General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

How did AOL miss out on the social media boom?

Asked by Ltryptophan (9100 points ) February 1st, 2011

Seems to me 15 years ago, AOL was it. Even still I think that what they did then created what social media networks are today in many respects. They had instant messaging, chat rooms, and profiles to name a few things.

Furthermore the energy behind AOL, was different. Everything was new then. Facebook is great, but it still feels like old news.

AOL had funding, and surely the right talent to stay on top of the social media stage.

How did they fall asleep?

Can they regain a piece of the social networking pie?

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6 Answers

jerv's avatar

A CEO of a major computer company walks out on stage with a mysterious flatscreen device. It has pretty icons on the screen and no keyboard. It is heralded as the future of computing.

That was not Steve Jobs with the iPad last year, but rather Bill Gates with a tablet PC back in 2000.

Technical superiority means nothing if you don’t have the charisma, but if you can get a cult following then you can sell anything.

AOL had the goods, but they didn’t have the charisma.

Earthgirl's avatar

Back then they had very little competition. They dumbed everything down and it was bland. The graphics and layout are still super boring IMHO. Plus, they were not perceived as cool, just middle of the road, standing for everybody yet nobody in particular. Not personalized enough.

Nullo's avatar

For some reason, the elements that develop are rarely the elements that reap the rewards. They are stuck in their ways, and then some bright young entrepreneur comes along and applies their findings. Kinda like what happened with DOS.

BarnacleBill's avatar

AOL charged for their service, and got knocked out by people doing it for free. Problem is, the cost of free is invasion of individual privacy. You get free at the price of access to your personal information, which is sold to marketers. There’s talk about going back to paid, in exchange for privacy.

santoshannamalai's avatar

No predictions as of now so to speak. We are talking about a dynamic evolving Industry! Although AOL is a long time player in the market, they lack strategists. To me I would say, they have not taken steps to understand the latest trends, the way internet is being consumed..etc. We are living in a SOCIAL set-up where all the users are contributors. May be AOL should relook at the products they have and add a pinch of social elements they lack jus now. Have you ever heard about seed (www.seed.com)? You should check that..

We should not forget the fact that they have a strong foot on the industry and they can always be back on the minds of people if their strategies are well laid.

invalid's avatar

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_acquisitions_by_AOL
Look at that list. they do have a piece of the social networking pie. They bought it offcourse.

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