Infographic of the Day: Where Did Aol Go Wrong?

Is Aol sliding into irrelevance?

The past several years have not been good to Aol. First, the disastrous merger with TimeWarner, and most recently, the acquisition of social-networking site Bebo for $850 million in cash which will conclude with Bebo being shuttered or sold next month.

This infographic lays out the main points—and the rapidly disappearing subscriber business.

Obviously, things aren't great at Aol. But they're not quite as bad as the chart makes it look, and the company does have a reasonable strategy in place.

The one thing that's obviously misleading about the chart is the visual punch delivered by the decline in Aol subscribers. But Aol hasn't been pursuing a subscriber-based strategy for some time—rather, they're pooling their resources into branded blogs dedicated to myriad subjects. So of course their subscribers are declining.

It 's more interesting to see their monthly-visitor stats, when compared against Yahoo! and MSN. As you can see in those links, is actually growing their audience at a very rapid clip, as is MSN. Yahoo, while large, is struggling to hold its audience.

That Aol still exists, despite being founded on a business model that's been dead for a good seven years, is nothing short of miraculous.

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  • Todd Singleton

    AOL's proprietary interface and features combined with their legacy association with dial-up lead to their lack of acceptance among techies and that is the kiss of death on the internet. It was doomed long before TW - back when old folks thought AOL was the Internet.

  • Lewis Martin

    Yeah the article rightly points the fluctuations of Aol. Aol has not been able to manage the stats in a proper way. Though it attracted the new visitors, It wasn't able to hold the old visitors like google does. This is perhaps because of the poor strategies that they adopt.
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