First, it was “America Online”. Then, in 2006, “America Online” changed its name to “AOL”. Now AOL will reportedly change its name, yet again, to TMZ.
In April, 2006, America Online announced that after 15 years it was “retiring the name America Online and will now officially be known simply as AOL.” At that time, the legal structure of AOL also changed, from a corporation to a limited liability company.
According to Brian Alvey, the co-founder of the Weblogs, Inc. Network (AOL acquired Weblogs, Inc. around October 2005), AOl has been making changes to parts of the AOl site, putting additional emphasis on TMZ:
Reading all of this news about how Facebook is the new AOL Buddy List and seeing how many people can only understand what I did in blogging when I tell them that my platform is what TMZ runs on, I am now convinced that AOL will be undergoing another name change by the end of the year.
Many users have been flocking to Facebook lately, and there’s even an AOL/Facebook partnership, which kind of got mixed reviews.
If you look at the graph below (courtesy Alexa.com), you’ll see that the AOL traffic (shown in red) has been steadily going down over the past few years while the TMZ traffic has been going up:
I have to admit that yes, it’s probably time for a change. AOL has been known as a dialup service that “caters to newbies”, and a lot of “techies” in the internet world tend to look at someone differently if the have an “AOL email address”. It may be time for AOL to rebrand itself to TMZ. Look for AOL to start the rebranding efforts in a few months, perhaps sooner.
AOL LLC, and its subsidiaries, operate a network of internet brands and the largest Internet access subscription service in the United States. The AOL LLC brands include the AOL.com(R) website, AIM(R), MapQuest(R) and Netscape(R). AOL also has operations in Europe and in Canada. AOL, which is based in Dulles, Virginia, is a subsidiary of Time Warner.
Bill Hartzer’s note:At this point, this name change from AOL to TMZ is being reported as a rumor. If anything changes, I’ll keep you posted. Feel free to subscribe to my RSS feed for updates as they happen.