The secret to AOL's 3.5 million dial-up subscribers: they're not paying for dial-up. Completely baffled the fact that not only do 3.5 million people still subscribe to AOL's dial-up service, but the company signed up 200,000 new subscribers just this year, we asked AOL spokeswoman Maureen Sullivan let us in on their magic. "We've been able to offer increased subscription offerings to our long term customers, who in some cases don't want or need dial-up access," she told The Atlantic Wire. "What other services can we provide to them, that they value?" AOL asked itself. So it keeps the money rolling in by offering other important services, like McAfee Security and Suzanne Sommers Sexy Forever, a weight loss program for women over 40.
The AOL subscriptions come in various flavors, ranging in prices from $9.99 per month for a bare-bones package to $25.90 per month for the highest level "AOL Total Advantage." It is not a great business. In the company's latest earnings release, revenues from subscriptions were down 22 percent. But it's still big money with $192 million in subscriptions reported for the quarter, 36 percent of the entire company's revenues. This is how they described the mini-boom in new subscriptions in their earnings release: