Schoolboy boss denies AOL crisis

Daniel Percy, 15-year-old Surrey schoolboy and acting managing director of AOL’s UK operation, has shrugged off suggestions that a wave of lawsuits and backlash among US customers which dominate AOL’s 8 million subscriber base will affect marketing and customer service plans in Britain.

Percy, now back at school after taking the helm at AOL UK last week, was left to handle press enquiries after AOL American bosses were forced to admit misjudging demand and appeal to disgruntled customers to cut down on attempts to connect to AOL at peak time.

Percy, standing in for AOL managing director Jonathan Bulkeley, told Marketing Week: “The US problems should not affect UK users a great deal.”

AOL is now threatened with large numbers of class actions by US subscribers seeking to sue the world’s biggest online service provider because of the company’s failure to cope with demand following a move to a flat-rate, unlimited access pricing model in December.

The move to the more competitive pricing system has led to an explosion of lengthy online sessions.

And while AOL’s claim to be the world’s biggest online service provider might still stand, it’s claim to be “the world’s most popular Internet online service” is now distinctly under siege.

AOL has responded to the problems with a tactical suspension of much of its US marketing activity, including TV advertising and distribution of free trial disks.

But AOL UK, a joint venture with German media giant Bertelsmann, insists that AOL’s aggressive marketing plans in the UK will proceed as planned.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here