AOL’s email usage is a key driver of valuable traffic to its web and search properties, according to a report issued by RBC Capital. Unfortunately for the company, this usage is cratering.
The idea behind making AOL free was to try to retain more email users, who were otherwise quitting the service, fleeing to free web-based mail services, and taking their media pageviews with them. For a while, this worked. In the past year, however, AOL email users appear to be fleeing again.
How dependent is AOL’s media business on AOL Mail usage? Very. Using comScore data, RBC found that 41% of AOL’s homepage traffic came from email and 24% of search came from email. Other big properties like Mapquest, News, Finance and Living also depend on email. If AOL’s email usage continues to crater, therefore, the company is cooked.
For this reason, AOL needs to maintain and upgrade its email program immediately.
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