In his big New Yorker profile on AOL this week, Ken Auletta explained that 80% of the company’s profits STILL come from AOL’s subscription business.
What’s troubling about AOL’s subscription business is who the subscribers are and why they may be sticking around – in Auletta’s words, “older people who have cable or DSL service but don’t realise that they need not pay an additional $25 a month to get online and check their email.”
A former AOL exec explains that this is AOL’s “dirty little secret” – “that 75% of the people who subscribe to AOL’s dial-up service don’t need it.”
AOL’s subscriber revenues during Q3 2010 were $244 million on 4 million customers.
Unless AOL can figure out a way to give subscribers something that they do need to pay for (and then keep paying), this will eventually come to an end. AOL is down from 35 million subscribers in 2002.
But if a big portion of AOL’s subscribers really are only paying the company because they think they have to to keep using their free email, you have to agree – this is not ending fast enough.
To help change that, we’ve put together a click-by-click demonstration showing how any AOL user can quit the service from the AOL web client (presumably where most users who get their Internet service from somewhere else still get their AOL mail.) Pass this post on to anyone you think might need it.
To be clear: If you have a cable or DSL Internet you do not need to pay AOL any money ever to access your email, even it is AOL email.
Editor’s note: This post originally referred to AOL’s subscription business as a “scam.” It does raise some interesting ethical questions, but it is not a scam. We have apologzed to AOL and our readers for describing it as such here.
Ignore everything on the next page (it's organised to get you to keep paying) and click continue on the the bottom left
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