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AOL Surpasses 21 Million Members

by Nick Anis

America Online's membership now surpasses 21 million. On Christmas Day 1999, more new members joined AOL than on any single day in the company's history. According to company spokesperson, Bonnie Williamson AOL subscribers now are averaging more than one hour online daily; (63 minutes during the month of January). Ms. Williamson told the Press Pass "The AOL experience is becoming increasing valuable and necessary to its members' everyday lives."

Bob Pittman, America Online's President and Chief Operating Officer, said: "We could not be more pleased to see that the AOL service continues to set the standard as the premium mass market service. Just as important, our members recognize the ever-increasing value of AOL membership and have expanded their time online to more than an hour daily. This climbing usage shows that AOL subscribers are increasingly taking advantage of the full range of AOL member benefits including our new AOL 5.0 software and new features such as our personal online schedule, 'My Calendar,' 'You've Got Pictures' and Shop@AOL. And we are continuing to raise the bar through our AOL Anywhere strategy of extending AOL interactivity through such products as AOL TV, as well as Palm Pilots and other mobile companion devices."

Other usage AOL usage factors Williams points out underscore AOL is becoming more and more essential to members' everyday lives, are:

Nearly 60% of all member sessions are on AOL 5.0;
Over 6 million members have set up the personal online scheduler "My Calendar;"
More than 1.6 million people now use the service at the same time during peak periods (compared to one million a year ago);
110 million e-mails sent daily (50 million a year ago); 
600 million instant messages sent per day (400 million a year ago);
200 million stock quotes daily (113 million a year ago); and
5.2 billion Web URLs served a day (2.1 billion a year ago).

Independent of the proposed mega merger between AOL and Time Warner, AOL is a huge industry presence. AOL's current holdings include, AOL (21 million members); CompuServe (2.5 million members) and Netscape Navigator and Communicator Browsers; portals: netscape.com and aol.com; ICQ; AOL Instant Messenger, Digital City, AOL MovieFone, Spinner.com, and NullSoft's Winamp (Internet music).

AOL has grown so large and become so successful that from time to time rumors circulate (which are UNFOUNDED) that AOL is buying Microsoft, Apple Computer, and the US Post Office. That's silly; the Post Office isn't for sale, right? But then again, you never know how things will turn out in the rapidly changing online information industry.

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Nick Anis is a food, wine, and travel and technology writer with over 24 books in print published by McGraw-Hill, Random House, Bantam, Ziff-Davis, Tab, and others. Nick's articles have appeared in The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, West Coast Media, The Family Publications Group, The Weekly News, and Travel-Watch.  His beats include food, travel, snow and waters sports, entertainment, family recreation, consumer electronics, home improvement, and automotive.  He is responsible for the Restaurant Row Ethnic Dining Guide, co-published by the Long Beach Press Telegram.  Nick is an accomplished downhill skier, PADI certified SCUBA diver, and when he's not sitting on his butt goofing off, enjoys a variety of active recreation including tennis, riding motorcycles, ATVs, wave runners, snow machines, horses, skeet and trap shooting he's also taken a stab at riding camels, donkeys, elephants, ostriches, lamas, dolphins, Reindeer, bulls, mechanical bulls, and buffalo.  Nick is a member (A Secretary/Treasurer) of the International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA), a member of the North American Snow Sports Journalist Association (NASJA), Computer Press Association, The Writer's Guild, and listed in Books in Print, Media Map, and Press Access.  You can reach Nick at Editor@Travel-Watch.com.

 

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