google, in the process. In addition to its powerful search engine, much of the appeal of Google to many users comes from its ability to be heavily customized. The default Google homepage is an exercise in minimalism, with its sparse white page, basic search box, and the page's 28-word limit. But with a free Google... Read more...
A recent U.K. study by AOL finds that most online users are concerned about their online privacy and about providing personal details to Websites. No surprise there. In fact, the study found that 84 percent of respondents said that "they would not give away income details online." What to make then of the fact that 89 percent of those same respondents actually provided the very same income details that they claimed they wouldn't give? Oops. Apparently the perception of users does not always match the reality of the situation. Another example of this perceptual disconnect is that the study also found that 34 percent of respondents expected to experience credit card fraud as a result of their activities,... Read more...
You probably recall AOL's 2006 leak of search user data, which actually was more like a flood. AOL published the search logs of 650,000 subscribers, which eventually resulted in some heads rolling, after the smoke cleared. Why not take a tack from Law and Order and rip a story from the headlines, eh? And that's what director Michael Alltop did.The show--which opened Wednesday and runs through June 22--is based on a now infamous real-life search log that included queries ranging from "purple lilac," "happy bunny pictures," and "square dancing steps" to "cut into your trachea," "pee fetish," and "Simpsons incest." And that's just for starters."It was something that captured my imagination and seemed... Read more...
Federal regulators continue to come down on hard on corporate executives they believe are involved with misrepresenting investors and analysts.  The latest group to get collared were 8 executives from AOL Time Warner who are being charged with inflating the company’s online advertising revenue by more than $1 billion between 2000 and 2002.“Four of the executives have agreed to settle the civil charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission by paying a total of roughly $8 million in fines and returning allegedly ill-gotten gains.  They are David Colburn, Eric Keller, Jay Rappaport and James MacGuidwin, who was controller of the media company.  The other three were in its business affairs... Read more...
AOL has been synonymous with "get off my lawn, you young whippersnappers" for quite some time. Their massive revenue stream of dialup subscription money finally dried up completely a couple of years ago, and they desperately needed to find some other reason for people to look at their pages. They seem to have managed it the old-fashioned way; they're offering compelling content and drawing unique visitors. Now for the tricky bit; making it pay in ad revenue.Traffic to the sites -- including AOL Money & Finance, entertainment, and the male-oriented Asylum -- grew 15% to 56.5 million unique U.S. visitors in the first quarter from a year ago, according to comScore Media Metrix. Measured by traffic,... Read more...
In a somewhat surprising move, AOL has shelled out $850 million dollars to acquire social networking site Bebo. If you add Bebo's 40 million users worldwide to AOL's customer base for AIM and ICQ, AOL can now boast 80 million unique users. And AOL can show those 80 million users advertising while they're on their service. I imagine it's a little gloomy at both Facebook and Google this morning.  “Bebo is the perfect complement to AOL’s personal communications network and puts us in a leading position in social media,” said Randy Falco, Chairman and CEO, AOL. “What drew us to Bebo was its substantial and fast-growing worldwide user-base, its vision of a truly social web, and the monetization... Read more...
In a mildly comical turn of events, the people running Yahoo are apparently trying to patch together a merger with AOL as a sort of "poison pill" move that would make them unavailable for purchase by Microsoft. That seems unlikely, since Google owns a substantial share of AOL, so would likely run afoul of regulatory agencies as a de facto monopoly; Google and Yahoo are number one and number two in search.  Barricading themselves in their offices with hostages seems a possibility if something  else doesn't come along. Microsoft, whose offer for Yahoo is now worth $41.2 billion, was preparing to escalate its takeover fight by starting a proxy contest next week. But in an effort to delay... Read more...
Yahoo is an interesting entity. It has an enormous Internet presence, of course; 500 million visitors a month. But Yahoo seems like an audience without a show from time to time. Its share price has declined precipitously, losing half its value in the last two years; Google is killing them at Internet search; and social networking sites drag Yahoo's users off to hang out in their virtual worlds. How will Yahoo compete? By laying people off, for starters.During the weekend, some blogs reported that Yahoo was considering layoffs of 10 to 20 percent of its work force. But the people close to the company, who discussed Yahoo’s layoff plans on condition that they not be identified, said the cuts would... Read more...
Time Warner released its Q3 earnings report Wednesday, and boy does it look sad for AOL. In terms of subcribers, numbers dropped 5.1 million to 10.1 million, over a 33% drop in one year's time.According to Time Warner the firm’s revised strategy to refocus its business from subscribers to advertising is to blame for the subscriber loss. The company also sold off several of its overseas businesses over the past year, including AOL France, Germany and UK, and noted that its subscription service became less attractive as the company decided to offer its email service free of charge.   Time Warner said that AOL revenues declined 38% or $745 million from $1.96 billion to $1.22 billion year... Read more...
Todd Moeller of New Jersey was sentenced to 27 months for his part in sending 'spam' e-mails to more then 1.2 million AOL subscribers.  Sadly it seems that the scheme actually made Moeller, and his partner Adam Vitale quite a fortune: almost $40,000 a month!Their spamming was done via traditional monkeying with open mail servers and header tinkering.  Low-tech, but perhaps it doesn't take a lot to fool AOL customers or AOL's mail servers.“Moeller and Adam Vitale of New York pleaded guilty earlier this year to breaking anti-spam laws and defeating AOL's filter system by using a variety of computer servers and changing the header information on e-mails to ensure they could not be traced,... Read more...
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