RealTime IT News

AOL Surpasses 18 Million Members

America's largest Internet service provider, America Online Inc. Tuesday announced its membership has passed the 18 million mark.

The climb from 17 million and 18 million members took only 125 days. Over the past year, the service has added more than 5 million members. Member retention also continues to improve, the company said.

The company's combination of Internet access and portal services has proven a successful formula for recruiting and retaining members. The company's branding campaign and focus on Net newbies are also keys to its membership growth, said Bob Pittman, America Online's president and chief operating officer.

"This membership milestone is strong evidence that AOL is, by far and away, the preeminent mass market interactive brand," said Pittman.

AOL also announced that its CompuServe property is experiencing the strongest membership growth since being acquired. The two services have more than 20 million customers.

"CompuServe's growth into this quarter underscores its success as the leading brand in the value market segment," Pittman said.

AOL is planning to launch version 5.0 in the fall, and has made a number of acquisitions and alliances to facilitate further growth. On Monday, the company aligned with EMusic.com to offer downloadable music in conjunction with AOL's ICQ, Spinner and Winamp services.