Inicio Web. AOL anuncia que ofrecerá sus servicios gratis (Inglés)

AOL anuncia que ofrecerá sus servicios gratis (Inglés)

NEW YORK – AOL executives announced in New York on Wednesday that the Internet access company would give for free virtually every service for which it now charges a monthly fee, with income coming instead from advertising.
 
In the eyes of the plan’s supporters, this would let the company catch up with Google, Yahoo, eBay, Microsoft and other Internet media powers that have been making money in recent years by grabbing most of the fast-growing amount of ads moving to the Internet.
 
My friend Mark, who insisted to me a decade ago that AOL could not make its way in an Internet-enabled world as a closed commercial service, finally is right.
 
He and many other people predicted long ago that AOL would never survive as a “walled garden” service, accessible only to members and only through the proprietary software that it first gave away on floppy disk and then on CD.
 
I believed instead that AOL’s hand-holding approach to computer communications was a valuable service that was worth a monthly fee for millions of what used to be called “newbies” to the Internet.
 
AOL did survive on that basis – profitably, in fact. After it began to open up parts of its service to anyone with an Internet browser in late 2004 through offerings on its AOL.com home page, advertising revenue climbed and subscription revenue started to fall – but AOL still made money.
 
Whether you love, hate or dismiss AOL as an annoying source of CD coasters, you have to give it credit for introducing tens of millions of people worldwide to life online since the late 1980s.
 
AOL had many historical contributions along the Internet timeline: It led kids, parents and technophobes by the hand, giving them their first e-mail address, showing them the power of chat and more. It sealed the future of Internet access as “all you can eat” when it moved to that kind of monthly billing plan in the late 1990s. It rescued the Netscape brand and browser from the punishing domination of Microsoft, giving Netscape’s open-source foundation a new home. And it made “instant messaging” a household concept, first with its “Buddy List” feature, introduced in 1996, and then by opening up its AIM service to nonsubscribers in 1997.
 
But AOL’s proposal this week to make video, e-mail, chat and other paying services free to broadband Internet users in September is a concession that the world no longer is full of newbies. Getting on the Internet in most industrial nations is as natural a part of modern life as using a mobile phone.
 
The new plan calls for AOL to let people use its proprietary software to access the Internet free. AOL.com e-mail addresses and most of its existing information, downloads and services also would be free.
 
Still, success is not a given. As one analyst told The New York Times last month, “AOL is a brand in search of a strategy.” Another noted that AOL had tried other revival moves before with little transformational success. “This one seems to make sense,” she said, “but so did their other strategies.”
 
There’s another way to look at the proposal: It is also a huge move forward for the grass-roots notion that information needs to be free. At least digital information does, in this libertarian view of the Internet and the world.
 
It is also likely to cement the long-term business model for Web media as ad-supported. For consumers and those who want to see an open, global, innovative and neutral Internet, this is a good thing. Already, on Friday, AOL plans to open a new video portal showcasing sources of movie and TV clips for free or sale to any Internet surfer.
 
Amid intense competition for advertising, all of the big Internet players will be motivated to create new ways to attract eyeballs. With AOL’s big feet now firmly planted in the “free” space, let the new games begin.
 
Fuente: International Herald Tribune 

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