In the wake of last week’s announcement reporting that Verizon was acquiring AOL for $4.4 billion in cash, a colleague asked me, “Is AOL still relevant?” The answer is a resounding yes, but not for the reasons one might think.
As a child of the 80’s and a proud, card-carrying nerd, I remember the days when 2–3 times a week, without fail, I would receive a CD in the mailbox exhorting me to sign up for the community of America On-Line. And in those days, the [sweet melody of dial-up] was the soundtrack to my adolescence. Believe it or not, AOL *still* derives revenue from dial-up subscribers, somewhere north of $150 million per quarter.
With the rise of cable internet, this part of the business has become increasingly less and less relevant. Many of you may not even know it, but you are consuming AOL properties everyday: The Huffington Post, StyleList, mapquest, TechCrunch and engadget are all owned by AOL. And the infrastructure they have built behind these properties is very significant. So while you may not have heard the soothing sounds of a modem in recent years, yes, Virginia, AOL is still relevant.