The AOL Sweepstakes – A Pirate’s Booty

The AOL Sweepstakes – A Pirate’s Booty
By: Halstatt Pires

Time Warner is fielding offers for AOL, which has grabbed the attention of MSN, Google and Yahoo. So, what does it all mean in the search engine wars?

Horse and Buggy – AOL

In one of the great bum rushes of all time, Time Warner and AOL merged in 2000. Although it was actually AOL that purchased Time Warner, those in the search engine game snickered at the prospects of the new supposed media giant. Time Warner executives apparently failed to realize AOL was going to have major problems as surfers switched from dial-up to broadband Internet access. Well, Time Warner knows it now and is looking to sell.

As is well known, AOL has an antiquated business model since it dominates a dial-up market that is circling the proverbial drain. As DSL and cable broadband services become widespread, members are bailing on AOL at a prolific pace of millions a year. Time Warner appears to be seeking some way to get out of the loss of revenues, but who would buy a company that missed out on the evolutionary process?

Market Share

Despite the dire outlook, AOL still has tons of members. In fact, between 20 and 21 million people still use the platform. In a very smart move, AOL has also opened itself up to non-members, a move which has resulted in former subscribers continuing to use even though they are now on broadband. These numbers represent a significant chunk of the domestic Internet search engine market.

While Yahoo has decided to try to gouge sites with Site Match instead of entering the AOL fray, MSN and Google consider it another part of their ongoing war. There are a variety of reasons for this war, foremost being Google’s penchant for swiping…err, hiring executives from Microsoft. With AOL, MSN has a chance to punch back.

Google provides search results to AOL. The Google Adwords advertisements are all over AOL. Hmmm…anyone see why MSN might want AOL? If MSN were to purchase AOL, you can be assured Google would be shown the proverbial door as soon as possible.

Keep an eye on this situation because it the proverbial catch-22 situation. How much is MSN willing to pay for the short term benefits of controlling AOL while knowing it is a turkey in the long term? More so, how much can Google drive up the price MSN is willing to pay? Will Google panic and buy a chunk of AOL to stop MSN? Whatever the result, it will make for good reading.

Whether you like it or not, MSN is finally getting off the mat in the search engine games. It is launching a pay-per-click service for, which means Overture or whatever Yahoo is calling it these days is going to lose some luster. If MSN takes the plunge on AOL, it will pick up search engine market share and become a bigger player. With software sales lagging, many think MSN is looking to the Internet as a way to generate revenues.

Let the fun begin.

Halstatt Pires is with the Internet marketing firm - a San Diego Internet marketing and advertising company providing search engine optimization services. Read more Internet marketing articles.

Back to Search Engine Marketing and Optimization Articles 



Search Engine Optimized Realtor
Is your Realtor® website getting the results you want? You know home buyers are searching online. Why aren't they finding your website? Or, why aren't they contacting you?

SEO Commerce
SEO Commerce uses the latest technology to construct search engine friendly shopping carts. This means all your products are 100% visible to search engines, increasing the opportunity to have your products show up when potential customers search online.

ROI tracking puts actionable intelligence at your fingertips
ROI tracking and reporting gives business decision makers access to information you need to make decisions critical to the success of your business' online efforts quickly and effectively.

How to maximize sales potential with search engine friendly e-commerce technology.
4 ways search engine friendly shopping carts by SEO Commerce ™ improve your e-commerce site’s performance: 1. Boosts search engine ranking for individual product pages on your website. 2. Increases sales potential by making it easier to buy from you. 3. Requires much less time investment than shopping cart software packages. 4. Shows detailed performance reports with advanced information about shopping cart performance and buyer behavior.

The Web's Best Guarantee
SEO Advantage has pioneered the Web's Best Guarantee, tailored to your needs. Our monthly plans are designed to support your long-term success and our unceasing pursuit of excellence. So everyone wins.