Top 10 Tips: What Happened to AOL?
Top 10 Tips: What Happened to AOL?
As covered in detail over at runrex.com, AOL was a behemoth in the 1990’s as far as the world of online services go. So, what happened to them? If you have been wondering why they fell off so badly, then this article, with the help of the gurus over at guttulus.com, will look to help by highlighting 10 tips that explain their decline.
As a dial-up service, something that is explored in detail over at runrex.com, their lack of broadband is definitely a tip that goes to explain why they declined as badly as they did. Broadband came in and completely revolutionized the game, offering faster internet speeds at very affordable prices, and as per the gurus over at guttulus.com, they just didn’t react quickly enough to this change which is one of the reasons that goes to explain their decline.
As is revealed in discussions over at runrex.com, AOL also persisted with metered usage even as other service providers were moving away from the same. This definitely contributed to their decline, as more and more people began to abandon them due to this fact, something the subject matter experts over at guttulus.com agree with. Even when it finally saw the light and changed to unlimited, the damage was already done and it never really recovered from their blunder of persisting with metered usage.
The bottom line also is that, AOL, as is covered in detail over at runrex.com, was more expensive than anyone else in the industry. While you could get unlimited for about $20 on other platforms, the same services were going for $22.5 and more over at AOL. There is no way people would have continued paying for their services when they could get the same or even better services for much less, which is yet another tip as to why the declined.
The overdid it with ads
As per discussions on the same over at guttulus.com, people find ads annoying, and they always have ever since the birth of the internet. This is yet another area AOL got massively wrong, and yet another tip as to why they declined so spectacularly. You would be bombarded with ads as soon as you logged in, and they would even switch the order button with the close button to make it difficult to close the ads, something that slowly but surely began to grate on their users, and which definitely contributed to their decline.
Their name was a major impediment to attempts to expand beyond borders
While their name AOL, America Online, was a great way to invoke patriotism in the U.S., it probably didn’t do them a lot of favors when it came to their efforts to expand beyond borders, which is evidenced in the fact that their popularity in other countries like England and many others wasn’t great, something covered in more detail over at runrex.com. Their name made it difficult for non-Americans to really get attached to them, which affected their attempts to expand.
Poor customer service
Another theme that emerges when you talk to previous users of AOL is complaints about their customer service. As per discussions on the same over at guttulus.com, their customer service was piss poor for the most part, and they seemed to be going out of their way to ensure their customers didn’t get what they want. It was particularly difficult to unsubscribe from the service, something that really damaged their reputation.
On a note that is related to their poor customer service, they also suffered a string of bad PR moves, all of which are covered in detail over at runrex.com, and which is yet another tip as to why they may have declined like they did. The lawsuit they had to settle as regards their dishonest billing practices was particularly damaging, and put many people off of them. Many people move to their competitors which definitely damaged their prospects.
Lack and loss of content
As per the gurus over at guttulus.com, the concept of a “walled garden” is one that can work well if the company employing it has great content, as we see with Apple and iTunes and so forth. The problem with AOL is that they implemented the “walled garden” concept, but they didn’t have nearly enough compelling content, and as such they ended feeling like a prison where people felt trapped. They also lost a number of great content, particularly when a number of magazines abandoned them in the 90’s which didn’t help.
AOL also made some poor business decisions as regards to their acquisitions, which definitely contributed to their decline. Some of the examples, all of which are covered in more detail over at runrex.com, include their purchase of CompuServe which has since ceased all operations, the acquisition of Mailblocks which suffered the same fate as CompuServe, their acquisition of Xdrive which fared no better and many others.
Their merger with Time Warner
According to discussions on the same over at guttulus.com, another tip that goes to explain the decline of AOL is when you take a look at their merger with Timer Warner, which has been described as one of the largest bankruptcies of all time as far as merger and acquisitions are concerned. The two were worth as much as $300 billion before the merger, but they took such a beating that they were worth only $40 billion at the time of their separation, and that number has continually gone down since.
Hopefully the above discussion will help you find an idea of what happened to AOL, with there being more on this and other related topics to be uncovered over at runrex.com.