Wednesday, August 09, 2006

One, maybe two data points

If you’ve been reading the news you know about AOL’s new strategy direction and the ability to keep using AOL (not everything, but almost everything email being the most important) without paying us any monthly subscription fee.

If you read Ted’s blog you read his perspective on the significance of this strategy shift. Ted writes, "Just wait until all AOL ISP members can take all of AOL with them when they move to broadband. Just wait until everyone can keep their AOL client and use their AOL email for life - for free!"

Why am I blogging about this topic? Because today, I traveled up to Baltimore from Dulles. Tomorrow I spend the day at my “old” company, and as I checked into the hotel tonight in downtown Baltimore I had a conversation with the front desk person that reinforced that this was the absolute right move.

“Who do you work for?”

Almost saying, I tell her, “AOL”

“Oh, I’m about to cancel the service to go to Comcast, but I don’t want to lose my email.”

Ceasing the opportunity and putting my sales cap back on, “You know you can switch and still keep your email address?”

“Really?? I want to get a new laptop and Comcast cable access, but everyone knows my email address.”

“Sure you can keep it, just get your pipe to the Internet from someone else. Haven’t you seen the email from Jon Miller, our CEO?”

“Nope, behind on my email..working all the time at the hotel.”

Yes I know this is only one data point, but I have to believe there are millions like her who would have gotten up the courage and put up with the pain of an email address switch and we would have lost her for good.

One other data point is my aunt, who loves the client. She loves the client. Wants to get high-speed, but doesn’t want to lose the client. Now she doesn’t have to give it up.

Now that the uncertainty of AOL’s future strategy is gone, it’s time to focus on building audiences and providing them with relevant advertising.

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