RealTime IT News

AOL Tops 21 Million Members

Benefitting from strong Christmas computer sales, America Online Inc. Wednesday announced that membership has surpassed 21 million subscribers.

America Online (AOL) gained steam around the holiday season, adding more than 1 million subscribers since Dec. 17. On Christmas Day, AOL reported that more new members joined its online community than on any single day in the company's history.

According to AOL reports, subscribers are also spending more time online, averaging more than one hour of use each day.

Bob Pittman, AOL's president and chief operating officer, said AOL service continues to set the standard as the premium choice for mass-market Internet access.

"This climbing usage shows that AOL subscribers are increasingly taking advantage of the full range of AOL member benefits," Pittman said.

AOL service usage records indicate that nearly 60 percent of all subscribers utilize AOL's most recent release of its 5.0 software.

The 5.0 upgrade included customized scheduling services, of which more than 6 million AOL members use. However, the new software has not been without its detractors. Some have complained it alters existing communications settings in Windows 95 and 98.

During peak usage periods, AOL concurrently serves-up Internet content to more than 1.6 million subscribers.

On an average day, about 110 million e-mails are sent to and from AOL e-mail addresses. AOL's instant messaging service sends 600 million notices to members and IM partners each day.