AOL Reviews in Mountain View, CA

626 Reviews
3.5
626 Reviews
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AOL Chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong
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Review Highlights

Pros
  • flexible work/life balance (although hours can be long) (in 82 reviews)

  • Or if you want to work from home (in 21 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

11 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Good opportunity for engineers to learn project and product management basics as well as new tech.

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

    I worked at AOL full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Small teams of 5 or so engineers, 3 QA, plus managers mean that everyone gets insight into others' responsibilities and can thereby expand one's perspective and skills.

    Cons

    There used to be annual large layoffs.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Every year, give a different set of senior engineers and QA people a year of sabbatical in which they must form 5-person teams to conceive and develop a startup-like project with no public association to AOL.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    No Clue

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Project Manager  in  Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Mountain View, CA

    I worked at AOL

    Pros

    There were many good and smart people working at AOL. Inter team cooperation was usually good. Most managers were very good about setting a reasonable work/life balance. Pay and benefits were not bad.

    Cons

    Constants re-orgs and layoffs make keeping focus difficult. Lack of coordination and cooperation between orgs. Lots of fiefdoms and turf wars. Management has not clue how to monatize products or what makes a compelling product. They also gave up on good products too soon and let bad ones linger.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop with constant shuffle of products, people, and orgs. I had 6 managers in 2.5 years. Get some good product folks and stick with something.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Company management in Virginia

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Technical Manager  in  Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Technical Manager in Mountain View, CA

    I worked at AOL

    Pros

    Fairly compensated. AOL is good line in the resume.

    Cons

    Remote management treating us as 2nd class citizens.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Company needs to cut the political bs away.

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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    AOL Silicon Valley

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Technical Director  in  Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Technical Director in Mountain View, CA

    I worked at AOL

    Pros

    very strong engineers and great local leadership team. local team was able to self-manage as an independent business unit for several years.

    Cons

    way too much red tape to get anything done. lack of trust in leadership at headquarters. too many executives at headquarters disagreed about what strategy the company should take.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    This review is for a previous position at AOL which isn't relevant to current management. But AOL needs to make sure its leaders can make strategy decisions and stick with them long enough to test them out.

    No opinion of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    A good leader is everything.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Mountain View, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA

    I have been working at AOL

    Pros

    Great salary and benefits. Promotions for everyone whether they deserve it or not (both good and bad). Talent recognized and appreciated. Opportunities to make a difference.

    Cons

    No accountability, unreasonable promotions, no good chances for a true career growth. Lots of effort wasted by certain bad decisions made by inept senior managers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire the right talent , let go of dead weight, keep the right talent be it executive or individual contributer or anywhere in between.

    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    AOL was a good company to work for the last 10 years, but there is too much uncertainty in that company right now.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Technical Manager, Software Development  in  Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Technical Manager, Software Development in Mountain View, CA

    I worked at AOL

    Pros

    AOL works on a lot of different products, from web, to client side, server side, mobile, video, etc... which gives you experiences on different technologies and teams. That what I enjoyed the most at AOL.

    Cons

    AOL needs to catch up with MSN, Google, and Yahoo, and still trailing at 4th place the last few years. Changes in senior management and yearly layoffs can be demoralizing.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Need to innovate ahead of the competition, need to create a real R&D team just like Google instead of playing catchup everytime

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Good learning ground but a place of chaos with management only out for #1

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Human Resources Manager  in  Mountain View, CA
    Current Employee - Human Resources Manager in Mountain View, CA

    I have been working at AOL

    Pros

    A lot of exposure to different types of projects.

    Cons

    Remote offices are ignored by the mother ship.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to the market. You already missed the boat. Figure out how to be a sustainable business.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    For an Engineer who wants to advance in his career, should not join AOL

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Engineer  in  Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Mountain View, CA

    I worked at AOL

    Pros

    Big Company, Lots of benefits in terms of learning new technologies from AOL University, Attending conferences and Technology Brown Bags. Easy place to slack off if you so desire.

    Cons

    Senior Management is very beurocratic, Too many product and project managers. Engineers are considered the peons. Reorgs every so often and layoffs follow every reorg. Employee Morale is always down.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to Engineers for a change and stop giving false promises to employees

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Low respect + low trust + minimal hours = You've Got Paycheck!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior QA Engineer  in  Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Senior QA Engineer in Mountain View, CA

    I worked at AOL

    Pros

    Short hours, solid salaries, minimal expectations, and working on projects that rarely ship. The really aggressive top-performers have all left for Yahoo or Google, so it's easy to shine compared to your peers. (many of whom are former government employees in Dulles where the standards are, uh, a bit lower than Silicon Valley)

    Cons

    It's an East Coast company that runs software teams as if they were a McDonald's kitchen crew. Never forget that a disposable, replaceable commodity; the company sees no value in your growth or having passion for what you do. In fact, it's dangerous, because then you might question the product direction and decision-making. e.g. When someone on our QA team expressed dissatisfaction that nobody actually used the product we were working on outside of required testing (a consumer product intended for use by tens of millions of people), the manager started ranting about how if she worked at a diaper company, she wouldn't be telling her employees to go around wearing diapers.

    One team member (an incredibly qualified, former C-level software executive who took a career break to lead a QA team) completed an MBA at a prestigious university while on my team. But nobody at AOL would even give him a crack at a business-oriented position. Now he runs the San Francisco office of one of the biggest names in the Internet.

    The highlight of working at AOL was when they spent about a million dollars "renovating" the office. Apparently our (former Netscape) cubicles were larger than the corporate approved size, a source of jealousy among visiting folks from Dulles. So they gave everyone tiny cubicles -- and suddenly had a morale problem that half of the office building was now empty! (This was shortly after they downsized the cafeteria to Dulles standards because executives also were furious that we had better food.)

    That's the AOL culture: it's not about doing the best thing for your employees or customers, but trying to make sure nobody receives anything more than the least you can give them. No wonder why nobody gives a hoot.

    Executives had equally little genuine respect for their customers. One Dulles exec even started making jokes AOL's customers for paying such a high fee for their service. He was finally fired, but his mindset remains pervasively.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you want to run a McDonald's restaurant, get out of the software industry. If you actually want to compete in the software industry, you have to do it by hiring smart people, trusting them, and rewarding them for their success. And why not try admitting it occasionally when you guys screw up? Your employees don't respect you anyway, so it's not like you have much integrity to lose.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    Not a happy camper.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA

    I worked at AOL

    Pros

    If you are working on a product, you have the potential to impact a very large audience.

    Cons

    Too many de-motivated people remain. The bad attitudes are contagious. No one is proud to be working at AOL.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Time for a change.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

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