AOL List: the great re-boot

David Cassel (
Wed, 6 Nov 1996 19:24:25 -0800 (PST)

   G i n g r i c h ,   G N N ,   a n d   t h e   G r e a t  R e - B o o t


In the latest issue of Boardwatch, John Dvorak assesses the chances of
long-term success for services like AOL.  Besides hourly billing, "The
primary barrier is the mediocre Internet connection you get...  The online
services market will be gone and these folks will be out of business
before they can realize the potential profits from Internet access." 

But the Washington Post's columnist Allan Sloan had even harsher words. 
He reported that AOL "rebooted its financial statements" last week,
"trying to convince Wall Street that this time it has figured out how to
make its first real profit."  Sloan is skeptical.  "It was a fresh start,
all right, but whew! The reboot wiped out most of AOL's net worth, plus
all the profit it claimed to have made in its entire 11-year history." 
And, AOL still hasn't address its main problem..."how to make money online
when the Internet offers so much free stuff."  Speaking of "nonsensical"
numbers, he writes "AOL in essence is conceding that skeptics like me, who
said that AOL's accounting verged on fantasy, were right."  But there's
more.  "AOL then used these nonexistent "profits" to bill itself as a
money-making company. That boosted its stock price." 

The verdict?  "I'm intrigued by AOL's ever-changing accounting and by the
way it manages to keep telling Wall Street whatever it wants to hear." 
Noting that AOL's analyst released 1999 profit projections, Sloan added,
"I doubt AOL can see beyond three weeks, let alone three years". 

More comments from alt.gnn.exodus:

  *  One poster groused that it "would've been much better to keep 
     them and kill AOL."  

  *  The GNN reps "got the hand grenade about the same time we did".

  *  And there are "fears of what they will do with billing and switching 

  *  "using an ISP that doesn't let you use your own software is not my idea 
      of a good time..."

Loyal subscribers began reposting memories.... 

	"As part of our ongoing beta test, we upgrade the GNN system
	 periodically.  As a result of a recent upgrade, the GNN email 
	 on your account was inadvertently lost."  (October 17, 1995)

But gradually came to accept the inevitable.

	"I hate to see GNN go myself, for sentimental reasons if 
	 nothing else" 

	"we should have a GNN funeral service on the chat channel" 

And (in another newsgroup)...

	"Would the last person assimilated into AOL please


Newt Gingrich thought he'd scored a political coup scheduling an AOL chat
Sunday night.  Then his sister Candace--a lesbian activist and outspoken
critic of the Speaker's policies--scheduled a counter-appearance the same

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