The letters AOL have a certain connotation to them. For kids who grew up in the ’90s, AOL was primarily used for IMing (or instant messaging) and all the middle school politics that went with that as well as accessing the internet while yelling at your family to stay off the home phone. (It was, to say the least, a different time.)
In the intervening years, the company has struggled mightily against competitors like Google and Yahoo to stay relevant, but with few results. In June 2015, AOL was acquired by Verizon for a stunning $4.4 billion and things have stayed relatively quiet since then, but as it turns out the company has been throwing around a few ideas behind the scenes, including a name change.
Mind you, this isn’t the first time AOL has changed its name. Before it was AOL, it was America Online, Quantum Computer Services, and Control Video Corporation, but as America Online/AOL, the company was king of the fledgling Internet. But in an interview with Business Insider, AOL chief marketing officer Allie Kline says that singular identity as a scion of the early Internet is a problem.
“If you ask me today, I could say, ‘I feel very strongly about the AOL brand. It has a lot of legacy and meaning, and we shouldn’t move away from it!'” Kline told Business Insider. “But if we met tomorrow, I could be like, ‘Yes! We need a new name!’”
This isn’t a Puff Daddy/P.Diddy-style name change, either. As Kline points out, AOL is way more than its past as an Internet juggernaut. The company owns web-based publication The Huffington Post as well as Mapquest, or the original Google Maps. AOL has also made major strides in mobile advertising and mobile video, which was the primary reason Verizon paid so much for it.
“I actually don’t think there’s a bad choice, but we have to make the choice,” Kline said. “Are we going to keep the AOL brand or are we going to bring a new brand to market?”
We have to say, a name change doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. Just don’t choose a name as ambiguous as, say, Freeform.
(Image via iStock.)