It seems like an eternity ago that AOL was the center of online life for all of America's squares. Of course, back in the days before broadband, when you have to cram up your phone line just to play Diablo 2, AOL were the biggest game in town. Even people who should have known better used them. In the years since broadband became ubiquitous, AOL has bled customers like one of Queen Victoria's grandsons. Its attempt to reinvent itself as a publishing house has yielded mixed results, and as it turns out, it still makes most of its profits from selling Internet access.
We are not kidding. AOL still has real, actual dial-up customers. 3.5 million of them in fact. That surprising news comes courtesy of its latest earnings report, which details mainly the continuing history of AOL's decline. Their revenue continues to drop, down 8 percent over Q3 2010. Sure, $531,000,000 is still a lot of money, but that's 30 million less than the same time last year. What's interesting is that the loss mainly comes from a reduction in subscribers. The ad revenue increased significantly over 2010, and it still has a free cash flow of $51 million, which isn't a lot compared to its heights a decade ago, but the company is still profitable, shockingly.
But we don't really care about all that. What we do care about is that fact that there are still people out there reduced to using AOL dial up service. I'm willing to bet a good portion of them don't realize they're still being billed - some also have probably fallen victim to AOL's notoriously difficult cancellation policies. Still, it's nice to know that your grandmother isn't being denied access to Lolcats.