Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, July 02, 2021

What’s AOL’s membership number at now — around 20 million?

It’s safe to assume that a good chunk of those are involuntary customers, thanks to the ISP’s excruciating cancellation-prevention techniques:

The employees who handle cancellation requests belong not to a Cancellations Processing Department but rather to AOL’s “Retention Queue.” They are referred to as “retention consultants” and “save employees,” and their bonuses depend upon the number of members who are induced to stay with offers of new enticements and deals, not on the speed with which they help members leave.

After the embarrassment of Mr. Ferrari’s call, an internal memo was issued that outlined a new “streamlined offer sequence” for handling cancellation requests, but the protocol still called for pitching two offers, if circumstances permitted.

When AOL customers call to cancel, the average duration of the call is 10 to 11 minutes. If we generously assume the shorter time, then the three million members who dropped AOL in the 12 months through March had to make an involuntary investment equivalent to 250 work-years in order to wriggle free.

The hassle-hustle works: Half of the callers who try to cut themselves off American Online wind up keeping it. They probably wind up keeping their accounts for free, but the overriding thing is that AOL (and parent company Time Warner) can still count those eyeballs in their pitches to advertisers.

This has been standard operating procedure since AOL got off the ground, practically. Which is why the company’s subscriber rolls — full of users that resent and don’t really use the service — always seemed less than substantial to me. And, no doubt, to a number of advertisers.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 07/02/2021 11:37:24 PM
Category: Business, Tech
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egg-senseJust making a note of this unusual (to me, anyway) Google AdSense ad configuration that showed up on this blog yesterday. I’ve never seen a mini-image ad show up alongside a bank of text ads, as these golden eggs did. As far as I could delve into AdSense’s reference section, I can’t tell how common or uncommon this sort of placement is.

I’m guessing the eggs are for some sort of venture capital pitch. As soon as I posted that item about Southern California emerging as an investment hotspot, the ad spaces on the index page filled up with VC ads. So this one is probably of the same ilk (I’m prohibited from clicking through on it myself, per Google’s TOS).

I haven’t seen it again since yesterday. If anyone’s actually cracked/clicked those eggs, let me know what came out on the other end. In fact, if anyone’s come across any other sort of image-text combos like this in an AdSense unit, let me know.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 07/02/2021 10:32:22 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Bloggin'
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I’m heading into the office tomorrow. This, even though most Americans probably won’t, as they’ll opt for the four-day weekend created by the 4th of July landing on a Tuesday this year. It’s all the more awkward for me, in that I will be staying home on the actual holiday day.

No complaints from me. I have the option of taking Monday off, but I’m busy enough that I’d rather put in the hours.

Still, things would be so much more streamlined this year if today, July 2nd, were actually celebrated as Independence Day. That’s the way it actually is, and the way Founding Father John Adams predicted it would be. But no. Due to a completion technicality in the signing of the Declaration of Independence by all applicable parties, the Fourth held forth.

If you dig deep enough into history, you’ll find more than a few never-was days that had a large bearing on the future course of America.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 07/02/2021 03:40:43 PM
Category: History
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aloha means goodbye
I’m sure it’s been tagged thusly already. I mean, what else are you going nickname Hawaii Winter Baseball, a short-lived developmental league that’s being revived after an eight-year hiatus?

There’s the Grapefruit League in Florida and the Cactus League in Arizona/Nevada, so Pineapple League fits right in. It’s not a perfect match, as the Grapefruit and Cactus are really just Spring Training groupings for convenience’s sake. But I’ll claim poetic license in this instance.

The previous incarnation of this now-Oahu-based league churned out a surprising number of Big Show talents:

Besides [Ichiro] Suzuki and [Jason] Giambi, other HWB alumni include Tadahito Iguchi, A.J. Pierzynski, Todd Helton, Michael Barrett, Derrek Lee, Adam Kennedy, Mark Kotsay, Preston Wilson and Randy Winn.

I’ll go ahead and predict that Waikiki Beachboys merchandise will catch on as a hipster fashion trend this coming winter.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 07/02/2021 02:36:51 PM
Category: Baseball
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