In a valiant effort to shine shit, AOL’s CEO declared today a “milestone in the turnaround of AOL as [ad revenue] [grew a little] for the first time [in years]” and that he is “proud” and “focused on accelerating momentum through continued execution strategy to become the premier digital content company.”

Translation? AOL’s earnings dropped 90% over the past year and thanks in part to buying up a bunch of big sites like Techcrunch (whose traffic has since plummeted, subjecting readers along the way, astonishingly, to interstitial ads), they sold 4% more display advertising though overall ad revenue fell 11% somehow, overall revenue dropping 17% year over year (but who’s counting).

Perhaps with some of 75% of AOL subscribers who don’t realize they don’t need to pay AOL in order to go online accounted for AOL’s shedding 25% of their much needed subscription revenue. Also, according to their annual report they lost $782 million for the year (not too bad if you compare it to 2008 where they dropped $1.5 billion). In the past three years their total assets dropped a billion dollars in value each year and dropped two billion in 2007.

So what’s the verdict readers, good time to bargain hunt for some AOL shares? Or focus instead on shorting RIM like I keep telling you to? Is AOL even a going concern anymore?

Doug Simmons


  1. Well, … this guy. – – [03/May/2011:14:55:03 -0400] “GET /blankmd.gif HTTP/1.1” 304 131 “” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; AOL 9.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 3.0.4506.2152; .NET CLR 3.5.30729)”

    and or own Jimski “has a friend” who swears by it.

  2. My thoughts exactly. Man, using an AOL browser, apparently an old IE presumably laced up with AOL toolbar crap and whatever else that guy has, and on top of that behind a proxy, and on top of that, tucked inside the AOL program, yikes.

    That we get more hits from AOL’s crawler than AOLers tells me consumers are finally smartening up. But man, AOL does not make it easy to extract one of their customers even if he really wants to leave AOL between their cancellation mitigation experts on the phone and trying to export all your shit. That’s the one job I hate getting and only do because I want to hang onto the client, but in the end it’s at least a little satisfying that I helped free someone and helped AOL’s subscription count adjust in a more natural way based on the demand for their services, not how difficult it is to leave.

    One thing that would be difficult to do is tally up the number of lawsuits just in this country against AOL for these practices.

    I don’t know why they haven’t declared bankruptcy. They’re not that far from insolvency given the rate at which they lose billions of dollars. As if the Huffington Post will turn things around for them …

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