One thing I’ve been pushing for at AOL since I got here almost a year ago (wow, has it been that long?!??!) is a light version of AIM. Ted Leonsis, Jim Bankoff, and Jon Miller and I have had countless discussions about the issue and we’ve made huge progress…. this is really the future of AOL: light, fast, free products that compliment our bigger, more feature-rich products.
Elite folks don’t want all the features in our mass market products–we know that.
Now that we’re 1,000% focused on being an audience-based business (as opposed to an *access* business) there is no debate anymore. We have to make light, fast products for the A-listers. AOL has been a brand has been for the mass market, and it will still be, but we’re ALSO going to have products for the elite users. Netscape, Light AIM, XDRIVE, and Weblogs, Inc’s blogs are for elite users (as well as the mass market).
Over at the Greehouse they are now playing with “Light AIM” or “AIM Light” –or whatever we wind up calling this bad boy. I’ve had it for a while and it ROCKS. If your mom is on a three year old machine and the new feature-rich AIM Client is grinding her machine to a halt (not our fault!) go download AIM ES here: http://greenhouse.aol.com/prod.jsp?prod_id=27
AIM Light has no ads, no VOIP, no file-transfer, and a TINY footprint… in fact, I think it is the lightest IM client you run on your machine. This is something you could run on OLPC level machine (yes, I know it’s a Windows product right now, but you get the idea).
Drop everything and go play with it… this is the future of AOL: light, open, cutting-edge, and elite AS WELL AS mass market.