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, 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.