I always find this funny, and it quite related to some of my views regarding the Yahoo! situation a few days back. Here is an excerpt from today’s NYTimes, “Amid Hurdles at AOL, Chief of Its Parent Is Open To A Deal“:
AOL still enjoys many advantages that most companies can only dream about, from a prestigious brand name to an enormous revenue stream ($5.2 billion in 2007, down 33 percent from 2006). AOL’s Web sites attract 112 million visitors a month, and 9.3 million Americans still pay the company for Internet services.
I find it amazing at the difference businesses are viewed on their way up rather than down or hit maturity with no longer a steep growth curve. Granted I find that there a fundamental issues with the AOL business and there has been since the point where they missed the mark thinking $19.95/month was always going to be the path to perpetual greatness.
But, for a moment, think back to the time AOL was the media darling. When $1B, then $2B, then $3B (BILLION!) and so on made an online media company the place to be and was only sung praises. It is that oft imperceivable shift where you go from “a juggernaut, where will it stop” to “the pace of growth has slowed”.
(editor’s note: AOL’s advertising stream has slowed to 18% growth, I can think of a number of firms that pine for an 18% growth rate)