Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

AOL Name Change to Advertising OnLine

I was sad to read that AOL in Dulles, VA has laid off another 2000 workers as part of a “incredibly complex and significant transformation“. Just last month AOL officially moved their headquarters to New York City not far from Madison Avenue. Until now, AOL had been the 2nd largest employer in Loudoun County, Virginia.

It’s time I accept the reality, AOL is no longer the innovative online service that I once knew and loved. Our vision was to create a service that could be used by anyone and didn’t require knowledge of parity bits, baud rates and intricate commands. We were proud to provide clickable graphical content instead of black and white scrolling screens of text.

According to CEO Randy Falco in his letter to employees, “my vision for AOL is to build the largest and most sophisticated global advertising network”. This is change from the late 80’s when AOL employees laughed at Prodigy because their service had advertising covering the lower third of the screen. Now I wonder if AOL will be looking to purchase adware companies the likes of 180Solutions, Claria or Direct Revenue.

The point was hammered home last night when I received “Certified AOL Mail” from a travel search company called Side Step.

Junk mail certified by AOL
AOL Certified SPAM

I never signed up or requested Emails from Side Step. The Email was very careful to follow the minimum requirements of the Can-Spam Act of 2003. Having this Email “Certified” by AOL means nothing to me other than “Advertising OnLine” was paid by this company to spam my Email account.

These days AOL has little to offer besides a familiar interface and that’s slowly being eroded. This is a far cry from efforts like the original AOL Greenhouse designed to encourage unique and interesting content. The current AOL Greenhouse is an Add-on tool development group for AOL staffers only.

Previous AOL posts:
Ads in AOL Email
Remove AOL Free Email Advertising
Full Pay & Benefits for forum volunteers
Welcome to the End of the Computer Age

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