I’m gonna have longer comments on this, but I’m sure you know by now that AOL is talking about it’s new strategy today. Brian and I were involved as two of the top 50 or so executives at AOL in this process (very educational), although we’re not part of the access business of course. The bottom line is that AOL users who leave dialup for broadband can continue to use the client software for free (including their email address). This means if your mom has an AOL email account and you get her DSL or a Cable modem she can stop paying AOL $26 a month and still get her email and use the supersafe and simple AOL client. It also means if she gave up her email last year we can turn it back on for her. This change is gonna take time, and the details will all be explained shortly… but it’s a brilliant move for a number of reasons (which I’ll get to later today).
This is just the start of the great free stuff to come…. I’ll have more comments after Bewkes and Miller talk today. However, I’ll just say this is a brilliant move since AOL customers LOVE their client, email, and IM, and the advertising market is on fire. Will we loose some subscribers who were still paying us for their email address? Sure, but we’ll make it back as our page views grow. The future of the Internet is not subscription revenue, but advertising–and now we’re 100% focused on that goal: ad-supported products and services.