An attempt to be more constructive in my critique on AOL.
December 6, 2002 8:48 AM
Ok, so I said the other day that I have my doubts about 's new plan
of providing exclusive content on the AOL service. In an attempt to be constructive instead of being a wanker
, here's what I would like to see out of...
- I want downloads of MP3's, or Ogg files, or whatever format that is infinitely repayable using either the AOL client or WinAmp (and AOL property). The music industry has yet to come up a response to the MP3 threat. AOL should answer the big question. If they did, $5/month would be a music subscription I'd be interested in.
- I want downloads, and lots of them. I want these downloads available at all times with no bandwidth caps or throttling. What I'm really looking for is a FileShack killer (FileShack is a file download service that offers a paid-for service with faster downloads and no download queues). Access to fast downloads of game patches (usually huge files) and Lord of the Rings previews, et al., and updates to software packages is worth at least $5/month. Downloading from FileShack is a BAD experience, and is an opportunity for AOL to leverage the AOL Transit Data Network and their user experience experience.
- I want access to many of the magazines owned by the media conglomerate. This could be a Salon killer where the entire content of various magazines are made available thru SNS (see blow). Beating MSFT in this space is pure icing. Here's 2 or $3/month of value to me.
Enabling this architecture is the Screen Name Service
(which you can see/use at the top of an AOL web property website, such as CSS, where you see the Netscape Network banner at the top). Being able to go to various websites to get access to tons of content with fast download times is a good user experience (which I said the other day is the baseline for ). A good user experience with valued content on top is something I'd pay for, but I'd like to see a $10/month price point. That's $120/year. Apple charges less than that for their bring your own access services.
[Some background info: Even though I work at AOL, I have no inside information on AOL's plans, proposals or ideas for the future other than what has been published thru public media outlets like CNBC (which I watch too much). I'm not even close to being an important person at the company, but I sure do have my opinions.]