July 6, 2006 2:50 PM PDT

AOL may drop member fees

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Time Warner's AOL division may eliminate charges for services such as having an AOL.com e-mail account, in order to entice customers to keep using the offerings even if they switch to a different Internet service provider, a source familiar with the matter said Thursday.

The strategy talks have been going on for several months and are accelerating, said the source, who asked to remain anonymous.

AOL Chief Executive Jonathan Miller presented the proposal to top Time Warner executives in New York last week, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the story, citing unidentified sources.

AOL subscribers have been abandoning the legacy AOL service in recent years. The company has lost nearly 30 percent of its subscribers since September 2002 and has watched as advertising revenues skyrocketed at Google and Yahoo.

AOL's first-quarter 2006 revenue fell 7 percent from a year earlier on a 13 percent drop in U.S. subscriptions revenue, which still represent most of its business. Advertising revenue, meanwhile, rose 26 percent year over year.

Last summer, AOL relaunched its AOL.com site in order to open up to all Web users content previously available only to paying subscribers.

Currently, AOL members, paying monthly fees ranging from $14.95 to $25.90 depending on whether they use AOL as their ISP, get AOL desktop software that includes applications like a browser, a video player, a toolbar and an AOL.com e-mail address. Separately, AOL offers Web-based AIM.com e-mail service, which has always been free.

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America Online Inc., Time Warner Inc., subscriber, Internet Service Provider

10 comments

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Incredible...
Nobody wants it so now they're gonna give it away?

Boy, it seems like Time-Warner screwed up bigtime on that
merger...

Charles R. Whealton
Chuck Whealton @ pleasedontspam.com
Falls Church, VA
Posted by chuck_whealton (521 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Incredible...
Nobody wants it so now they're gonna give it away?

Boy, it seems like Time-Warner screwed up bigtime on that
merger...

Charles R. Whealton
Chuck Whealton @ pleasedontspam.com
Falls Church, VA
Posted by chuck_whealton (521 comments )
Reply Link Flag
only overcharge their own customers?
SO, with a $5 per month unlimited dial-up account (and there's plenty available) can get AOL for FREE, but AOL's own customers will still have to pay $25 per month?

Most news articles have been focusing on broadband customers who could get AOL for free, but the fine print shows it even applies to dial-up! It's "bring your own access", any way you please. Any method you use to connect to the internet -- other than through AOL -- can get you AOL service and e-mail for FREE.

Any AOL customers that stay after that have REALLY passed the stupidity test.
Posted by ChazzMatt (169 comments )
Reply Link Flag
only overcharge their own customers?
SO, with a $5 per month unlimited dial-up account (and there's plenty available) can get AOL for FREE, but AOL's own customers will still have to pay $25 per month?

Most news articles have been focusing on broadband customers who could get AOL for free, but the fine print shows it even applies to dial-up! It's "bring your own access", any way you please. Any method you use to connect to the internet -- other than through AOL -- can get you AOL service and e-mail for FREE.

Any AOL customers that stay after that have REALLY passed the stupidity test.
Posted by ChazzMatt (169 comments )
Reply Link Flag
only overcharge their own customers?
Thinks about this: a $5 per month unlimited dial-up account (there are plenty of those available if you haven't looked recently) can get AOL for free.

Yet, AOL's own customers would continue to pay $25 per month?

It's "bring your own access" any way you want that gets AOL for free -- not just broadband users. Even other dial up users.

Any AOL subscribers that stay after this have really passed the stupidity test!
Posted by ChazzMatt (169 comments )
Reply Link Flag
only overcharge their own customers?
Thinks about this: a $5 per month unlimited dial-up account (there are plenty of those available if you haven't looked recently) can get AOL for free.

Yet, AOL's own customers would continue to pay $25 per month?

It's "bring your own access" any way you want that gets AOL for free -- not just broadband users. Even other dial up users.

Any AOL subscribers that stay after this have really passed the stupidity test!
Posted by ChazzMatt (169 comments )
Reply Link Flag
only overcharge their own customers?
Thinks about this: a $5 per month unlimited dial-up account (there are plenty of those available if you haven't looked recently) can get AOL for free.

Yet, AOL's own customers would continue to pay $25 per month?

It's "bring your own access" any way you want that gets AOL for free -- not just broadband users. Even other dial up users.

Any AOL subscribers that stay after this have really passed the imbecile!
Posted by ChazzMatt (169 comments )
Reply Link Flag
aol price cut
good news, for dial up. I checked billing options
and noticed for the first time, unlimited dial up
at aol for $9.95 a month. I won't have to run away when my freebie expires.
Posted by coopazon (2 comments )
Link Flag
only overcharge their own customers?
Thinks about this: a $5 per month unlimited dial-up account (there are plenty of those available if you haven't looked recently) can get AOL for free.

Yet, AOL's own customers would continue to pay $25 per month?

It's "bring your own access" any way you want that gets AOL for free -- not just broadband users. Even other dial up users.

Any AOL subscribers that stay after this have really passed the imbecile!
Posted by ChazzMatt (169 comments )
Reply Link Flag
aol price cut
good news, for dial up. I checked billing options
and noticed for the first time, unlimited dial up
at aol for $9.95 a month. I won't have to run away when my freebie expires.
Posted by coopazon (2 comments )
Link Flag
 

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