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AOL hires new CEO - Google's Tim Armstrong

     
7:10 am on Mar 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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AOL snatched up Google Inc. executive Tim Armstrong as its new chief executive Thursday, as the Time Warner Inc. unit seeks to revamp its Internet presence.

AOL said in a statement that Armstrong, who helped build Google into an online advertising powerhouse, "is the right executive to move AOL into the next phase of its evolution."

"...Armstrong has been credited with pushing the Internet search giant to expand further into graphical display and online video advertising.

MarketWatch Story [marketwatch.com]

9:29 am on Mar 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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That sounds great, on paper. I'll bite, what is AOL trying to evolve into and what phase did they just complete? From the article it suggests they're entering a research phase and hints at planning to be finished with Google.

edit: adding a quote...

AOL and Google have been partners for years and I look forward to collaborating with [Time Warner CEO] Jeff Bewkes and his team as we explore the right structure and future for AOL

[edited by: JS_Harris at 9:33 am (utc) on Mar. 13, 2009]

9:43 am on Mar 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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My thoughts -- AOL does a couple reorgs to untangle the mess that's happened over the past few years, and hits up madison avenue for some cash.

after a few quarters, AOLs troubled past will be history and partnerships will open up.

12:17 pm on Mar 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I think it's about time for an AOL comeback. But I've been waiting years for Magellan and AltaVista too, with no dice
12:55 pm on Mar 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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...after a few quarters, AOLs troubled past will be history and partnerships will open up.

Do I sense some sarcasm there?

This looks like a friendly deal between G and AOL. Build up the corporate ties for something else down the road, maybe tighter integration of G's advertising products within AOL.

1:53 pm on Mar 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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This looks like a friendly deal between G and AOL.
3:16 pm on Mar 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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perhaps but you're all forgetting that G recently did a major writeoff of their AOL equity. After getting burned badly (like a billion or so bucks), any deal between G and AOL would be scaled back from a typical G size deal.

I also don't think that "sending" an executive to another company, is enough of an indicator that partnerships will occur in the future. By that same logic, we could speculate that G will partner with Facebook, since Sheryl Sandberg is now the COO.

No matter how we analyze it, we can agree that AOL is much better off with Tim.

8:17 pm on Mar 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

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No matter how we analyze it, we can agree that AOL is much better off with Tim.

Agreed. But, it Tim better off with AOL?

I talk a lot about branding and AOL is an interesting case study for me. (That's consultant talk that means, "I'm clueless here.") The AOL brand is certainly well-known, but well-known for what? It's rep with the general public is not good. My 80-year-old mother even makes jokes about AOL.

Yes, they have traffic I would kill to have. But, what's next? FYI: AOL is currently running ads on sites such as WSJ, but when I clicked on the ad, I just went to the site--there was no, "Here's what you should do here at the new AOL" that the ad suggested. This suggests that they are as clueless as me about their next step.

The big action from where I sit it going after niche audiences with major channel brands, i.e., "The New York Times Flower Gardening" web community. (They haven't done that, yet.)

4:04 pm on Mar 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

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From my perspective, AOL is the brand for people who got onto the internet from its inception and steadfastly refused to try anything different from there on out. Surprisingly, that's a large number of people.
1:23 am on Mar 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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there are those who are happy with the same email address after 10-15 years.
other than the stigma there is nothing wrong with that in my opinion.
which email would you trust more - an old aol.com or a hotmail.com address?
6:33 am on Mar 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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which email would you trust more - an old aol.com or a hotmail.com address?

I can't remember a time when an AOL email address wasn't a joke. From the beginning, (very early 90s) AOL was the internet for people who didn't understand the internet. If you think otherwise, then you have a short memory. The tech journals have been ridiculing AOL for a very long time.

Oddly, that's not necessarily a bad thing. What other company out there has nearly 20 years experience flogging "internet lite" to people who don't really understand the tech their dealing with?

IMHO, AOL would be better off not trying to be innovative and cutting edge. They should work on being "comfortable and safe".

In this economy, "comfortable and safe" has a lot of brand power.

2:25 pm on Mar 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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i only hit aol for aim; otherwise; i don't see a need to bypass google for the same thing; yahoo! is a more dominant portal if that's what they want. the need something revolutionary like the 4th dimensional search engine that projects results into your living room; like that chess game they played on star wars where the monsters suplexed each other after a kill.
4:30 pm on Mar 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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then again, aim has its uses; after reading through this article that argues that web 2.0 platforms are an evolution of aol's platforms - [webmasterworld.com...] - i think that if they focus on enhancing aim - maybe adding some broadcasting functionality like open source clients or let users log into google and yahoo! from their clients - they may have a shot;

aim is like that underground networking weapon that can be powerful if put to good use.

12:10 am on Mar 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

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AOL is not AOL's future. AOL has purchased a number of online ad brokers, including Advertising.com, Tacoda, Quigo and a couple of others. These are all under the Platform A umbrella.

While AOL is probably still Platform's A's biggest single site, the roll-up includes thousands of other sites, many of them pretty substantial, and it controls a big piece of the online ad pie.

It's hardly a secret that the old AOL is fading but Platform A -- which undoubtedly delivers a much better margin than the content/telecom-heavy AOL -- has the potential to be a real powerhouse if managed correctly.

7:01 am on Mar 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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AOL is crap. I'm ashamed to say I used it a decade ago. I can't imagine who uses it these days.

As far as the comment about which email to trust more, let's just say if I were in charge of hiring, I would put more stock in applicants with an @gmail.com address than an @aol.com one.
Your email address says a lot about how tech-savvy you are.