What About AOL?

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

What About AOL?

Tonight, Steve Case was on twitter tweeting, "Sad AOL went from being Internet pioneer/leader to also-ran. But still more there then most understand; hopeful can return to greatness." My replies were as follows: what they need are some young, hungry start-up execs, but what they will get is a stodgy exec that wants to cost cut and ride it out.

Why do I say that? Look at Embarq. Hesse had a couple months to pick a team and formulate a plan for the soon-to-be spun off Embarq. What did he do? Let's go with DSL and cost cutting. Blah! They needed that at Sprint not at Embarq. The next guy, Gerke, who took over last March, has been trying to be innovative with the eGo home phone. But EMBQ was already up for sale just trying to find a match.

Then you have EarthLink. Under Barry, it was trying everything: Muni Wi-Fi, BPL, MVNO, etc. He dies. The balls drop to the ground. The Board hires Rolla Hoff to come in, cost cut and try to find a buyer. No go. Just ride it out.

AOL has a wealth of brand recognition and content. It has active email accounts and IM users. My thoughts: go mobile with mobile IM app, definitely make the website and its content WAP based. Create MyAOL for the smartphone for $9.95 per month.

Also, I would have a premium email service that has extra value like saved address book, calendar and mobile access.

AOL has an advertising platform that I am not certain would spin-off, but if it did, there's cash and potential there, just like with the dial-up silo. And ADN, which it the AOL backbone is also something that could be leveraged.

I would even partner with ISP's to be the portal and content partner. Maybe the cable guys would like a deal like Yahoo has with AT&T.

Anyway, there's plenty there to be worked (a social network too I think), but it wouldn't be that hard to find someone creative and passionate enough to run it. (Hey, Steve, my CV is on LinkedIn!)

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