I’m not sure how this can be possible, but I guess some blasts from the past can slip through the cracks. A recent quarterly earnings statement by AOL revealed that the company still has 2.4 million paying subscribers.
2.4 million people, paying for AOL. Paying for an Internet Service Provider in general. I guess they really like hearing that asshole loudly shout out “You’ve Got Mail!” and enjoy getting freaked out because they didn’t realize how loud they left their speakers on.
But that’s not even the craziest part of the story. The earnings report also revealed that a third of AOL’s revenue comes from subscribers who pay a monthly bill, not counting those with free accounts just to keep their AOL email address. They take in an average of $19.41 a month per paying subscriber, for just shy of $50 million a year. Man, AOL got hit hard.
Apparently, $7 a month gets you unlimited dial-up time, 10% Sprint discount and free access to AOL’s Computer Clean Up service. These would have all been super appealing in 1997. I hope it comes with a free rotary phone and “The Fifth Element” on VHS too!
If you were smart, here’s what you’d do. Go take all those “Free 500 Hours of AOL” CD-Roms and Floppy Disks you have lying around your basement, find a list of AOL subscribers and try selling the disks to them door-to-door. You’ll be rolling in it.