More AOL Mis-steps

More proof that the folks at AOL still don't have it together.

But when America Online Latin America (AOLA) — the joint venture between AOL and Venezuela's media giant Cisneros Group — sent out more than 20 million CDs to jump start its Brazil business in 1999, the local consumer protection authorities came instead.

The ambitious marketing plan backfired when Brazilians, who tried to install the America Online software from the free CDs, complained that they could not get it to work. Worse yet, when they were able to install the software, they said that it caused problems with their computers. The problems were severe enough to force AOLA Brazil president, Francisco Loureiro, out of a job just 22 days after the launch. Apparently, placing the onus on its customers' lack of sophistication was not what company executives wanted to hear.

Note that they blamed it on their customers. Real good idea guys. I'm no expert, but I've never read a company success story about how they pinned all their problems on customers and it turned out great. AOL should become a case study of how not to run a business. (Although they did execute the hype-over-substance strategy perfectly to acquire some real assets)

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