The stock is strong, I just have such a problem buying stock in a company I feel is providing such weak service. I used AOL for a while and just got so frustrated with all the waiting for upgrades and loading artwork messages and the unprompted disconnections etc...
I feel buying stock in a company is the same as putting your trust with them, and I feel AOL does not deserve my trust. Does anyone else feel the same? I've been watching AOL for quite a while and I'm sure I would feel differently about it if I had jumped in, but, oh well!!!! (I just wanted to gripe!!)
If you go by what the internet companies are
providing right now and how they are performing then all
these companies (including YHOO and AMZN) would be
penny stocks. Internet 'stocks' are soaring because of
the promise these companies have and what they can
provide in future. Just imagine how cumbersome it would
be if someone asks you to work on a DOS application
runnning on DOS 3.0 but that time people knew of the
potential of MSFT and we all know the rest.
crying about what kind of service AOL provides. AOL has
got a good and proven business model. The reason I am
saying proven is because AOL is among very few internet
companies which has declared earnings. AOL is among the
biggest ISPs in the world and don't tell me that all
those people are stupid to be using AOL if the service
is as bad as you are saying. AOL is going to be one
of the major contenders for the top slot.
I have tried other ISP's, and AOL has been the premier provider. Yes, It's access problems were very bad when I joined it last year. But, it's reactions to those problems have been extraordinary! I bought a large (gulp) interest very recently on the belief it's going to be the Microsoft of the ISP sector. If you think AOL has weak service, try any others, including Compuserve!
I also have gripes with certain aspects of AOL's operation, but recognize these problems as the transient growing-pains of an industry in its infancy. Beyond the negatives ... there is the undeniable fact that AOL is the most wondrous free-speech forum the world has ever seen ... and that ALL aspects of it will improve and grow along with this emerging/expanding technology.
It is not surprising that AOL is having troubles keeping up with an expoding market.
But their achievements are impressive. They are the only internet play with reliable revenue from 3 sources, 1) subscription, 2) advertising, and 3) commerce.
They have demonstrated an ability to execute when challenges are presented 1) correcting the "busy" signal in approx 3 months, 2) attempting to address the Kiddie porn scrare proactively, 3) good management of wall street expections regarding performance, and more.
They are positioned to take advantage of a consolidating on-line market (cash & bigness count). 10 million suscribers today (pre compuserve acquision) and growing rapidly. Next largest, Microsoft & GeoCities w/2.5 million & 1.5 million respectively. 50+ ISP w/100,000+ suscribers. A maturing market can handle, perhaps 10-15 participants. Who is positioned to "purchase" the customers. I would argue its AOL.
Finally, they are position to be the "Sears" or "MasterCard" provider to the middle market. Concerns about Internet commerce such as "stealing" credit card numbers, quality of merchants/merchandise, etc can be reduced by AOL's achievement in creating an Internet "brand" By itself, this is quite an achievement.
And.....they have managed the expense-side of the businiess quite nicely. Obviously, in an exploding marketplace, plans are adjusted and shifted quickly. To do this and hold onto your cost structure is quite impressive indeed.
I believe AOL is a long term solid player and the stock will continue to outperform the market.