Update to my AOL and Dial-UP VoIP blog entry:
A source told me that AOL's plans are indeed for broadband not dial-up. Here's my take on it... First, AOL isn't a "true" broadband provider. In fact, they used to resell cable modems and DSL access then get people to sign-up for a broadband provider and AOL. It's their BYOA content model - Bring Your Own Access and we'll provide the content (at a price). The value add is AOL's proprietary content. They actually got out of this business model in March of this year. AOL officials stated in March that it will no longer resell cable modem and DSL access, refocusing its broadband efforts entirely on content and services. "We’re phasing out connectivity because what we do best are services and features," the spokeswoman said. "We’re focusing on what broadband users want, and we can offer a lot more of those things if we’re not aggregating these different access services."
So basically, AOL's value add goes back to content. Sure, a few years ago a lot of people JUST HAD to sign up with AOL because everyone was on their IM (Instant Message) client. If you wanted to chat with friends, you had to use AOL (or their AIM program which is free, but most people just signed up with AOL with those AOL CD mailers). AOL's IM and chat room advantages are no longer the case today, with chat programs that interoperate, and better chat room programs such as mIRC, that "value add" is gone. That leaves good web content - I can find just as good content on the Web that is FREE versus AOL's monthly subscription to their proprietary content.
Finally, I'm not sure I am willing to pay $30/month for broadband (Charter, SBC, Comcast, etc.) and then an additional $19.99 per month for AOL's content, which again, let me reiterate, is often found elsewhere on the Internet. But apparently there are millions of AOL broadband idiots who do see the need for AOL's content. Sorry, that was harsh, but I just don't get why they are wasting their money.
I used AOL in the past over dial-up and I hated their interface which was too childish/cartoonish. Today, I really don't see the need for AOL's proprietary interface. Give me a web browser any day. I see AOL's broadband subscriber list slowing and then eventually retreating. If I owned AOL stock, I would be selling it... but that's just my opinion.