In a move that was probably expected, heads are beginning to roll at Time Warner's
The company's chief technology officer and two employees in the company's research department are being let go, according to today's online version of The Wall Street Journal. Whether they're truly responsible, or simply scapegoats who were unlucky enough to be at the wrong post at the wrong time, AOL needed to take some action to help restore its integrity.
As AOL transitions from its former subscription model to become a free content service, the last thing that the struggling subsidiary needs is a reputation as a place where visitors can't securely search from the AOL.com screen. Paid search, after all, is where the big bucks are in online advertising. If you're into collecting Hello Kitty lunchboxes or are passionate about the Kansas City Royals, that should be between you and your search box.
AOL has been enhancing the value of its AOL.com portal in recent months. AOL is even turning to television advertising to promote its In2TV service, which streams classic television shows for free. AOL could use the publicity, since its domestic subscription count has fallen from 26.7 million in the fall of 2002 to only 17.7 million subscribers today. Nimbler access providers like Earthlink
Though the leak that splashed unidentified users' search results into the public eye certainly gave AOL a black eye, don't listen to the fearmongers who believe that there are huge ramifications here. No one's going to stop using Google
The Internet goes on. You'll get that lunchbox one day.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been an AOL subscriber since 1992, but he doesn't own any of the stocks mentioned in this story. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.The Fool has a disclosure policy.