I kid you not: AOL still has 3.5 million loyal dial-up subscribers as of this very moment. Just take a minute to think about all the words in that sentence that are insane, specifically all of them. Dial-up was pretty awful even before there were alternatives, and AOL was pretty awful even in the world of dial-up providers. The fact that AOL has somehow managed to hang on to that many faithful dial-up devotees amazes me.
Granted, AOL still has an overall declining user base. They lost 630,000 subscribers over the past year, but that’s actually their lowest Q3 loss because, I can’t believe I’m saying this, recent promotions have actually brought 200,000 new subscribers to AOL, in 2011. Really though.
Despite the 3.5 million number, which is unbelievably huge considering we’re talking about AOL, the company, on the whole, is a lot smaller than it used to be. Back in the mid-aughties, AOL was shedding subscribers left and right, losing 5 or 6 million customers a year. Now, we’ve dug down to the stalwart few who remain, and I have to wonder if the lion’s share of them just don’t look at their credit card statement very closely (or at all).
If you take a look at AOL’s earnings release, you’ll notice a few other things that are interesting, but let me lay them out for you so you don’t have to look. One is that the average paid tenure of an AOL customer is around 10.4 years. Not only are they still with AOL, but they’ve been putting up with AOL for a decade, on average. There are people who have been there even longer. The other thing is AOL’s prices have hardly changed at all, despite the emergence of vastly superior competition. Well, the emergence of more vastly superior competition. 10 years ago, in 2001, AOL cost $18 a month. Now? $17.50.
I guess they’ll just keep on trucking til they completely lose everyone, but it seems like that might be a while. I just feel like someone has to go and tell those subscribers that they don’t need to get their Internet through a phone line any more. In fact, most phones can surf the Internet better than AOL nowadays. Of course, not everyone needs broadband, but at least check out NetZero or something.
(via Business Insider)
- AOL recently teamed up with another geezer, Yahoo!, for an ad plan
- AOL also bought the Huffington Post not too long ago