Is The AOL Brand Associated With Old School Web?

Seems the folks over at Time Warner have finally realized that the AOL brand does not have any impact in the niched content space. But is AOL mired in the thoughts of web users as that "old internet dialup service" as some of the Time Warner staff believe?

According to the Associated Press, AOL parent Time Warner was more blunt in a regulatory filing:

"If AOL cannot effectively build a portfolio of alternate brands that are appealing to Internet consumers, AOL may have difficulty in increasing the engagement of Internet consumers on its Web products and services. AOL believes that the `AOL' brand is associated in the minds of consumers with its dial-up Internet access service."

To overcome this hurdle AOL has started creating separate niched communities - though they may want to hire someone else to name them. Asylum for the young men's site, Spinner, the indie music site, WalletPop, the personal finance site, StyleList for fashion and AOL Body (which kept the association after tests showed it works) for women's health.

Should be interesting to see how that works for them. I had not heard of any of them prior to reading the AP report so the new branding has not made much of an impact yet. Though why, as AP stated, have they decided to roll the new sites out quietly?

Branding requires people knowing about the name. Forget replacing the Yahoo board, AOL needs some new minds at the helm - maybe some that are not still thinking like last century.

ValleyWag has had some interesting things to say about Bill Wilson, the head of the AOL rebranding effort.

Bill Wilson: Forget about his mother, will he frag AOL?

About the author

Frank Watson has been involved with the Web since it started. For the past five years, he headed SEM for FXCM -- at one time one of the top 25 spenders with AdWords. He has worked with most of the major analytics companies and pioneered the ability to tie online marketing with offline conversion.

He has now started his own marketing agency, Kangamurra Media. This new venture will keep him busy when he is not editing the Search Engine Watch forums, blogging at a number of authoritative sites, and developing some interesting online community sites.

He was one of the first 100 AdWords Professionals, a Yahoo and Overture Ambassador, and a member or mod of many of the industry forums. He is also on the Click Quality Council and has worked hard to diminish click fraud.