Where Can Shareholders Go Digging For AOL's Lost Billions?

from the ah,-fun-times dept

Following AOL’s little gold digging publicity stunt, it seems that some are pointing out that rather than digging up someone’s backyard, AOL’s shareholders might want to start digging up AOL to find out what happened to their lost market value. It’s an amusing bit of satire, though, it still does seem a bit unfair to blame Steve Case for the disappearance of approximately $300 billion in value. That’s taking the blame off of the shareholders who bid the stock up to such ridiculous levels, without a hint of skepticism about how such valuations would ever make sense. It wasn’t AOL that lost all that value (though, some of their missteps certainly helped speed the process right along), but a lack of even the slightest critical thinking among investors during the original dot com bubble years.

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Comments on “Where Can Shareholders Go Digging For AOL's Lost Billions?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I don't care...

“I thought they were gonna send thugs to break my knee caps when I tried to cancel my service with them.”

If they could afford to do that 1,000’s of times a day for every person dropping, they would have.

Unfortunately, its just cheaper to send a bullet in the mail. It might not be as personal as a hands on thug, but almost as effective, and a whole world cheaper.

Russell Webb says:

What were they thinking???

How hard is it to see that AOL was a Dial-Up company? The death of Dail-Up has been an easily predictable enevitablility for years and as Dial-Up goes so goes AOL. This is not brain surgery or rocket science. Anyone investing in AOL got what they deserved. There is no one to blame but themselves. Their lost billions are in the hands of more savy investors who new when to bail on AOL.

The Truth Beacon says:

Re: What were they thinking???

Dial-up still is and still will be here for a long time to come. The problem that AOL had was not the decline of dial-up, but the decline of price versus performance. There are still millions of dial-up users out there, but with all of the local services, and the services like PeoplePC out there, they are smart enough to realize that paying $25+- for the same thing as they can pay $5 – $10 for elsewhere is ridiculous. Plus, with all of the compression technologies that the other competitors offered and marketed the heck out of, AOL’s weaker compression offering went largely unknown – which swung the balance even more in favor of the cheaper, faster services.

Bill Carpenter says:

Look at the ridiculous paycheck Steve Case receive

If we all un-fog our memories, Steve Case was one of the first CEO’s to have 100+ million dollar salaries a year.

In 2000, Stevie Boy had a 122 Million dollar salary and received 1.2 Billion in stock options….

Hmmmmmm, I bet you couild find possibly a minimum of 20 billion in all the payemnts to Stevie….

Dan says:

Re: Look at the ridiculous paycheck Steve Case rec

I agree, I’m in the minority that think that good CEOs deserve whatever they get paid (just like us lowly good workers)… but crappy CEOs should get a swift kick in the balls.

Such large paychecks are undeserved for a company whose business model obviously didn’t have the flexibility to deal with the rapidly changing technology market.

Unless they make a MAJOR shift, AOL will be dead soon.

Wunderboi says:

How foolish thou all art

Everyone makes it sound as if AOL will not cancel your account, that the software is impossible to remove, etc, etc. I say you’re all a bunch of pansies that haven’t a clue.

I was with AOL for 11 years, quite a few of them free years, as I hosted a music chat and a graphics chats, and beta tested. I uninstalled/upgraded/reinstalled/whatever many times. NEVER a problem. Uninstall something correctly and it uninstalls. Simple as that.

When I called to cancel after I quit hosting, and decided I wasn’t going to pay for the service, their rep said they were sorry to see me go after so long, but IMMEDIATELY canceled my service after explaining that I could come back within a certain amount of time, yada yada yada.

There was NONE of the pushiness, almost refusal to cancel, etc that people whine about all the time.

I should hire myself out to do AOL uninstalls and cancellations, I suppose.

Please note, I am NOT pro-AOL. They had a place at one time, but have been eclipsed for years by browsers, portals, search engines, broadband, etc. Had it not been for getting a freebie from 1999 to 2005, I would have been gone years sooner. But I can’t stand hearing panty-waisted whining about things that are 95% just people jumping on the bandwagon to whine.

Bunch of whiney dumbasses couldn’t find their asses with both hands if they were sitting on them!

Lay Person says:

Re: How foolish thou all art

To #6…

Listen up Blunderboi… I have been a consultant for over 13 years.

You think I enjoy coming on here and challenging people like you?

No, I don’t. I’m hardly whining…

Whatever experinces you’ve had, are most certainly the exception and not the rule. With that in mind, it turns out that you’re the only whiner here.

AOL sucks big schlong…allways has, allways will. Sure thay had potential but they pissed it all away around 2000.

So please just stop with the AOL support. You are simply too young to understand and too old to know the difference….

Sanguine Dream says:

Re: How foolish thou all art

You’re a lucky one then. I had problems trying to cancel AOL. I don’t mind the I’m sorry bit from the service rep but when I say, “I want to cancel,” why counter with, “What I’m gonna do is give you three free months and if you don’t want to keep it then call us and we’ll cancel it.”? Its okay to try to salvage a customer but don’t try to lock me in endless loop of three free AOL months in hopes that I forget to call so you can start charging me again (which almost happened).

My dad had problems to point where AOL was actually trying to debit his bank account for nearly a year after he cancelled. They would say the account was cancelled but the they were still trying to debit him so out of curiosity we tried to sign on to it. Low and behold we couldn’t sign on. If he couldn’t use the account and AOL said it was cancelled then why were they still trying to debit him?

Getting rid of the software was not a major problem but it was an annoyance since it had set itself for the default everything except OS.

And I highly doubt those are the worst horror stories one can find on cancelling AOL. And seriously doubt that only 5% of the complainers are legit and 95% are bandwagoning.

WhooTAZ says:

Raping of America

AOL continues to Rape Americans with their ridiculous rates for ancient technology. Now that Americans are waking up, AOL is forced to look beyond their blinders of screwing people and look for new avenues of revenue as the MASS EXODUS of paying subscribers are leaving in STAMPEDE mode.

Wow, free AOL E-mail, what a concept…… Ding Dong the witch is about dead….. AOL will be a has been in another 10 years…

Steve Case is laughing and rolling on the floor laughing with his billions in the bank….

AOL now is Americans On Laxitives

circuithead says:

i remember when

I remember when aol wasn’t unlimited, and I would signup for accounts to get the 50 hours free and then cancel …otherwise I’d be paying $100’s for service because you only got 20 hours per month for $19.95.

The revolution of course was when they went unlimited and people started signing up in droves.

The problem AOL has always had was that they remembered that revolution, and how they started it…then they never let that model go.

An example of this was them giving you 7000 hours free as a trial even though it was only 22 a month for unlimited service. The death blow will be when wireless internet is available to the masses through developing technologies such as wimax, since email is free now.(the only other reason to keep an account)

GladToSeeAolGo says:

How foolish thou all art

You definetly were the exception. I’ve heard plenty of people complaining about aol, not to mention the little stunt they pulled on me.

At the time I was cycling between billing options to get continuous free aol… about the 4th time through when I went to cancel my account I did so with only a little hassle on their end… only to have my account billed the next month for AOL service… as it turns the person I talked to didn’t cancel my account at all and the cancelation ID he gave me was completely bogus. Of course, at that time I forgot the name he gave me, which was probably fake as well, so I couldn’t report him by name. AOL sent me a letter threatening to take the 60$ or whatever I owed them to a collections agency and I called them up and told them to fuck off as they’re never getting money that I don’t owe them.

I’ve never heard from them since but I had to cancel my checking account. I’m certainly not whining about them but that was a bullshit stunt they did and I’m glad to see them in the position that they’re in.

As far as uninstalling their software… you must not know anything about the windows registry… aol infects it with garbage that isn’t needed and does NOT get rid of it through Add/Remove programs… you need a registry cleaner and then some entries still exist… do you know what an inconvenience it is having to search through and clean all the crap out? oh yea, you don’t, as you apparently have no clue about the registry to begin with.

sidney orr says:

AOL's "citizenship"

The truth is, AOL is a bit of an example of the Enron/Worldcom/Dennis Kozlowski/Bernie Ebbers

paradigm: sr mgrs extracting as much as possible for themselves, screwing customers and shareholders and their colleagues (…just check, and see the many lost customer lawsuits in evidence re AOL!!!)…

I was screwed by AOL in the mid-90s, said so in an NPR interview by Adam Hockberg a few years later, and predicted their demise… I am surprised it hasn’t happened sooner – such a nice enterprise…..

My theory is that most americans LOVE to be

screwed by large enterprises, an dthere’s a lot to support that theory!

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