AIM/Trillian insights?

Can AOL Make Money from IM?. In light of the ever-continuing fight between Trillian and AOL, let’s look at some lines from the story:

“The three — America Online’s AIM, Microsoft’s MSN Messenger and Yahoo!’s Messenger — have all started adding display ads to users’ buddy lists” -but only one is actively blocking other IM programs from using their service, MSN and Yahoo obviously don’t feel like they’re losing enough in ad revenues to make it a worthwhile fight.

“The America Online Internet division, which runs the AIM service, has reported flat revenues in the fiscal fourth quarter — $2.26 billion, up from $2.06 billion — mostly from subscription, advertising and commerce revenues. Against that backdrop, many believe the division’s priority is to turn the AIM platform into a profit center” -The question is, how?

“The most significant sign of AOL’s plans for the IM infrastructure came when the company teamed up with New York-based ActiveBuddy to launch a comprehensive marketing campaign for New Line Cinema’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy” -So the cross-promotion using bots is how they plan on making money off AIM, but why block part of your audience for that cross-promotion? Wouldn’t trillian users be just as likely to use the LOTR bot to learn more about the movie?

…a bunch more stuff about cross promotion and then this line, almost as a throw-away:

“Because the bots can actually be programmed to initiate a conversation, they are potentially a valuable tool for AOL’s e-commerce partners to direct shoppers and Web surfers to Web sites” -Could it be that Trillian users would be able to connect to AIM and AOL would not have the ability to initiate “spam” conversations using bots? Wouldn’t AOL sending you instant messages from bots irritate the hell out of you? Wouldn’t you then switch to Trillian if you could connect to your AIM buddy list and not have to put up with the spam-bots? Could that be the real reason for the AIM blocking?

It seems to me, however, that AOL would be able to initiate a conversation with you no matter where you logged in from, people on your buddy list can when you use Trillian. But then I think about the Yahoo features that don’t work when you use Trillian, because it doesn’t know you are online…. so maybe not?

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