AOL Reviews

Updated July 2, 2015
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735 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    Year long stint copywriting at aol

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

    I worked at AOL

    Recommends
    Disapproves of CEO
    Recommends
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Really great atmosphere. Lots of young people, growth, beautiful office. Massage chairs!

    Cons

    Huff po reorganized entire office to 'more productive' open space but seems like just a cheap way to cram more people in one space. Not sure about the longevity of the company. Depends on the outcome of Armstrong's multi million dollar blog spending spree


  2. Business is good but transition is painful

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

    I have been working at AOL

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The business is growing very fast and promising. Unlimited drink and snaks, catering lunch everyday

    Cons

    The whole engineering is in transition now, and most of engineers are confused.


  3. Helpful (1)

    I miss this place

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

    I worked at AOL full-time

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    People, culture, good benefits, opportunities to learn.

    Cons

    There was a downward spiral for a while. Layoffs.

    Advice to Management

    Find your new niche.


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  5. Helpful (2)

    Fun Culture and work community

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Dulles, VA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Dulles, VA

    I worked at AOL full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great salary and Health Care benefits, access to two fitness centers, and pretty good food in the bistro. Great people, loved the work I accomplished. Also half day work schedules before some holidays and able to telecommute often.

    Cons

    Many layoffs during my time at AOL. Hard to see co-workers leave, lots of turnovers.


  6. Helpful (1)

    Marketing Intern

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

    I worked at AOL

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    You learn a lo about being a leader. You have AOL build series on leaderships, with a lot of different celebrities. They have training sessions. Great corporate culture, so bright and every is so happy.

    Cons

    My work wasn't really hands on, very repetitive. Wish I could of been more welcomed into meetings and that my opinions were heard.

    Advice to Management

    It would of been nice to meet with other c-suite executives. Met with the CEO, but it would of been helpful to meet with the CMO, CFO, etc. to get a better vision of what they did to be in this position and advice that they had.


  7. Helpful (1)

    A talented, bewildered dinosaur struggling to stay relevant

    Former Employee - Business Development Director in Dulles, VA
    Former Employee - Business Development Director in Dulles, VA

    I worked at AOL full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    - Talented people
    - Amazing legacy
    - Big challenges

    Cons

    - Bureaucracy
    - Incredibly political
    - Dulles, VA

    Advice to Management

    Flush out the dinosaurs, get new blood in.


  8. Helpful (1)

    Data Center Manager

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

    I have been working at AOL

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great work life balance, with some good perks

    Cons

    Difficult to advance, education reimbursement is difficult to take advantage


  9. Helpful (1)

    Surprisingly innovative with excellent work/life balance

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

    I have been working at AOL full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great benefits, work/life balance, interesting work if you land on the right team.

    Cons

    Pays slightly below market, little communication or collaboration between the various brands, frequent reorgs.


  10. Helpful (1)

    Director

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

    I worked at AOL full-time

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    The people are awesome and everyone wants to win. Competitive salaries at all levels. Smart folks who work hard.

    Cons

    Challenges with competing cultures between AOL proper and acquired companies.

    Advice to Management

    Take control and eliminate silos.


  11. Helpful (2)

    Lack of vision, management skills, and adult supervision

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

    I worked at AOL full-time (More than 10 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Decent salary, and tons of corporate bling. We got Patagonia vests, coffee mugs and t-shirts frequently. My daughter has a drawerful of AOL sleep shirts by now.

    Cons

    I worked at AOL for 15 years, if you count my time in the company AOL acquired. In that time I noticed several consistent themes:
    1. Lack of vision..... It is no secret that AOL has been trying to reinvent itself, but they have been trying to do so without any clear plan or strategy. We have been operating under the "strategy of the day", which means that a given project may have high priority one day only to be on the chopping block the next.

    2. Immediate gratification is required. Management has no follow-through, and is unable to accept that some products will take time. The halls of AOL are littered with dead projects that had been killed because management misunderstood the technology or the project would not have returned an immediate profit. Long term. strategy does not exist. sadly, a surpringly large portion of these projects would have implemented services that others outside AOL turned into very successful businesses.

    3. Overly strong bias toward old technology... Within the engineering organization there is a heavy bias toward email and old technology, to the point where it is extremely difficult to integrate with newer technology. If your project was not related to mail, you were lucky if you received any support (the primary driver behind this is simple; a huge portion of AOL's page views come from webmail). Unfortunately, this has the effect of hamstringing other efforts. That's one of the reasons you'll find that AOL's instant messaging lags so far behind the industry, for example.

    4. Exceptionally poor morale. Within the engineering organization there is a persistent pall, a sense that no matter what you may be doing, your job will eventually be considered "extraneous", and you'll be laid off. In my time at AOL I saw over 20 layoffs of varying sizes within engineering alone. Employees have developed a morbid sense of humor to deal with this stress. Management doesn't help with this by announcing most layoffs with no forewarning. It is not at all uncommon to see a coworker arrive as normal in the morning only to find by midday that they are unemployed.

    5. No correlation between job ratings and actual performance... AOL recently started implementing stack ratings within engineering, which forces managers (many of whom have absolutely no direct experience with the employee) to force a normal distribution on employee skills. There is no recognition that it is possible to have a team comprised of above average skills. Annual ratings are developed by committees of managers, but a surprisingly large number of managers deciding I ratings have never worked with the employee being rated. This utter disconnect between ratings and actual job performance has turned the culture into one that stresses self preservation, knowledge hoarding, and unnecessary competitiveness.

    6. Unwillingness to consider conflicting views.... I worked on a small team focusing on a line of business outside the mainstream consumer business. Our team was quite profitable, netting far more per capita than most businesses in the company. Moreover, our customers were highly dependent upon the services we offered. Management recently decided to shut down our team, laying off our staff. When our customers got word of the shutdown they became extremely upset and vocal. The decision to shut our team down was made by management without regard for the impact of the decision, and without any willingness to consider alternatives (e.g., spinning off, selling to competition, etc)

    7. Very little potential for career growth... AOL has a very strong bias toward hiring younger people from outside the company over promotion from within. Combined with very few options for career/skill development, this results in an environment in which it is exceptionally hard for one to advance, (AOL does run a training organization that likes to boast of skill development, but the widely known secret is that very few of the staff can actually take advantage of this -- the chargeback to the employee's department pretty much ensures that budget constraints prevent training).

    Advice to Management

    Any advice I have for Tim Armstrong will be ignore, I'm sure. The Verizon deal will pretty much confirm that. However, if any AOL manager DO happen to read this, I offer the following:

    1. Make a plan, and stick to it. Stop building products that you kill off before giving them any chances, or better still, decide on what products to build based on an actual strategy, not the whim of some clueless product manager.
    .
    2. Start treating your employees with respect. Get rid of the stacked ranking and start rating employees on actual skills and results. Not everything in life follows a normal distribution. Another novel idea: Start promoting people from within. It is ex. ceptionally hard for an employee to advance at AOL; there is a strong tendency toward hiring new, younger staff over promotion from within.

    3. Stop trying to make your financials look better by selling body parts. For too many years you have made your financials better by laying employees off. You have long since passed the point of "optimizing" productivity; most employees are now overworked and have no hope of being able to manage their workloads realistically.

    4. Pay attention to your lines of business. Stop walking away from potential deals (yes, I have seen management reject deals on which our customers have approached us, deals that would have resulted in a higher net profit per capita). I understand that you need to focus on your core business lines, but if you have a profitable business unit perhaps it would be better to consider spinoffs or sales rather that layoffs.



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