Who Cares What Happens To AOL?

What are you browsing HotHardware with? I bet I could get 10,000 to 1 odds in Vegas that it isn't AOL. But it used to be, for quite a lot of people. The only press AOL can get is the bad kind. But it's still a great big thing. What happens now?

When it was the main ISP for Americans, AOL had something for everyone: chat rooms for soccer moms, programming for families, music for teens, etc. Such a strategy doesn't work as well for a Web destination, says David Martin, president of the brand consultancy Interbrand North America. The most successful Web companies are those that have a clear focus or audience. YouTube, for example, is known as the place for user-generated video. Yahoo Finance is the site for updated stock quotes and company news. Facebook is considered the destination for college kids. "Brand success is based on one simple thing - being relevant," says Martin. "And in the process of being relevant, being relevant to me. If you are trying to be relevant to everybody, then you are going to be milquetoast and you can't succeed on the Internet by being milquetoast."

AOL reminds me of an abandoned mall in a terrific location. Someone should do something with that property, you think, every time you drive by on your way to somewhere more sexy. Perhaps they should do something less... AARP.

Read the whole thing here.

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