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January 3, 2023updated 27 Jan 2023 4:30pm

What is AOL?

AOL was one of the early pioneers of the Internet.

By Vinod

AOL, short for America Online, is a web-based company that at its peak dominated the early internet age. In the 1990s and early-to-mid 2000s, it was a go-to service for dial-up internet provision and a major provider of e-mail as well as instant messaging.

Though its star has faded in recent years with the decline of dial-up, the company has continued into the 2020s as a news and entertainment brand.

AOL
Image: Shutterstock

Is AOL still around?

Yes, AOL is still around and operating today, but the modern-day America Online bears little resemblance to its former self. While the provision of internet and email services were its biggest business areas, today it operates as a digital media company.

The modern AOL’s content offering features news, entertainment and lifestyle articles on its website and apps.

What happened to AOL?

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, AOL had a high standing as one of the most popular ISPs and one of the most valuable companies in the world. However, with the move to broadband, AOL’s fortunes began to turn. In addition, the changing landscape of the media and advertising world proved to be a major hit to the company’s model, with then-upstart competitors such as Google and Facebook sweeping up huge amounts of the market.

To adapt to these changes, AOL began to shift its focus away from internet access and towards digital media. The company acquired The Huffington Post and TechCrunch, among others, and made advertising and creating original content the cornerstones of its new business model.

Who owns AOL?

Since 2021, AOL has been owned by Yahoo, one of the largest internet companies in the United States. Prior to that, the company was AOL Time warner between 2001 and 2009 before its breakup, then independently operated until it was acquired by Verizon in 2015 for $4.4 billion and subsequently sold.

The author generated this text in part with GPT-3, OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model. Upon generating draft language, the author reviewed, edited, and revised the language to their own liking and takes ultimate responsibility for the content of this publication.

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