Monday, February 7, 2011

There might just be a lesson here somewhere.

Felix Salmon has an insightful and amusingly written take on AOL's acquisition of Huffington Post:
As for HuffPo, it gets lots of money, great tech content from Engadget and TechCrunch, hugely valuable video-production abilities, a local infrastructure in Patch, lots of money, a public stock-market listing with which to make fill-in acquisitions and incentivize employees with options, a massive leg up in terms of reaching the older and more conservative Web 1.0 audience and did I mention the lots of money?
I used to work for Earthlink. It was a great company, customer-centered, innovative, but it was trapped between AOL and Microsoft's Online, two companies with immeasurably deep pockets and no apparent concern about turning a profit.

AOL in particular was a mystery to us. It went from one bad business plan to another, all while maintaining spectacularly bad customer service. None of it mattered in the face of hundreds of millions of promotional disks.*

* According to former Chief Marketing Officer at AOL, Jan Brandt, "At one point, 50% of the CD's produced worldwide had an AOL logo on it."

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