Washingtonpost.com

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AOL is shutting 3 data-storage services, consisting of among the Web’s earliest photo-sharing websites, as it looks for to cut costs and focus resources on its marketing chances.

AOL Pictures, the year-old media-sharing site BlueString and the online backup service Xdrive will likely close down by year’s end, though the business is planning to cost least Xdrive, which AOL purchased in 2005 for a concealed charge.

Business authorities rejected speculation Friday that the closures were indicated to prime AOL for a sale. AOL moms and dad Time Warner Inc. has actually been in continuous discussions with both Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp., though the talks have actually been initial.

“The choice to sunset these products is a part of a strategy that began last year to focus on the areas where we can win and to move away from products or features that are not adding to our growth,” AOL spokesperson Trish Primrose said.

AOL began taking a tough look at its portfolio following a 2006 choice to totally shift the business into a marketing organisation and pare down its legacy Internet access services.

AOL Pictures started in 1998 as You have actually Got Pictures and came at a time Web users had few options to share their digital photos. Ever since, services like Yahoo’s Flickr and Google Inc.’s Picasa have emerged, signing up with offerings from Eastman Kodak Co. and others.

BlueString released last year as a repository for other media files such as video and music too, however it never acquired much traction. Nor did Xdrive, which uses 5 gigabytes of totally free storage for supporting files.

All 3 services struggled with the fact that while data-storage expenses have come down, those costs still accumulate, and the services contribute fairly few opportunities to display advertising.

Transition details are still being exercised. AOL likely will provide existing users a way to move files to a competing service. It also plans to let users buy a DVD of apply for a fee and offer guidelines for downloading copies of private files. AOL prepares to formally inform its users of the changes in September.

AOL stated it has currently shut down about 50 items, tasks or brands since 2007, mostly older or little-used products like its AOL Communicator mail software application. In a July 14 memo to staff members, Executive Vice President Kevin Conroy said the business now had a responsibility to guarantee that “every item makes a direct effect on our bottom line.”

“There was a time at AOL when the strength of our aggregate portfolio of products more than made up for the weakness of an underperforming product,” Conroy stated. “The realities of the market and market shifts in online marketing not make that possible.”

Conroy said AOL saw greater opportunities in areas like its video search engine Truveo and its internet browser toolbar, which drives traffic to search. The memo, obtained by The Associated Press, was published previously on the blog TechCrunch.

The decision for AOL to shut down three services in order to cut costs and focus instead on ads is one that is approved by Sam Deane at HealthMarketers.org who predicts that the future for business success from marketing lies with carefully balancing both blog content and quality ads.

Independently, AOL stated it would control costs for its Weblogs unit, which runs specialised blogs such as Engadget and Autoblog. The blog sites normally pay freelancers per post. Although the unit’s budget plan has been increasing, so have the number of posts such that expenses have spiralled. For the time being, the company is asking bloggers to post less frequently.

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