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Gmail trounces AOL to take #3 web mail position

google mail logo Gmail trounces AOL to take #3 web mail positionThe latest not-really-that-important web statistics show that Google’s GMail web mail service is now the third largest in the US.

What’s more surprising is that it had to overtake AOL to get there.

AOL? Why do so many people still use AOL?

The top two webmail providers are Hotmail, with 47m unique users, and Yahoo! Mail, with a whopping 106m. More →

AOL CEO Goes for Niche Content

aol ceo tim armstrong AOL CEO Goes for Niche Content

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong

The portal strategy is a relic of the late nineties, a leftover from newspapers blending content for mass audiences. Companies who continued to pursue that strategy, most notably Yahoo and AOL, have rightfully been labelled relics as well.

That’s why I’m happy to hear that AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, who jumped to the troubled tech titan from Google just over a hundred days ago, sees the folly of the portal strategy. Acknowledging the fragmentation of media, the very phenomenon that makes Google search so valuable, Armstrong is pushing two very modern ideas within the company: niche content and superdistribution. He properly positions the former to provide depth, and the latter to provide speed.

If that strategy sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the strategy of a good blog network. AOL is about to spin off from Time Warner through an IPO; the company needs a conrete direction and a fresh perspective to attract investors and survive the spinoff. You know the portal strategy is dead when your grandmother’s dialup ISP abandons it.

(Photo via John Batelle.)

AOL launches philanthropy feature on AOL News

AOL’s MediaGlow has introduced a new feature on AOL News that provides information and news about philanthropic efforts across America, as well as the latest scientific information and advice about the benefits of living a philanthropic lifestyle. The feature, created in partnership with Philanthropy Project, is the latest in a series of AOL News launches across various special-interest areas that deliver top-quality breaking news.

A proprietary feature of the philanthropy news site is the GlowMeter, a quiz that reveals users’ philanthropic “colors” and matches them to GlowMates — others who are participating in like-colored philanthropic efforts in the users’ communities.

At launch, the site will highlight 11-year-old philanthropist Zach Bonner, who is walking 668 miles, from Atlanta to the White House, to rally support for homeless kids in America and youth volunteerism. Visitors will be able to track Bonner every step of the way through GPS technology and video feeds from the walkathon. In 2005, Bonner founded the Tampa-based Little Red Wagon Foundation. He is the basis of an inspiring, family movie being produced by Philanthropy Project.

AOL UK launches AOL.com with email and social networking

AOL UK today announced the beta launch of its new homepage that will let consumers access multiple e-mail accounts and social networking services from a single online destination. The new AOL.com homepage will be opened to third-party services and content, providing consumers with new customization options while offering advertisers new opportunities to tap into an increasingly engaged audience. The site is part of the ongoing strategy of AOL’s MediaGlow publishing division to expand globally, including the launches in the UK of men’s lifestyle site Asylum, WalletPop, Autoblog, and Flytrap Games.

Some of the innovative features include AOL UK users being able to check their Google Mail, Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail and of course AOL Mail e-mail accounts, in addition to seeing their online buddies via AOL’s AIM service. From the AOL.co.uk homepage, users will also be able to post status updates to multiple social networks, and access profile activity information, including new friend requests and mail notifications, from services such as AIM, Bebo, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other third-party sites in the future. In the UK, social sites account for one in every six minutes spent online, according to a recent study.

AOL’s MediaGlow expands audience reach in March

AOL’s MediaGlow expanded its year over year consumer reach in March with pageviews climbing 13% to reach 6.4 billion and total minutes increasing 9% to 4.3 billion, according to March 2009 comScore Media Metrix data.

In addition, the AOL.com site, which in 2008 opened to third-party content, e-mail, social networks and more, grew 7% in page views and 26% in total minutes year over year.

AOL’s StyleList.com hires experienced journalists and industry experts

StyleList.com, AOL’s beauty site, is expanding its staff with three industry leaders who will bring top category expertise to the site’s daily style and beauty coverage.

The staff expansion builds on the successful StyleList.com redesign in September 2008, and is consistent with the overall strategy for the AOL, to provide consumers with the highest standard of original editorial content.

The new editorial staff consists of:

Diane Davis, Director: Davis will direct all content development for StyleList.com. Previously, Diane was the lifestyle editor at the Associated Press, where she revamped and directed coverage of food, fashion, home/garden and parenting. She was formerly metropolitan editor at Newsday, overseeing all coverage of New York City news;

Sarah Cristobal, Senior Fashion Editor: Cristobal, charged with running all fashion style coverage, comes to StyleList.com from Harper’s Bazaar’s online destination, Bazaar.com, where she was the founding editor;

Laura Kenney, Beauty Editor: Kenney will oversee all beauty and hair content. Previously, she served as editorial manager at Sephora.com, where she created Sephora’s Beauty and the Blog, YouTube, Facebook and iTunes channels.

AOL is best ISP in customer experience… really?

AOL was rated as the top Internet service provider for overall customer experience, according to a survey of consumers by Forrester Research, an independent research company. The survey asked nearly 4,600 consumers about their interactions with Internet service providers based on a number of measures, including usefulness (tied for first at 79%) and ease-of-use (71%).

AOL’s overall “Customer Experience Index” rating was 71%, higher than any other service provider in the survey, according to Forrester. The Forrester survey also found that AOL’s Index score climbed five percentage points between 2007 and 2008.

In this kind of economy, it is good to know that businesses are focusing on providing top customer experience.

AOL Latino launches TechnoPadres.com to help parents understand children’s online habits

AOL Latino has launched TecnoPadres.com, a Spanish-language resource for parents who want to learn, understand and discuss technology as it relates to their children and their online safety. The new site is part of part of AOL Latino’s women’s lifestyle network Tu Vida y Más.

TecnoPadres.com will include content aimed at making parents more tech savvy and more equipped to understand the technology their children are using, be it social networking sites or mobile devices.

TechnoPadres.com is in conjunction with the launch of Bebo.com’s U.S. Latino portal.

AOL’s FanHouse signs syndication deal with NBC Local Media

fanhouse AOLs FanHouse signs syndication deal with NBC Local MediaAOL and NBC Local Media announced that local sports content from FanHouse.com is now featured across NBC Local Media sites. FanHouse local sports commentary and blog posts will be available directly on NBC Local Media sites and will include links to blog posts on FanHouse.com.

This marks the first blog syndication deal for both FanHouse and NBC Local Media and is part of the broader strategy of AOL’s MediaGlow publishing unit to extend the reach of its content across the web.

“Adding FanHouse blog content to our sites enhances our local sports commentary and analysis for true city insiders,” said Brian Buchwald, Senior Vice President, NBC Local Media. “This new partnership is another step towards delivering on our goal of providing up-to-the-minute, locally relevant content to our users from the best sources available.”

NBC Local Media features numerous daily FanHouse posts across its sites including: NBCBayArea.com, NBCChicago.com, NBCWashington.com, NBCDFW.com, NBCSanDiego.com, NBCConnecticut.com, NBCLosAngeles.com, NBCNewYork.com, and NBCPhiladelphia.com.

AOL’s Platform-A enters strategic partnership with FreeCreditReport.com

AOL’s Platform-A has entered into a multi-faceted strategic relationship with FreeCreditReport.com, the provider for online consumer credit reports, scores and monitoring.

The partnership will fully leverage Platform-A’s diverse slate of advertising solutions, including deep customized content integration within AOL’s properties and a variety of broad-based campaigns across Platform-A’s networks, ensuring the ability to harness the full power of digital media advertising.