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AIM Pages Users For Social Network

David A. Utter
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-05-11

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AOL is going up against MySpace and other sites as it attempts to draw some of the younger online crowd to base their profiles where they do their instant messaging.

AIM Pages arrived online, launching in beta for users aged 16 and older. The site has been heavily based on Ajax programming, with modules users can place on their profile pages to fulfill different functions.

Ideally, AIM Pages can help AOL keep more of its 22 million AIM client users within the AOL network. The company's efforts to transition from the walled garden of content model to a more open audience-based advertising supported presence will benefit from extended user visit times.

AOL has made AIM Pages an easy product to use. While the more tech-jaded types have decried this on blogs as being simplistic, a better description would be fast. AIM Pages is not Dreamweaver, and it isn't intended to be that product either.

It is simpler to use than Google Page Creator, with the modular content AOL provides an effective way to add services like YouTube, Del.icio.us, and Flickr to the profile. But AOL wants to promote AIM Pages based on its ability to network AIM users together.

Each profile has a "My Buddies" module. Only buddies with AIM Pages profiles can be included in that module, so naturally the user will want to IM them and invite them to create AIM Pages too.

Even though AOL lists many of the modules available now as in beta and under construction, those for Del.icio.us and Flickr work without a problem They can be dragged to the center of the profile page, where they take up a lot of space, or the sides where they occupy a narrower slice of real estate.

AIM Pages has been characterized pre-launch as a MySpace competitor. But with the content AOL has access to through Time Warner, and a sizable IM userbase already on AIM, it might be better to call AIM Pages a competitor to Yahoo instead.

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About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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