dec 27

The Cost of those AOL CDs

How much did it cost AOL to send discs to everybody, all the time, in the 90s? "A lot," says Steve Case (on Quora). Roughly $35 per customer, over time. But the gambit worked.

Update: AOL's former chief marketing officer has joined the Quora thread. Two tidbits: (1) She claims that at one point, 50% of all CDs produced in the world had AOL logos, and (2) for a while, the conversion rate on the direct mail campaign was 10%. Amazing.


Actually, it did not work. The creative accounting re how to book revenues from those trial CDs (among other accounting fraud) is what worked... for a while.

posted by anon at 2:27 AM on December 28, 2010

depends how you defined "worked," i guess. if it means "adding users," then it worked. if it means, "create a sustainable profit model," then it didn't work. according to case, they went from 200,000 users to 25 million during the era they were mailing out the discs.

posted by am at 4:14 PM on December 28, 2010

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