AOL Learns That You Can't Just Go 'Free, With Ads.' You Need To Give People Reasons To Visit

from the business-model-101 dept

It’s been a little over a year since AOL made the big decision to go free. It was about the only thing the company could do at the time. It’s subscriptions were dropping rapidly. It held little to differentiate itself from the many free services out there. It had failed to build a real broadband strategy for years. The problem, though, was that the decision to go free was made way too late and, most importantly, without much additional strategy behind it. It seemed like the strategy was basically just “if we go free, we’ll sell ads.” They left out the important middle step though: the company needed to actually give people a reason to visit and give advertisers a reason to buy ads. Without that step, it really isn’t surprising that the company is realizing its “free, with ads” strategy isn’t working as well as planned. On the same day that AOL officially bought another online ad company, it was revealed that the growth in ad revenue has been slowing, and it lost a big advertising partner. This is a good reminder, though, for other companies out there who are trying to figure out how to embrace “free” as a part of their business model. You can’t really neglect the rest of your business model.

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: aol, time warner

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “AOL Learns That You Can't Just Go 'Free, With Ads.' You Need To Give People Reasons To Visit”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
10 Comments
jhozae says:

It's the memory of AOL that keeps people away

I remember how AOL software would try to take over your computer, and make it difficult to use competing software. I remember how a non-profit I volunteered for paid 2 yrs for an account no longer used because we couldn’t cancel it. And if you wanted sites outside AOL, you had to open Netscape or Internet Explorer. But I remember that if you complained about things in an AOL acceptable manner, they would give you 3 or 4 months free. Don’t think I paid for the last year I had them. Still wasn’t worth the hassle though.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...