AOL renames itself 'AOL'

AOL renames itself 'AOL'

Summary: During an interview at the Web 2.0 conference, AOL CEO Jonathan Miller said that AOL was changing its official name from America Online to "AOL," solving the problem of taking the brand internationally without offending those countries that don't want to have an America Online in their midst.

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TOPICS: Enterprise 2.0
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During an interview at the Web 2.0 conference, AOL CEO Jonathan Miller said that AOL was changing its official name from America Online to "AOL," solving the problem of taking the brand internationally without offending those countries that don't want to have an America Online in their midst. [video clip here]

Miller was also asked about doing a deal with Microsoft. He dodged the question mostly, talking about considering anything that accelerates the transition from its more proprietary view of the world to one in concert with Web 2.0. "We are the largest swing voter," Miller said in reference to whether Microsoft, Google or Yahoo would service AOL's ad network, "and could go different ways and people are aware of that." Between Microsoft's Yusef Mehdi no comment to the question of his company's intention and Miller's answers, I still have sense that something is underway between the two.

He views Yahoo as a content-oriented portal most like AOL, and a primary competitor. Both share a similar vision for expanding more into video and other forms of content, and to create a more integrated set of services. "It's a real turning point for video consumption over IP, and we want to do a lot more of it," Miller said. "Today we have a lot more video than anybody else [a Time Warner company], more video assets and programs, and we'll take Weblogs (AOL acquired blog network Weblogs, Inc. today) into print and video as well. 

Miller also shared a few factoids. AOL took a look at ask.com, which InterActiveCorp bought, but couldn't make the math work, and he wasn't keen on fighting the algorithmic search battle with the likes of Google, Yahoo and MSN.  Over the years, AOL shipped out 660 million disk/CDs to promote its services.

Topic: Enterprise 2.0

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9 comments
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  • aol name change

    I think it sux!! that aol will bend over for a country that wont deal with them if they keep "american" in there name. Lets do this... how about us in america cancel them if they do this. let see what this whimp company does then.
    harley20@...
    • America Online designated a geographic market.

      America Online as opposed to France Online or Germany Online. Makes use of the name outside the US inaccurate.

      Even so, hard to think that anyone in another country would be concerned about what the initials stood for. Even if the country was not a supporter of US policies.

      More likely, this is because AOL management is opposed to US policies under the Bush administration, and doesn't want to be associated with them. Contemptible, of course, but are you surprised?

      [The non-exaggerated part is that AOL executives are probably more concerned than the people they're trying to mollify.]
      Anton Philidor
    • Preaching to the WRONG choir...

      [b] Lets do this... how about us in america cancel them if they do this.[/b]

      Given AOL blows big wind, I'd say it's doubtful that MOST people who read these forums tend to be AOL customers. I could be wrong, but, I'd guess most technically sophisticated types wouldn't be caught dead with an AOHell CD, let alone using their service.
      Wolfie2K3
      • Preaching to the WRONG choir

        I still use AOL, but not their software, that's been gone for 2-3 years now. I just have Outlook setup to handle my AOL mail. I've worked on my first computer program for the US Air Force in 1970, about 35 years ago, more years than a lot of typical readers are old. I've recommended AOL twice so far this month to totally new users (I'm talking totally computer illiterate users) whom are senior citizens, age 70+, that are just turning on thier first computer.

        God Bless,
        Van
        I use my own mail server, and Roadrunner for a backup, but AOL just sits there, and mostly collects junk mail for me.
        doc_cotton
  • AOL = AOL?

    Basically, most people tend to refer to it as AOL anyway. So this doesn't seem like a profound difference.

    That said, I can imagine that the "international" market might be in play, in that they don't want to seem too America-centric when playing to the global market.
    Third of Five
  • Not the fisrt time I've seen companies do that

    It seems to be a habit these days - BP, which stands for "British Petroleum" took over the USA (they bought out AMOCO), but their ads always showed them as BP or "Better Petroleum." Unless you did your research or previously lived in Europe, you'd never know what BP really stands for from their ads.

    "without offending those countries that don't want to have an America Online in their midst."

    Some people never learn, sigh. It's impossible to go without offending people. I'm offended that anybody would think the word "America" should be offensive, and I'm also offended that an American company isn't proud of its roots. Worrying about offending people is the stupidist thing I've ever heard of, because it's impossible to satisfy everybody.
    CobraA1
    • Offending people and other things...

      Of course, there's another problem with being offended--that someone might take offense at your taking offense. It's like Eminem once said: "You find me offensive/I find you offensive for finding me offensive"

      For some reason, I can't help but also think of T-Mobile (part of Deutsche Telekom, I believe) or AT&T (American Telephone & Telegraph). I haven't heard AT&T refer to themselves as their "full" name in a long time. I don't know if international ambitions had anything to do with that, or if it was just to make their name easier to say/remember.
      Third of Five
  • AOL

    I understand the business stratagy here, but down deep I feel like AMERICA On Line just sold this country down the drain. Their service never has been great, their software buggy as hell, but I used it for a long time, and recommend it to those that are just pulling the trigger on a computer for the first time. I really think AMERICA On Line is making a mistake here, that is going to cost them dearly.

    God Bless,
    Van
    doc_cotton
  • Call it India Online (IOL)

    Ever get a real American on AOL?

    Personally I'm sick of speaking to someone I can't understand.

    So, me and my friends refert o it as India Online or simply IOL.

    Also dropping the word America is just wrong.

    Hey AOL (or whatever your name is) Give tech support to those that speak Real English.

    In the meantime MSN, here I come.
    HiImStevie@...