Space Ramblings

With Bluestring AOL Still Wants to Rule the Web

Except increasingly it has no clue how to do so. Bluestring, its latest venture is cute, but just as doomed as AOL’s services giveaway or XDrive. AOL is doing a lot of the right things but the wrong way. Bluestring is basically Photobucket on steroids. It’s an idea whose time has come, unfortunately that time was about two years ago. Right now online media storage is more about social networking via Flickr or YouTube than it is about simply organizing and having the media in an accessible place. At this point a universal home media storage and organization system is of a lot more use than Bluestring because when people put up media online, it’s because they want to share it rather than store it.

To succeed AOL needs to do more than provide server space as it’s done with free email or Xdrive, which I was never able to get to work for me or with Bluestring. It has to compete with MySpace and Yahoo and win. Can AOL do that? In theory it should be able to because AOL’s own origins were very much in appealing to lowest common denominator tech illiterate users and providing useful and easy to use services for them. AOL lost the battle as an ISP. It didn’t lose the battle as a content provider. Unfortunately AOL has become increasingly clueless and is currently a step away from following Earthlink’s fate, if at least managed to avoid Prodigy’s and Compuserve’s.

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