AOL Still Makes $500 Million a Year on Dial-Up Internet

Despite more than a decade of faster and sometimes free alternatives, dial-up still makes a lot of money.


Remember the days of 56K modems – when every time you connected to the Internet you had to listen to those screeching sounds even if you had the volume down? When you had to kick the kids offline to use the phone?

Those days aren’t over for some people, apparently. A lot of people. According to an article from Business Insider, America Online’s “dial-up subscription business–the business that powered AOL to astounding global success in the 1990s–still accounts for the vast majority of AOL’s profits.”

That comes from AOL’s own reported numbers for the fourth quarter of last year, which also show that the company’s revenue has grown for the first time in eight years.

That growth is coming from global advertising, not dial-up (which is shrinking, although slowly). But it’s kind of astounding that dial-up can still be that profitable in the era of far-faster cable connections and free Wi-Fi. Especially considering AOL used to shovel out those infinite free-trial CDs like candy.

Stacy Johnson

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