AOL for free? You can’t be serious. I never thought I would see the day. It took them long enough! Its funny when you look at the twists and turns of the Internet portal space and how all the “big boys” have essentially taken different paths but are ending up in the same place. Yahoo, Google and MSN (plus other not so big sites like Lycos, Ask, etc.) have a big lead in the ad market, however the volume of users at AOL can’t be denied.
From my perspective, AOL IM (disclosure: I used to work at AOL on the IM product) is now not the 800 lb. gorilla within AOL, but the 8 ton gorilla. With 35+Million users, this is an engaged audience that AOL needs to actively cross sell in order to get them to expand their usage of other AOL products and services.
I think the most pressing question is: what is everyone going to do with their AOL CD-ROMs?