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AOL Inserts Ads Inside Email

AOL Inserts Ads Inside Email

First, a bit of background from InfoWorld:

“For the first time in its history, AOL is displaying ads along with e-mail messages to its paying subscribers, to increase the delivery mechanisms of its online ad inventory, an AOL spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday.

This practice is common in free Webmail services but generally not in fee-based e-mail accounts, where the absence of ads is normally considered a perk of being a paying subscriber.”

And again, from InfoWorld, AOL’s most loyal subscriber base speaks up:

“Why pay for a service when there is no benefit?” Shinsky, a California resident, said in an e-mail interview.”

And then a last word from TechDirt:

“Obviously, there are plenty of email services that are ad-supported, but this is for paying AOL customers, who for years have been able to read email without ads getting in the way. And, of course, these aren’t just any ads, but (of course) intrusive ads that users complain are distracting. Considering that plenty of people seem to have kept their AOL subscriptions going for many years just to keep their email address, pissing off a bunch of those people doesn’t seem like the smartest strategic move.”

I agree – pissing people off is NOT a prudent business plan, although it seems to have become an important part of AOL’s major strategy over the years. I am assuming that most Search Engine Journal readers don’t have AOL as their gateway to the Internets, but many of us might have relatives (hi Mom!) who have relied on AOL for access. Inserting annoying ads between email messages is not a good way to make friends and influence people.

Category SEO

Wendy Boswell is the Editor for About Web Search and part of the New York Times Company.

AOL Inserts Ads Inside Email

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