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Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Un-branding of AOL

Time Warner Inc.'s AOL has long been synonymous with dial-up Internet connections, if you where around in the early days of the Internet you probably cursed your mailman every time an AOL disk filled your mail box. The brass at AOL are finally seeing the age of it's brand is not doing them any favors when it comes to eyeballs on websites. The AOL brand is becoming less relevant, particularly with the younger demographic and the company is allowing it's brand to take a back seat on some of it's new properties. According to "AOL figures that to grow its audiences — and draw additional advertising the company crucially needs to offset plunging revenue from its shrinking base of Internet access subscribers — it must break from a one-size-fits-all model and let its specialty sites set their own designs and editorial tone, shedding the AOL brand when necessary." As AOL's parent, Time Warner Inc. has put it in a regulatory filing: “If AOL cannot effectively build a portfolio of alternate brands that are appealing to Internet consumers, AOL may have difficulty in increasing the engagement of Internet consumers on its Web products and services. AOL believes that the ‘AOL' brand is associated in the minds of consumers with its dial-up Internet access service.”

It's interesting to see how those properties that have been around for some time now are adapting to a maturing landscape on the Internet, one where the rules keep rewriting themselves and businesses need to be agile in order to remain relevant...