AOL to Change Name to TMZ


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, 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 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.

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  1. JR says

    Okay, what? I was just getting used to calling them AOL! Okay, maybe not. As a faithful following of the church of AOL I just have to say “What are you thinking?” What’s in a name? Come on people (AOL corporate people that is) the real problem is that the competition is getting bigger, AOL isn’t getting smaller. You think that by renaming yourself that you can magically make customers aware that you have a new apporoach to online newbies? Wake up and smell the high speed cable in almost every home on the planet. Rebranding will only weaken your position and could possibly weaken your brand name enough that it creates a position where AOL will have smaller online market share , just when the game is getting interesting. If AOL does this, hundreds of executives in others companies around the world will go out to a nice dinner, get a big steak and the best bottle of wine that the restaurant has. Mark my words, this is the act of a frightened set of execustives that don’t realize that they are the big dog and they control the shots. They need to focus on how they’re going to market to potential customers instead of over-reacting. These are exciting times online. It’s only going to get more exciting. Rebranding will hurt AOL ultimately.

    Definitive Synergy

  2. Dossy Shiobara says

    Obviously, Brian didn’t use enough smileys in his blog entry.

    I can’t believe people actually believe this.

  3. WBMike says

    I don’t believe this is true at all. Thats going to take a huge campaign to change its name to TMZ as well as convince its old user base that it can keep up with the same level of “quality” before and after the change.

  4. Ted says

    No one cared that much about Alvey while he was here so I can’t value his insight that highly. He should enjoy the money he fleeced off of AOL and focus on ComicCon or whatever he does now.

  5. - $100,000 in one year says

    Haha, AOL isn’t that stupid.

    One Man. One Year. $100,000 online. Smart.

  6. Gopinath M says

    It will be stupid thing to do. How come they are ready to bury their reputation and brand value? Do you think you can become popular by changing the name and starting the game again from square one?

    Tech Thoughts

  7. Sara says

    TMZ stands for “Thirty Mile Zone” which is a Hollywood term that pretty much means that most of the celeb happenings in the L.A. area is within a 30-mile zone. While AOL spends TONS of promotional space on celeb news and gossip, there is so much more to AOL than that so I highly doubt there is any truth to changing the name to TMZ.

    Now a name change in general (other than TMZ), that I can see happening within a year.

  8. smiley faces download says

    What will TMZ even stand for? I’m also curious about the current TMZ (the celebrity news show / site / blog).

    What was wrong with just being AOL other than being associated with putting crappy CD’s in my mailbox?