By Liam Logsdon, Stranded in Tampa
Miami, Florida (Disassociated Press) - Thursday, America Online made the announcement that it plans to sell outdated and low-priced PCs to low-income minority households and seniors who are on fixed incomes. The catch is they will have to agree to a year's membership of their new Pop-Up Internet service.
The parent company of AOL, Time Warner Inc, has been data mining demographics and settled on these markets. Their plan is to flood the markets with low cost PCs, preloaded with Windows MS-DOS, and will sell the computer and service at Office Depot.
A spokeswoman for AOL, Linda Trijuillo stated, "We realized the majority of minorities will not know the difference, and if they call to complain, we'll have the language barrier on our side". "Our target market for the seniors includes nursing homes that specialize in Alzheimer's patients". "We can virtually forget about the complaints for them, since they will too".
"We also hope to attract the 33 percent of U.S. households comprised of seniors, African Americans and Hispanics who do not yet own a PC".
The mass-market launch is part of a broad strategy at global domination. AOL is working hard at recovering online service customers, who bolted with the advent of AOL 6.0. Over 2.2 million members abandoned its service the first month alone.
Over the past two years, the company has struggled to make money on it pop-ups and had signed advert agreements with several large companies. It also attempted to find new sources of revenue within the smaller business community, even those with no scruples.
Pop-up ads have appeared for sheister lawyers, loan services, and non-existent banks in Jamaica. One of their biggest customers, Hakim Al-Eulanih, is an Iraqi lawyer who has been charged with finding honest people around the world willing to allow him to deposit a portion of Saddam's ill gotten fortune into their bank accounts. With the pop-up feature and mass emailing, AOL has increased their revenue by ten-fold.
AOL's idea was to also appeal to different categories of customers including the Spanish-speaking teen markets, and have added Ricky Martin's photo to their pop-up. Their tag line for the advert: "Livin' La Vida AOL".
One London based senior executive with Time Warner Inc, Lord Charles Kings-Row retorted, "Just do the math, we make an average of 1/100th of a cent per pop-up, so we need a hundred to occur to make a penny". "Now, how many do we need to clear a billion pounds per day, eh college boy"?
The older computers will come configured that send users to specific areas of the AOL service and only use AOL applications preloaded on the computer. They will also be preconfigured for Spanish language speakers.
AOL said the Latino market is ripe. A Spanish service was launched last October and has served as the test program. "It's been really easy to climb on board this Spanish gravy train, because anything Latino is muy caliente", Trijuillo said. "We've already taken advantage of over 2 million members alone in the U.S. Spanish-speaking community".