New York Times: AOL Slips

Saul Hansell reports on how reality has caught up with AOL. As someone who heard Bob Pittman speak at CompuServe’s HQ in Columbus after AOL’s acquisition of CompuServe, about all I can say is how amazed I am that he stayed so long. As of last week, he’s now back in charge of AOL.

I admired Pittman for his exploitation of “reversals”. When he arrived at AOL, he flipped the business model on its head. Instead of paying content providers, he charged content providers to have their content delivered on AOL. Almost overnight, the online industry economics changed. In parallel, he became addicted to advertising deals — selling exclusives for this and that to those who thought they had to be on AOL.

Kara Swisher of the Wall Street Journal adds to the commentary. It’s now all coming home to roost for Bob Pittman.

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