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AOL Taking a Bath

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