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, Aol.com 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.