AOL – Wikipedia – The internet has evolved.
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I want to watch a soccer match starting in the second half. I launch the game. Even though I have watched about 70 min, it starts at the beginning. I guess where I am on the timeline. I get 3 min of ads. The game plays for 10 seconds, then I get 3 min off ads. AOL stylized as Aol. It is a brand marketed by the current incarnation of Yahoo Inc. The service traces its history to an online service known as PlayNET. By , AOL had about three million active users. AOL was one of the early pioneers of the Internet in the mids, and the most recognized brand on the web in the United States.
It originally provided a dial-up service to millions of Americans, as well as providing a web portal , e-mail , instant messaging and later a web browser following its purchase of Netscape. In , at the height of its popularity, it purchased the media conglomerate Time Warner in the largest merger in U. AOL rapidly shrank thereafter, partly due to the decline of dial-up and rise of broadband.
Under his leadership, the company invested in media brands and advertising technologies. Its sole product was an online service called GameLine for the Atari video game console , after von Meister’s idea of buying music on demand was rejected by Warner Bros.
In January , Steve Case was hired as a marketing consultant for Control Video on the recommendation of his brother, investment banker Dan Case.
In May , Jim Kimsey became a manufacturing consultant for Control Video, which was near bankruptcy. Kimsey was brought in by his West Point friend Frank Caufield , an investor in the company. On May 24, , Quantum Computer Services , an online services company, was founded by Jim Kimsey from the remnants of Control Video, with Kimsey as chief executive officer , and Marc Seriff as chief technology officer. In , Case was promoted again to executive vice-president.
Kimsey soon began to groom Case to take over the role of CEO, which he did when Kimsey retired in Kimsey changed the company’s strategy, and in , launched a dedicated online service for Commodore 64 and computers, originally called Quantum Link “Q-Link” for short.
The service was different from other online services as it used the computing power of the Commodore 64 and the Apple II rather than just a “dumb” terminal. It passed tokens back and forth and provided a fixed price service tailored for home users. After the company parted ways with Apple in October , Quantum changed the service’s name to America Online. From the beginning, AOL included online games in its mix of products; many classic and casual games were included in the original PlayNet software system.
In the early years of AOL the company introduced many innovative online interactive titles and games, including:. This also coincided with a new “carpet bombing” marketing campaign by CMO Jan Brandt to distribute as many free trial AOL trial disks as possible through nonconventional distribution partners. Department of Education , and many other education providers. AOL offered the first real-time homework help service the Teacher Pager—; prior to this, AOL provided homework help bulletin boards , the first service by children, for children Kids Only Online, , the first online service for parents the Parents Information Network, , the first online courses , the first omnibus service for teachers the Teachers’ Information Network, , the first online exhibit Library of Congress , , the first parental controls, and many other online education firsts.
This was renamed to AOL Search in A commercial was made featuring Steve Case telling people AOL was working day and night to fix the problem. Within three years, AOL’s user base grew to 10 million people. In , about half of all U. In January , as new broadband technologies were being rolled out around the New York City metropolitan area and elsewhere across the U. The deal closed on January 11, Steve Case served as chairman, J. This status did not last long, and the company’s value rose again within three months.
The decline continued though , but even with the losses, AOL was among the internet giants that continued to outperform brick and mortar companies. In , along with the launch of AOL 9. In , AOL broadcast the Live 8 concert live over the Internet, and thousands of users downloaded clips of the concert over the following months. The program rated the computer on a variety of different areas of security and general computer health. This software was developed by Kaspersky Lab.
Active Virus Shield software was free and did not require an AOL account, only an internet email address. The move was designed to reduce costs associated with the “Walled Garden” business model by reducing usage of AOL-owned access points and shifting members with high-speed internet access from client-based usage to the more lucrative advertising provider, AOL.
The other free services included: . The increase was part of an effort to migrate the service’s remaining dial-up users to broadband, as the increased price was the same price they had been charging for monthly DSL access. Service centers based in India and the Philippines continue to this day to provide customer support and technical assistance to subscribers.
On September 17, , AOL announced it was moving one of its corporate headquarters from Dulles , Virginia, to New York City  and combining its various advertising units into a new subsidiary called Platform A. This action followed several advertising acquisitions, most notably Advertising. AOL management stressed “significant operations” will remain in Dulles, which included the company’s access services and modem banks. Most compensation packages associated with the October layoffs included a minimum of days of severance pay, 60 of which were given in lieu of the day advance notice requirement by provisions of the Federal WARN Act.
By November , AOL’s customer base had been reduced to Under Armstrong’s leadership, AOL began taking steps in a new business direction, marked by a series of acquisitions. On June 11, , AOL had already announced the acquisition of Patch Media , a network of community-specific news and information sites which focuses on individual towns and communities. On September 14, , AOL formed a strategic ad selling partnership with two of its largest competitors, Yahoo and Microsoft.
According to the new partnership, the three companies would begin selling inventory on each other’s sites. The strategy was designed to help them compete with Google and ad networks. On March 15, , AOL announced the acquisition of Hipster, a mobile photo-sharing app for an undisclosed amount. The deal includes a “perpetual” license for AOL to use these patents.
In April, AOL took several steps to expand its ability to generate revenue through online video advertising. The company announced it would offer gross rating point GRP guarantee for online video, mirroring the TV ratings system and guaranteeing audience delivery for online video advertising campaigns bought across its properties. The Digital Content NewFront were conducted in advance of the traditional television upfronts in hopes of diverting more advertising money into the digital space.
In August , Armstrong announced Patch Media would scale back or sell hundreds of its local news sites. Later that year, AOL also acquired Vidible, which developed technology to help websites run video content from other publishers, and help video publishers sell their content to these websites.
The transaction was completed on June Armstrong , who continued to lead the firm following regulatory approval, called the deal the logical next step for AOL. It’s about setting up for the next five to 10 years. Analyst David Bank said he thought the deal made sense for Verizon. Shortly before the Verizon purchase, on April 14, , AOL launched ONE by AOL, a digital marketing programmatic platform that unifies buying channels and audience management platforms to track and optimize campaigns over multiple screens.
On June 29, , AOL announced a deal with Microsoft to take over the majority of its digital advertising business. Under the pact, as many as 1, Microsoft employees involved with the business will be transferred to AOL, and the company will take over the sale of display, video, and mobile ads on various Microsoft platforms in nine countries, including Brazil, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
Both advertising deals are subject to affiliate marketing revenue sharing. On October 1, , Go90, a free ad-supported mobile video service aimed at young adult and teen viewers that Verizon owns and AOL oversees and operates launched its content publicly after months of beta testing. In July , Verizon Communications announced its intent to purchase the core internet business of Yahoo! In April , Oath Inc.
AOL’s content contributors consists of over 20, bloggers, including politicians, celebrities, academics, and policy experts, who contribute on a wide range of topics making news. AOL has a global portfolio of media brands and advertising services across mobile, desktop, and TV.
AOL offers a range of integrated products and properties including communication tools, mobile apps and services and subscription packages. AOL Desktop is an internet suite produced by AOL from   that integrates a web browser , a media player and an instant messenger client.
AOL Desktop version Its features are focused on web browsing as well as email. For instance, one does not have to sign into AOL in order to use it as a regular browser. In addition, non-AOL email accounts can be accessed through it.
The first two require users to sign in, but the shortcuts to web pages can be used without authentication. X was late marked as unsupported in favor of supporting the AOL Desktop 9. X versions. Version 9. Version 11 of AOL Desktop, was a total rewrite but maintained a similar user interface to the previous 9. X series of releases. It replaced the previous free version. That chat system was shut down on December 15, The toolbar was available from until In its earlier incarnation as a ” walled garden ” community and service provider, AOL received criticism for its community policies, terms of service, and customer service.
The disks were distributed in large numbers; at one point, half of the CDs manufactured worldwide had AOL logos on them. AOL used a system of volunteers to moderate its chat rooms, forums and user communities. The program dated back to AOL’s early days, when it charged by the hour for access and one of its highest billing services was chat. AOL provided free access to community leaders in exchange for moderating the chat rooms, and this effectively made chat very cheap to operate, and more lucrative than AOL’s other services of the era.
There were 33, community leaders in
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Even though I have watched about 70 min, it starts at the beginning. I guess where I am on the timeline. I get 3 min of ads. The game plays for 10 seconds, then I get 3 min off ads.
The game starts then goes to a “will resume shortly” msg. I guess the start point again, three more min of ads. Easily takes 10 min to resume watching. I have quit trying many times. This happens even though the 3 hour Olympic marathon sessions don’t have guide points to FF to, so you have to guess the start of each section of the event. Also, pray your so doesn’t unexpectedly reset because then you’ll have to start all over again.
CenturyLink offers DSL internet plans across 37 states, but roughly half of the coverage map also has access to CenturyLink’s fiber plans, branded as Quantum Fiber. There are no data caps or contracts with those plans, and those prices don’t arbitrarily go up after a year, either. Better still, the DSL plans come with a Price for Life guarantee, which locks that rate in for as long as you stay a customer.
If nothing faster is available at your address, a plan like that might be worth considering — but if CenturyLink offers fiber service in your area, signing up is a lot closer to a no-brainer. Read our CenturyLink review. Comcast is the biggest name in cable, and the company offers its Xfinity internet service to well over million people in the US — more than a third of the country. Subscribers will find a great variety of plans and packages to choose from, including plans with download speeds of up to 1,Mbps that are available across the majority of the sprawling coverage map or, if they’re lucky, plans with multi-gig speeds of up to 3Gbps that are available at a small percentage of addresses.
In addition, Comcast Xfinity consistently earns above-average customer satisfaction scores from organizations like J. Power and the American Customer Satisfaction Index. That said, biggest doesn’t mean best. Cable internet plans from Spectrum , WOW and Optimum all come at a slightly better value than most Comcast plans, and none of those three enforce a data cap.
Comcast does, capping your monthly data usage at 1. If you can live with that, then there’s a lot to like about Xfinity home internet — but it’s more of an honorable mention than an outright best pick.
Read our Comcast Xfinity review. It’s been over a decade since Google first announced that it would bring fiber internet service to select regions across the country — and it’s been a bumpy ride ever since. After initially rolling out across 11 metro areas, Google struggled to build out the service beyond that and paused its efforts outright in , leaving disappointment across dozens of cities where the company had teased prospects for future fiber expansions.
If you live in any of those cities, and Google Fiber is available at your address, give it a look, because that’s one of the best deals you’ll find for such a blazing fast connection. Read our Google Fiber review.
Satellite internet is typically slow, laggy and temperamental in inclement weather, so I’d explore any and all other options if you’ve got them. But that’s the thing — too many of us don’t have other options, and satellite internet from established names like Viasat and HughesNet is available just about everywhere.
If it comes down to those two, I’d start with Viasat. Neither one offers strong value for what you’re getting, but Hughesnet caps the max download speed of all plans at 25Mbps, which is the barest definition of broadband. With Viasat, satellite speeds of up to Mbps are available in some regions, and speeds are set to improve in with the launch of Viasat’s newest satellite hardware.
Viasat also offers data caps that are slightly higher than what you’ll get with HughesNet. All of that said, there are aspects of Viasat’s service that would probably be more at home on a worst list than a best list like this. You’ll also need to agree to a two-year contract, with potentially steep penalties if you decide to cancel early.
Like I said, make sure to shop around for other, better options in your area — but if there aren’t any and if you can stomach the sky-high prices , Viasat is a workable choice for getting online in remote parts of the country. Read our Viasat review. Ziply is a relative newcomer to the fiber scene after acquiring fiber-optic infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest from Frontier. The service launched last year amidst the pandemic , offering relatively affordable fiber plans to customers across parts of Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.
Plans are limited for now, with a notable lack of middle-ground options in between the and 1,Mbps speed tiers, but Ziply offers strong value and reasonable terms, and it doesn’t enforce data caps, contracts or credit checks for any of its plans. It also recently began offering multi-gig speeds of 2 and 5 gigabits per second , albeit limited to just , households across the footprint at launch in We’ll keep an eye on the company as it grows, but we like what we’re seeing so far.
Read our Ziply Fiber review. The broadband beat keeps our team busy, but we’ll continue evaluating internet providers and updating this post as new options emerge. For now, here’s a rundown of every other provider we’ve covered, with a link back to our full review and a quick summary of our thoughts.
Armstrong Internet : Based in Butler, Pennsylvania, Armstrong is a regional cable internet provider servicing customers in six states. Prices are a touch higher than you’ll see from larger cable providers, and some plans come with data caps, but speeds are reasonably fast and your equipment comes included, which helps ease the sting from your bill.
It’s worth a look at addresses where faster fiber connections aren’t available yet. Astound Broadband : The recently rebranded service from cable mainstay RCN doesn’t enforce contracts or data caps, but the painfully steep increases in your monthly rate after year one make it tough to recommend outright.
Cox : Cox offers gigabit cable download speeds across its entire coverage map, and while it also enforces a data cap, its policies around that cap are friendlier to consumers than you might expect.
Still, the prices skew higher than other cable providers like Xfinity and Spectrum, and we’re not crazy about the fact Cox gateways double as public-facing hotspots that strangers can connect through unless you opt out. Earthlink : One of the oldest names on this list, Earthlink leverages the DSL and fiber optic infrastructure of other providers in order to offer internet plans nationwide.
Prices are higher than average, though, but give the company credit for transparent terms, and for eschewing data caps and throttling altogether. Frontier : One of the nation’s largest providers, Frontier offers home internet service via both fiber and DSL. With no excessive fees or data caps, it’s a decent pick for rural internet, particularly if fiber is available at your address.
That said, the company’s non-transparency with pricing and speeds have earned it a spotty track record with customer satisfaction, so keep an eye on your bill after year one.
HughesNet : Like its main satellite internet rival Viasat, HughesNet is available just about anywhere, and speeds are more consistent across its coverage map, too. Still, with high equipment costs and downloads that don’t get any faster than 25Mbps, it’s more of a last resort option than anything else.
Mediacom : Mediacom’s cable internet service offers gigabit download speeds across the near-entirety of its coverage map, but most plans will see price increases after both the first and second year of service, which is a tough pill to swallow.
On top of that, the data caps are particularly tight, and there’s no limit to the number of overage charges you can rack up each month. Metronet : The country’s largest, independently owned fiber-optic internet provider, Indiana-based Metronet recently merged with Texas-based Vexus Fiber, a move that expands the company’s footprint across 15 states. Nomad Internet : Launched in , Nomad leases 4G LTE airwaves from larger carriers to provide connectivity for rural areas and for people on the go, including business travelers and RV enthusiasts.
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