21 January 2011

AOL Subscribers Are Idiots

In 2002, AOL had 35 million subscribers. Now, it has 4 million subscribers who generate $244 million in revenues.

80% of the company's profits STILL come from AOL's subscription business.

What's troubling about AOL's subscription business is who the subscribers are and why they may be sticking around . . . "older people who have cable or DSL service but don't realize that they need not pay an additional $25 a month to get online and check their email."

A former AOL exec explains that this is AOL's "dirty little secret" – "that 75% of the people who subscribe to AOL's dial-up service don't need it."

1 comment:

BSR said...

I have a local customer who hired me to do some IT wiring in his condo. When finished, we fired up his computer to make sure everything worked. He had AOL, and it worked fine, but when I told him he didn't need that and could get on the internet with just his Qwest DSL, he wasn't interested in changing.

He had been doing things this way for several years, and as long as he was able to get online and get his AOL e-mail, he saw no reason to muddy the waters by changing things around. This is someone who once removed from his technological comfort zone got lost very quickly, so I didn't try to convince him. Possibly, being in his 70s, he felt there was little reason for him to learn something new.

I think the term idiot is possibly a bit harsh. Most of the users I see with that attitude are just not well informed of their options and how to change things. I don't think most are unintelligent. By-and-large, they don't want to pay an IT professional to sit down with them for an hour or two and train, so unless they are lucky enough to have a relative or friend with that knowledge they remain stuck where they are.

Most are older, and technologically unsophisticated. Many have been burned several times in the past online with virus-infections or incorrect settings, and so there is a healthy dose of "if it ain't broke don't fix it" mentality amongst those users.