Print 29 comment(s) - last by tcsenter.. on Oct 18 at 2:50 AM

AOL is making some cuts to its workforce

America Online (AOL) is one of the oldest internet providers and once enjoyed widespread market dominance during the early 14.4k - 56k internet days.  The company, however, has aged less than gracefully and has struggled to keep up with modern technologies and internet trends. 

Part of what had brought it success made it become the bunt of many jokes -- its viral marketing, which included distributing free copies of its software at stores and in magazines. The software originally was made available on floppy disks and later on CDs, which frequently have been used as saucers by enterprising college students.

Now to cope with its struggles AOL is looking to trim some fat by cutting 20 percent of its workforce -- a cut of about 2,000 employees total.  U.S. employees account for 1,200 of the employees losing their jobs, or about 60 percent of the cut.  At AOL's Dulles, Virginia headquarters 750 employees are being cut.

AOL CEO Randy Falco sent its employees a "layoff letter" explaining the cuts to them, and how when he came to AOL he felt forced to make some significant changes in order to save the company.  Pink slips will begin arriving today, and will continue for several months.

"Everyone impacted by this reduction deserves our thanks and respect for their contributions to the company,” said Falco. “We will aid these individuals in their transition to new opportunities as much as possible, most importantly with what we believe are generous severance packages."

AOL's cut is not its largest in recent history -- it had previously cut 5,000 employees last fall representing a 30 percent reduction in its workforce.

Falco counters in the letter that AOL has also added "many" employees, though he does not mention how many.  He also points to AOL's acquisitions of AdTech, Third Screen Media and TACODA as signs of a turnaround.

Though not mentioned in the letter, ABC recently agreed to air its television content live on AOL Videos, as reported by DailyTech. AOL is looking to make the difficult transition from a company whose primary revenue was as a service provider to a company with mainly advertisement driven revenue.

"To where is this taking AOL? Put simply, my vision for AOL is to build the largest and most sophisticated global advertising network while we grow the size and engagement of our worldwide audience,” Falco continued. “We’re only a year and a month into our transformation, and the turnaround has been dramatic. We're now in a position to win as an advertising-supported business."

However, many analysts believe that Time Warner, the owner of troubled AOL, will pull the plug and put the company up for sale soon if the outlook does not dramatically improve.

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Not surprising
By FITCamaro on 10/16/2007 9:46:55 AM , Rating: 4
When your company sucks and is just bleeding customers, you tend to do badly. Horrible service and horrible customer service do not equal a money making strategy.

About the only decent thing AOL has is AIM. And even that has grown so huge, I might stop using it. I know there's other compatible software out there, I've just been too lazy to make the switch. At least they finally put IM logging in it.

RE: Not surprising
By Screwballl on 10/16/2007 9:58:22 AM , Rating: 2
horrible customer service, horrible dialup service, seriously buggy software, "if you stay with us instead of canceling we will give you 3 months free", and worst of all; continued billing after you have successfully canceled.

It is any wonder that anyone STILL uses it at all.

RE: Not surprising
By darkpaw on 10/16/2007 10:29:57 AM , Rating: 2
Their service on the infrastructure side is absolutely horrible too. Last year a non-profit I was doing volunteer work for got blacklisted by AOLs email servers for spamming. They were just sending out notices to their volunteers (many of whom had AOL accounts).

It was almost impossible to understand AOLs support people, better yet actually accomplish something. I spent a lot of time working on that issue and never did get it resolved, one of the other volunteers just started using their home account to send out the notices to aol members and suggested that people sign up for a yahoo or gmail account instead.

I don't think in 15 years I've worked in computers professionally, I've ever been more agrivated working with a company before.

RE: Not surprising
By retrospooty on 10/16/2007 11:30:48 AM , Rating: 5
Catch phrase of the '90's - AOL sucks
Lesser know catch phrase of the 2k's - AOL still sucks

At least they are consistent.

RE: Not surprising
By RandallMoore on 10/16/2007 11:47:25 AM , Rating: 2
gAyOL and AOhell were used a lot too. :)

RE: Not surprising
By formulav8 on 10/16/2007 1:32:01 PM , Rating: 2
AOHell... The first AOL proggy, how I miss those days. Apathy Punter was another great proggy... :)


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