AOL Gives Up The Ghost


 AOL Gives Up The Ghost

If you're like me, you thought the Aol of today is completely different from the one we used to know. It's still easy to set up an account and get a free email, but it seems that AOL has been steadily moving in the opposite direction of today's modern technology trends. When I think about my internet usage habits when I was younger and how they have changed in recent years, I start to wonder if AOL will eventually need to just give up on their original mission all together. This post examines what happened with AOL over the last few years and what could potentially happen with it in the future.
While I was in high school, AOL was the only way to connect to the internet. Back in those days, AOL had to compete with local ISPs and the government for market share. AT&T and NTIA were already starting to lay down the infrastructure for their internet network that would eventually become what we know as DSL. While I was in college, AOL was still a dominant player in the PC space, but Microsoft Internet Explorer started becoming more popular as a web browser. It really wasn't until after college that I started using other ISPs because I needed faster download speeds and affordable pricing plans. I think if I had to choose a time in history where AOL could have been at their peak, it would have been in the early 2000s.
At one point, Aol was responsible for 75% of all online traffic. Their online service worked so well because it actually contained all the applications you would need for everyday web browsing. If you wanted to read your mail, chat with people, and play some original games developed by Aol, Aol would provide all those services while other companies would at least try to create their own similar experiences. Today though, most users don't even know how to use a web browser anymore and just expect everything they will ever need online to be in a Facebook app.
It's tough to say when or if the decline of AOL online began, but I think it probably had something to do with them failing to develop their own original content. Instead of trying to compete with companies like Google and Microsoft for the market share, Aol just started pushing out a steady stream of ghostwritten articles from other websites. This was a huge mistake because they were terrible at creating good content and most people couldn't tell the difference between their content and real content from other websites. The best videos that AOL would create would be absolutely horrendous.
Because AOL's content on their websites was so terrible, the only thing people wanted to do was use an Aol email address for free email or get a special Aol messenger phone number. This is how I ended up getting an Aol email account in the first place, but when I really started using it, I started to see why other ISPs had been starting to pull ahead of them. The service is pretty expensive and there are much faster services available elsewhere.
AOL's usage has been steadily decreasing year after year because each day newer and better options pop up online. People don't want to waste their money paying for a slow service that doesn't even have the basic features many young people need when it comes to internet access. I know I don't use Aol email anymore because it's too slow and they don't have enough features. There's no chat feature for Aol instant messenger or any of the applications that are still popular on other online services.
I think a lot of it had to do with the marketing as well. When AOL was still the dominant force in the online world, they pushed out a lot of awful commercials that didn't make sense to anyone who was already using digital media regularly.


Aol never really fully embraced the internet and didn't have any real original content to offer. It's still an old service that tries to hide from people instead of interact with them in any meaningful way. The company has been slowly losing ground online because it was trying to create a very traditional model of the internet that doesn't make any sense in this day and age. Aol is still an online service, but not one like you would expect with something as modern as Gmail, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Facebook. Gone are the days when Aol could compete with anyone for market share for people's attention.

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