Posted January 13, 2009 4:13 pm by with 12 comments

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The New AOLIt seems like just yesterday I was using AOL for all of my Internet needs. Now as AOL continues to hang on by tooth and nail, they are forming to new divisions: People Networks and MediaGlow.

The People Networks division is pretty straight forward. Its primary focus will be AOL’s media properties Bebo and AOL Instant Messenger (does anyone still use a single IM client?).

AdWeek reports that the MediaGlow division will focus on the niche properties that AOL owns, like AOL Health and TMZ. AOL claims that these sites are what set them apart from their rivals Yahoo and MSN. I suppose they gave up on trying to catch Google.

EVP, and now MediaGlow President, Bill Wilson says:

We’re not counting on our portal to drive traffic. That’s such a difference from where we sat three years ago. We’re really focusing on editorial voice . . . and we are focused on creating as many relevant starting points as possible. Others have different plans.

Wilson claims AOL is reinventing itself. It is great to see that they are finally taking some initiative to change things around. They are barely holding on to any search market share, so it is time for them to step things up.

Just a few weeks ago AOL launched AOL Music, their first site for the “open web” direction MediaGlow is taking them. “We’re really leaning into the fragmentation of the Web very aggressively. Clearly we are doubling down here. This is a reinvention of AOL. It’s a transformation of the company,” Wilson said.

What do you think of the direction AOL is headed? Is it the right move?

  • I think it’s a good move – they’re losing the search game (thought they gave up years ago) and I rarely visit them to “learn about things”, so it looks like they’re losing on both fronts. They have the resources to create content that attracts consumers… I doubt they have what it takes to compete with Google in search.

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    Should be a good move. AOL has been sliding down the pecking order of ISPs and hopefully this will revitalise them

  • I think it’s a great move… Primarily because, right now, they can’t fall much further and they need to do something, anything, to revitalise them. I wish them luck and applaude their shift in direction.

  • It is indicative of the sheer dominance of Google when AOL doesn’t even list them as the competition, but Yahoo and MSN. IT seems that the three of them are squabbling for the scraps, so to speak! Focusing on what works best and is most profitable does make sense, and here’s to AOL and their new babies, Mediaglow and People Networks.

  • AOL is a search engine!? WOW! Didn’t know that… :S

  • Well, I guess it is good that they are trying to do SOMETHING. I mean, about 10-12 years ago, they dominated the market. But with the fall of dial-up, and the rise of other stronger companies, it has definitely been sidelined… I don’t know if this ‘reinvention’ will work, as I am not personally interested in anything that they offer… reinvented or not… but.. who knows?!

    And yes, AOL is a search engine, a sorely underused search engine. I get about 20 visits from them a month, lol. Compared with thousands from Google.

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  • That’s funny that they don’t even mention Google. This seems like a great idea in that it lets those divisions focus on what they do best and not get caught up in the rest of AOL’s parts.

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  • Both strategies, grow big and get smaller have its followers. I personally think that smaller units make for better management and growth.

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  • Seems like more of a hindrance than anything.

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    I’m not sure if it seems like “yesterday” Taylor but I have fond memories of AOL when it first came to the UK. It was the fastest dial up out there and was loved by many.

    Unfortunately, as broadband developed, the clunky interface lost it’s appeal.

  • It is a move to the right direction. Probably they will manage to attract more users. At least I hope so.

  • What is AOL’s major revenue stream? Is it still mostly from internet connectivity or advertising? I think these are good ideas