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The company has run into obstacles at every step of the way--partners who failed to give necessary support or who even turned hostile, and competition from a multitude of corporate Goliaths (including Bill Gates, who declared that he could either buy AOL or bury it). Worst of all, AOL has created a cascading sequence of operational and technical blunders, often offending or infuriating the people they most need to survive; yet the company still manages to dominate the online service industry.
Swisher speculates that one main factor enabled AOL to succeed against overwhelming odds: the superior vision of marketing executive Steve Case. While other online services focused on games, shopping, and business, AOL worked on building community and interpersonal contacts. This service proved valuable enough to outweigh the company's mistakes and misfortunes.
However, it is this same focus that has also brought on many of AOL's problems. Swisher describes AOL's struggles with the seamier side of online life--people who use the service for criminal activities and for discussing raunchy sexual issues. Swisher also discusses the problems that come with too much success, such as the overload of users that routinely slows down or completely crashes the system, the backlash on the Internet when masses of netiquette-challenged AOLers appeared in cliquish newsgroups, and the national outrage when a technical problem brought down the entire service for many hours.
With its cast of fascinating and quirky characters, including Steve Case, Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and Alexander Haig, aol.com is a captivating look at all the human, cultural, and sometimes just plain quixotic factors that created this unlikely giant. --Elizabeth Lewis --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Still relevant today even though aol is old news on the startup/entrepreneur front. Tenacious guts and a story about survival - important for any business, at any time. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Adam Spector
I have tried the AOL's cd that gives free connection for 3 months, and when I wanted to cancel the subscription (because I changed my home address) it was impossible to stop the... Read morePublished on August 15, 2006 by Patrick Smith
This is a good book. Well written with lots of information that you would have never known went on behind the scenes of aol. A real page turner.Published on December 9, 2005 by Dottie Randazzo
Very fascinating and detailed look at the early and middle years of AOL (before the latest difficulties with TimeWarner merger). Read morePublished on April 21, 2002 by RMurray847
Karen Swisher weaves a compelling tale of America Online, a company saga that is remarkable in the annals of American business history. Read morePublished on March 13, 2002 by Eugene A Jewett
AOL.com is worth the read if you are interested in finding out how Steve case was able to transform AOL from an underdog in the online industry to the media titan that it is today. Read morePublished on December 6, 2001 by A. Valentine
I have been on AOL for quite some time. Not because I am new to the Internet -- I have a vast knowledge on the Internet -- but because I enjoy the sense of community and integrated... Read morePublished on July 14, 2001 by CoffeeGurl
This is an excellent book giving the history of AOL, from its time as only a figment of someones imagination, to the largest online service in the world, AOL.com chronicals it all. Read morePublished on June 23, 2001 by A. Calvo
If you've ever received a CD of AOL in your mail, on the doorstep or in a magazine, you'd better read this book to find out why! Read morePublished on June 12, 2001 by Theresa Gaffney