AOL’s much ballyhooed plan to dismantle its subscription service and put all its content on, as well as discontinue to the use of “retention consultants” to “save” people from cancelling, is far from set in stone.

CEO Jonathan Miller still needs to present his plan to the board, which he will do in two week’s time. Miller has offered various strategies before to revamp operations, including online shopping, premium subscriptions with unique content, high-speed broadband and the free site.

The bull puts it best: “Ms. Cohen of Merrill Lynch said she had lost count of AOL’s various revival plans. “This one seems to make sense,” she said, “but so did their other strategies.””

Questions remain about the future of AOL, most especially, what beverage is best to pour on the grave? The dance to pack that drink in is, however, without mystery. Definitely the Electric Slide.

UPDATE: BREAKING: Spitzer To Talk To AOL, Again

At AOL, a Plan for a Clean Break” [NYT]


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  1. AcidReign says:

    …..As a very long-time AOL user, this worries the crap out of me. They cling like barnacles to subscribers who want to quit, but now they don’t want my $14.95 a month? I’m perfectly willing to pay it, but I want my email service left the hell alone. I can see them trying to shunt everyone over to some cheap-ass, insecure, buggy web-mail service…

    …..Mainly, as other commenters have put it, I’m an old fart that wants to keep his same old email address he’s always had, and to use the familiar, non-Outlook mail interface. I’ve got tens of thousands of old emails archived in the AOL filing cabinet, and I’m not interested in trying to port it out to some other format. I never browse the net with their software. It’s basically stripped-down MSIE with tiny buttons.

    …..They do need to change their software installation, though. There is an awful lot of crapware to uninstall after an AOL 9.0 installation! I recommend a little app called aolcleaner.exe that I found at Majorgeeks.

  2. ModerateSnark says:

    No worries, AcidReign (hey, I just gave you a recipe tip elsewhere!).

    I’m sure they’ll still charge you for internet access and let you keep your email account just the way it is.

    What is becoming “free” is their “premium services,” which you probably never used anyway. They are just going to make parts of the AOL website that were only accessible to members open to the whole internet and supported by advertising, like most everything else on the ‘net.

  3. ModerateSnark says:

    I’m not big on “karma,” but maybe the best new policy for AOL would simply be “quit being jerks and customers will follow.”

  4. AcidReign says:

    …..I don’t pay AOL for internet access. I’ve got separate DSL, Bellsouth, that has email that sometimes takes days to get delivered…

  5. ModerateSnark says:

    I stand partially corrected, AcidReign.

    I’ve never actually been an AOL user, but I remember when they were marketing “bring your own access” AOL membership for $9.95 per month, so I assumed $14.95 included some kind of minimal access (maybe a few dial-up hours a month you could use as a backup when if your broadband goes down).

    Anyway, I’m pretty sure most of what I said still stands; they’ll still take your money and let you use the email access you’re used to. AOL is going to try to be more like Yahoo, Google, YouTube, and so on, but their services like news, sports, stocks, etc., will change first by being opened up to non-AOL members. AOL mail would be the last thing they’d change. They’ve already got AIM mail to compete(?) with free email services.