AOL may change its name to escape association with the early internet

By midian182
Jan 18, 2016
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  1. Say the name AOL to a lot of people and you’ll likely get a the same response: “Are they still a thing?” followed by “I remember the ‘you’ve got mail’ sound.” Not too surprisingly, the majority of those who are familiar with the AOL name have no idea that it is a Verizon-owned, multinational digital media company that owns the Huffington post, TechCrunch, Engadget and MapQuest. The fact that most people only associate AOL with the early days of the internet may lead the company to change its name entirely.

    "If you ask me today, I could say, 'I feel very strongly about the AOL brand. It has a lot of legacy and meaning, and we shouldn't move away from it! But if we met tomorrow, I could be like, 'Yes! We need a new name!' It's a very hard needle to thread for us," said AOL's chief marketing officer Allie Kline, in a recent interview with Business Insider.

    While the name change isn’t set in stone, having a brand that conjures up images of free trial disks, dial-up modems, and the disastrous Time Warner merger is something that AOL doesn’t want.

    "The AOL name has many associations that people just can’t get past," says Sam Wilson, global principal at consultancy Wolff Olins, which led the company's rebrand in 2009. "The worst merger in history, charging old ladies for dial-up, and 'You've got mail.'"

    AOL wouldn’t be the first big tech organization to re-invent itself; Google famously restructured last year, becoming a subsiduary of Alphabet. Amongst other benefits, this helped Google avoid being known as just a search engine.

    AOL’s internal branding research has been pretty split down the middle. It seems that despite the some of the negative associations, there are still plenty of consumers who hold a nostalgic love for America Online.

    Whether the name change takes place or not, Kline says that this will be a big year for the company as it increases its focus on mobile, video, and global growth. "You should expect us to have an aggressive year," she said.

    Permalink to story.

  2. EClyde

    EClyde TS Maniac Posts: 623   +146

    Change it, don't tell anyone and no one will know.... cause no one cares.
  3. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,270   +102

    As far as it goes, I havent seen much advertising of AOL. I suppose people only think of it that way because you dont see their advertisements anymore. Start showing their name on what they own and that will probably change as well, but I dont have cable TV, so maybe they do still advertise and I just dont know it. lol
    ikesmasher likes this.
  4. OutlawCecil

    OutlawCecil TS Member Posts: 37   +10

    I think one big problem with the name is that people associate it with Dialup. AOL can be run on cable but everybody remembers the old dialup sounds while AOL connected... Regardless of name or redesigns, AOL will just never be relevant anymore. It has its time, but that time is over.
    Geforcepat likes this.
  5. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,270   +102

    I dunno. IBM is still kicking around. ;)
  6. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,526   +680

    AOL is still full of bots, bugs, and lots of other trash. I don't think a name change will fix that!
  7. Mr Majestyk

    Mr Majestyk TS Enthusiast Posts: 34   +10

    They are going to change it to LOL from what I've heard on the grapevine.
    EClyde likes this.
  8. Taofeek Rabiu

    Taofeek Rabiu TS Rookie

    As a former AOL employee, I wish that I could disassociate myself from AOL. - Taofeek Rabiu

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