An interesting story in this past Saturday’s NY Times – http://nyti.ms/b2RQFQ discussed the revamping of AOL’s website to give a greater emphasis to news created by AOL’s staff as well as original video clips. This appears to me that it could be a good idea – had it happened three years ago.
AOL’s CEO Tim Armstrong touted that AOL is,”still a very desirable place to advertise – very high household income, and more women than men”. All I could think was – so they’re old. In many cases very old. I don’t know the statistics but it’s hard to imagine very many people under the age of 35 that use AOL for anything else than an email address.
The article goes on to note that since January 2010, the number of unique visitors to AOL’s home page has declined 27 percent. Revenue during the first half of this year is down 25%. So it’s happening right now that AOL is becoming more irrelevant with each passing day.
And is it really any surprise? With the online world taking on a truly global focus how does AMERICA ONLINE fit in with a world view? Is there any way that anyone outside the United States would ever use AOL? That’s not true of Google, or Yahoo or even Microsoft’s home page. They have users from all over the globe. Somehow AOL in French or Chinese does not really work does it?
The new design will also move video near the top of the page – WOW – revolutionary! Clips will include a series called – “You’ve Got”. Is that like “You’ve Got Mail”? The 1998 hit movie starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan? That was 12 years ago folks – and I hate to break it to AOL but things have changed in the online world just a bit over the past 12 years.
Maybe I am missing something big here. After all AOL’s revenue was $ 1.24 billion in the first six months even if it was down 25%. But comments that Mr. Armstrong made like blaming AOL’s shrinking (maybe shriveling would be a better word?) dial-up access (Dial-up??? Are you kidding?) is responsible for the declines. Ya think?
With AOL’s first overhaul of the home page since 2008, Mr. Armstrong went on to say that the philosophy behind the page was to inform visitors while also entertaining them. The focus will shift during the day from being news-oriented in the morning to a focus on lifestyle in the afternoon. I guess he’s not too concerned about the evening and night’s since most of the users are fast asleep by 9PM.
Finally the article notes Mr. Armstrong commenting “We are basically trying to make sure that our users are prepared for the day and they don’t get caught with their pants off.” If that were to happen it would likely only be because they forgot to put them on in the first place.
Ok all you AOL lovers out there – let me have it. Speak up now – it’s your turn.