AOL Rocks Broadband, Rolls New IM Features

In a sign of its double-pronged approach to interactive marketing, America Online is rolling out new instant messaging greetings features to its user base on Monday.

The Instant Greetings — kind of like greeting card animations and IM messages rolled into one — come on the heels of AOL’s exclusive concert of the band Staind for broadband users that the ISP is Webcasting on Saturday.

The concert, which will be available for streaming later, does not only promote exclusive content to broadband subscribers; it also helps the band Staind promote its new CD, “14 Shades of Grey” which is slated to hit stores Monday.

The promotions signal how AOL is using its medium to market subscriptions for its high-speed service via exclusive content and bundled services such as firewall protection, as well as to market new features to its dial-up base at the same time.

The free “Instant Greetings” are available to both dial-up and broadband users and in over 150 themes, such as “Love and Caring,” “Inspiration” or “Just Because.” One greeting for stressed-out office workers features a farm scene with a tornado spinning across the receiver’s screen, along with a cow spinning by. The sender can send a personalized message at the close of the short feature, such as “remember, just 12 more days till vacation.”

AOL is clearly capitalizing on its research that shows AOL audiences alone send nearly two billion instant messages every day, and share more than two million online greetings each month.

AOL Broadband, meanwhile, is building on the response it received from a prior live event by the band the Foo Fighters which was Webcast on May 1st. AOL marketing executives said the show sparked more than 350,000 streams in the first 48 hours after the program.

“Artists and the music industry at large have embraced AOL Music and AOL for Broadband as a valuable marketing and promotion partner to debut music, offer intimate performances and broadcast live concerts to millions of fans around the world,” said Bill Wilson, General Manager, AOL Music.

Anyone using the AOL Instant Messaging client can receive the instant greetings. But only AOL members can send one.

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