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Summary:

After months of build-up, denials and non-denials, America Online (US) has launched a VoIP service, finally catching up with itself. AOL France and AOL Canada have been selling VoIP service for the longest time. AOl launched its Internet phone service in more than 40 cities. The […]

After months of build-up, denials and non-denials, America Online (US) has launched a VoIP service, finally catching up with itself. AOL France and AOL Canada have been selling VoIP service for the longest time. AOl launched its Internet phone service in more than 40 cities. The introductory packages are between $13.99 and $29.99, but will go up by about $5 after three months which will make the package more expensive than most other VoIP service providers. Why?

AOL imagines that is a “brand” and a “channel” that can be milked. Tell that to AT&T which spent millions of dollars and had mere 53,000 customers to show for it. Still, if AOL can get any dollars to prop-up the losses of dial-up customers, it can’t be bad for the shareholders. They have a long dirty fight ahead of them. Just remember today is the day, Verizon decided to push its discount VoIP package for $19.99 a month. That $5 -premium after 3 months is not going to work for AOL, and they will have to compete on prevailing rates. You think Vonage is going to sit idle! Let the madness begin! (Disclosure: Business 2.0 is part of Time Warner’s Time Inc division. Time Warner also owns AOL.)

  1. Lots of Various Links

    Ask Jeeves does search in Spanish. Lycos uses AlmondNet to target contextual ads. Who Owns Culture free webcast tonight. DG’s Desk links to a bunch of search research. Andy Beal sees Google alternate search reuslts link. Rand interviews the MSN search…

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  2. I did not see an online order option, just a toll-free number to call to order.

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  3. Hmm… The same. I did not see an online order option from top to bottom… Too bad…

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  4. I’ve started off my new site at http://www.bitpad.com with an article on the AOL IPS annoucment.

    Like you Om, the pricing and plans are messy from my perspective and most of all offer little unique cusotmer value benefits to the drones of AOL subscribers who’ve been loyal.

    Most of all, if they do want success, why not spend a couple of million dollars and buiild a truly integrated system that leverages the AOL product portfolio and gives reasons for people to believe in the AWOL service they’ve been buying all this time! Ash

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