AOL Reviews

Updated September 24, 2014
Updated September 24, 2014
635 Reviews
3.5
635 Reviews
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AOL Chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong
Tim Armstrong
349 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • flexible work/life balance (although hours can be long) (in 83 reviews)

  • Or if you want to work from home (in 22 reviews)


Cons
  • Senior management talks the talk, but doesn't walk the walk (in 27 reviews)

  • The department you work in determines what kind of work life balance you will have (in 10 reviews)

More Highlights

96 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Fractured, Complacent, Operational Nightmare

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at AOL as a contractor for less than a year

    Pros

    Free soda. Good Benefits. Lots of stickers. You can see celebrities in the elevator. East to coast if you want to clock it in.

    Cons

    - Leadership is divorced from the product
    - CEO lives in a bubble of rich white men
    - Bully culture where talent is less important than politics
    - Has no idea who they are anymore or who they want to be, they talk a great game about disruption but can't break their own mold.
    - Total lack of awareness for the meidum
    - Bloated staffing you have no idea what 1/2 the people are there doing.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus. Stop trying to be everything and build the longer living audience of people under 50. Recognize that you don't know brand and hire people who do. Divest the bad properties. Be one company not multiple competitive companies.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    A disaster; hope it's improved

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at AOL

    Pros

    Great benefits, some good people.

    Cons

    Terrible management, no direction, no chance for advancement, much of the workforce was substandard even in critical areas.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 4 people found this helpful  

    Barely hanging in there

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at AOL full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    You can learn a lot and the benefits are pretty good. I worked there for a very long time and it was fantastic back in the day.

    Cons

    AOL is trying to turn around and has been for MANY years. The company keeps chasing the next big thing, but doesn't really dedicate the resources to give new ideas a chance. Then, when it fails, they lay off a bunch of people and move on to the next big idea. AOL is your buddy who always has that next sure fire plan that'll make him rich.

    What it boils down to is that AOL is no longer growing. Everything is short term thinking, "We can save $5 today!" not caring that it'll cost the company $100 in a year.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You will never turn around the company if you don't put your energy into projects and stop thinking short term. Wall Street is already on to you. They know you are failing when you lay off employees frequently just so you can try to make your numbers.

    It's time to move on from Tim. Sales guys are great at sales, not usually leading an entire company. The loopy people he's bringing in as personal advisors shows a lot.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Don't do it

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at AOL

    Pros

    It may be bought out by Yahoo!
    Free snacks and drinks
    HuffPo brand saves the company

    Cons

    Unhappy workers, old strategies, understaffed. Very poor social program. They give up on new ideas far too easily. I was there less than half of a year because they threw up their hands and gave up. Another "restructure". Knew-jerk reactions are not a great way to run a company or revive AOL.com.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Decide on something and stick with it. Be clearer on goals and when launching something, go big externally versus promoting in-house. Learn how to use social media to increase user base. 10 million isn't as big of a number as you think.

    Doesn't Recommend
  6. 4 people found this helpful  

    Disappointment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at AOL full-time

    Pros

    great benefits if you actually get enough freedom to take advantage of them

    Cons

    Everyone is fearful of lay-offs so it creates a negative, competitive environment. Leadership claims they are open to change and new ideas but they prefer you not voice them. Annual reviews are made up of management sitting around talking trash about the staff that they have never bothered to get to know. They are under-staffed so everyone works like a dog and fears repercussion if they don't. They hire lots of people then fire them every quarter so it appears that the company is profitable. The CEO is a maniacal egotist who surrounds himself with "yes men." The politics in the organization are ethically questionable.
     They are seeking drones, not intellectuals

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    try an exit interview, might help improve the company

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    A roller coaster ride

    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at AOL

    Pros

    AOL has some of the best minds in the business focused on delivering relevant content to it's mass audience. Being a part of these teams and contributing to the news and various special interests that are of interest to you and published to the many looking for it is very rewarding.

    Cons

    Finding the right part of the business for you can be a challenge. Various environments within are very cut-throat and competitive. The regular layoffs contribute to these challenges and instill a modest sense of uncertainty.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Push for and strive to ensure current and future employees receive the training they need to better deliver in their current job and to be successful externally if necessary.

    No opinion of CEO
  8. 5 people found this helpful  

    A world of disappointment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Palo Alto, CA

    I worked at AOL full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Pays well (good comp + bonus); interesting challenges in terms of extending the consumer base

    Cons

    Horrible internal systems; lots of legacy systems both for internal use and for end users; poor choices at the executive level about business strategy; all the company power is in NY so working in other offices doesn't avail one of the chance to have as large of an impact; poor financial discipline in terms of evaluating the performance of products

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    Software Engineering Manager

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineering Manager  in  Dulles, VA
    Current Employee - Software Engineering Manager in Dulles, VA

    I have been working at AOL full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Decent working environment. Fun people. Gallows humor.

    Cons

    Constant threat of layoff. No direction. No vision. No sustainable plan for the future.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Lead, follow, or find someone who will.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 9 people found this helpful  

    Great people in the trenches, idiots in the C Suite

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer  in  Dulles, VA
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Dulles, VA

    I worked at AOL full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Really smart people at the individual contributor level
    Good compensation, nice facilities

    Work-life balance WAS good until they got carried away with the layoffs and doubled employee workload.

    Cons

    Too many to list. The executive leadership is utterly clueless and without direction. Multiple rounds of layoffs have left the "lucky" survivors seriously overworked.

     AOL's portfolio is littered with the wrecks of companies they've acquired and run into the ground. They had an early leadership position in multiple market segments which they squandered.

    Let's look at some of the casualties and lost opportunities:
    - Bebo. Purchased for $850M, flaming wreckage sold back to the founder for $1M
    - Netscape. Once the top site on the internet and a technical leader in browser technology. At least the world got Firefox out of the deal. AOL shareholders got nothing.
    - Mapquest. Had a solid 3 year lead on Google Maps. Zero reinvestment and treating it like a cash cow squandered that lead and invaluable customer goodwill.
    - X-Drive: an early pioneer in cloud-based storage. Another leadership position lost, more goodwill flushed away
    - Time-Warner. Was supposed to move AOL into broadband via TW cable and bring TW media content online. All of the natural synergies were completely torpedoed due to boardroom bickering between billion-dollar egos.
    - Advertising.com - had an early lead over Google adwords, multiple opportunities to compete squandered, little reinvestment or innovation, misguided strategy that was doggedly pursued despite copious evidence they were hemorrhaging market share.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    First off, lose the AOL name. There is no goodwill left in the brand (if there ever was any to begin with)

    Second, resign in favor of people who actually understand the technology and the market you're competing in.

    Third, listen to the people in the trenches regardless of what their job title is. They know more than you think.

    Stop copying and start innovating again. That means competing against Google and Facebook to hire top-tier talent, and then actually listening to those people and giving them the freedom to create.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Bad leadership

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at AOL full-time

    Pros

    Great co-workers, benefits are good

    Cons

    Corporate mismanagement, out-of-touch CEO, lack of leadership

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to your employees, practice democracy, show strong leadership

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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