AOL Joins the "Irregularity" Parade?
July 18, 2002 7:48 AM   Subscribe

AOL Joins the "Irregularity" Parade? "AOL converted legal disputes into ad deals. It negotiated a shift in revenue from one division to another, bolstering its online business. It sold ads on behalf of online auction giant eBay Inc., booking the sale of eBay's ads as AOL's own revenue. AOL bartered ads for computer equipment in a deal with Sun Microsystems Inc. AOL counted stock rights as ad and commerce revenue in a deal with a Las Vegas firm called Inc."
posted by owillis (17 comments total)
Die, AOL, and die quickly.
posted by adampsyche at 8:04 AM on July 18, 2002

How many does it take to make the irregular regular?

How many licks does it take....
posted by rushmc at 8:18 AM on July 18, 2002

I just read the MSNBC version of this and am amazed at what a mess this is! If these things are "standard and accepted accounting practices" I'm afraid we are in for a lot more of this garbage.

[Die, AOL, and die quickly.]

Not until the fifth season of the Soprano's is over with. And we'll have to wait for Six Feet Under to run it's course. Then, ok with me.
posted by revbrian at 8:23 AM on July 18, 2002

They should just admin the merger killed the company, spin off Time Warner, and run down AOL to a competitor, maybe have MSN or Earthlink pick up the assets. (I can dream, can't I?)
posted by benjh at 8:40 AM on July 18, 2002

Bye bye AOL Time Warner.
posted by insomnyuk at 8:59 AM on July 18, 2002

Yes, I too hope for the demise of the evil AOL. But losing Time would suck. I never understood that merger anyway.

As to bartering equipment for ads or services...that's fairly common actually. Nothing wrong with that practice unless either side reports it as "earnings". In fact, it's one of the only ways that start-up publishing endeavors can get pricey/high performance equipment.
posted by dejah420 at 9:07 AM on July 18, 2002

Wait for the Sopranos, yes.

For accounting irregularities, I would have to suggest a fiber cereal in the morning followed by a bran muffin. Keeps me very regular. Too regular, in fact...
posted by adampsyche at 9:08 AM on July 18, 2002

Very curious as to why losing Time would suck, dejah420. For the magazine? A subsidiary? The employees?

I'd just never given the matter much thought is all.
posted by hackly_fracture at 9:22 AM on July 18, 2002

Losing Time Warner would whack my Roadrunner cable moden. That would suck.
posted by Cyrano at 10:15 AM on July 18, 2002

I've never been much of a conspiracy theorist, but one tends to wonder when a photograph of George W. Bush appearing correlates to exactly where the article begins to talk about the specific accounting practices in question. Even more interesting is the photograph of our founding father and the bolt of lightning next to him. Interpret as you will.
posted by aphelion at 11:33 AM on July 18, 2002

I never understood that merger anyway.

I never understand any of the big mergers. They usually end up as crap. Seems that they are mostly mega-pissing contests for the sociopath CEO country club circle jerk.
posted by HTuttle at 12:39 PM on July 18, 2002

Keep in mind that while the article showes "aggressive" accounting practices, it doesn't show that AOLTW is on the verge of bankruptcy, which is quite another thing entirely. And even if they really were facing Chapter 11, selling off parts would be the way to go -- and that means AOL would remain, perhaps with the same name. Just no Steve Case anymore. After all, nobody expects MCI to actually go away just because of Worldcom's problems; and bankruptcy is a way for a company to survive, not that it's guaranteed.
posted by dhartung at 1:24 PM on July 18, 2002

Haha, I remember some asshat stock analyst calling me and trying to get me to squander my money on Purchase Pro stock because AOL had a large stake in them. "You know if AOL is acquiring shares in them that it is going to be something big. They're a b2b company. Do you know what b2b means? So, how about starting small with a thousand shares. Come on, you don't even have 1000 dollars?"
posted by mblandi at 2:42 PM on July 18, 2002

I know we all hate AOL, but this only accounts for 2% of their revinue. It's not like Enron or Worldcom.
posted by delmoi at 3:02 PM on July 18, 2002

Yes, die AOL--and I'm a subscriber. AOL is, by and large, the biggest pipe sending sewage onto the Internet. I can't explain it beyond that.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:15 PM on July 18, 2002

No opinion on AOL (though my in-laws seem to enjoy it). I just like the fact that "asshat" usage is making a sudden surge toward ubiquity.
posted by jalexei at 4:13 PM on July 18, 2002

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