Whirr! Beep! Welcome to AOL!

Here’s an interesting if mean-spirited item from Matt Yglesias at Vox:

AOL — publishers of the Huffington Post, Engadget, TechCrunch, and others — announced its second quarter earnings this week, and the news was good. The company made a bunch of money! But the way they made it was kind of weird.

Notwithstanding the company’s emphasis over the past decade or so on building content brands and selling advertisements, the actual business continues to be selling subscriptions to about 2.3 million suckers paying $20 a month for God-knows-what. This has been noted in a variety of news outlets, but few people are paying attention to the fact the subscription business accounts for over 100% of the company’s profits.

I dunno. I haven’t subscribed to AOL since I lived in the middle of nowhere and dial-up internet service was the only game in town. I don’t believe there are many places like that anymore.

On the chance that some of those “2.3 million suckers” are regular readers of PA, I’ll put it out there: If you subscribe to AOL, why do you do so? Unlike Matt, I’m open to persuasion.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.