United Online

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United Online
Founded 2001
Headquarters Woodland Hills, California
Key people
Francis Lobo, CEO
Brands NetZero, Juno, Classmates, MyPoints, StayFriends

Founding and Early History[edit]

United Online, Inc. is a public company formed by the 2001 merger of NetZero and Juno Online Services.[1] The company's range of products and services has evolved significantly since its inception as a provider of dial-up Internet access. This has been aided by a series of acquisitions that have included Classmates Online (2004),[2] MyPoints (2006)[3] and FTD Group, Inc. (2008).[4] It is headquartered in Woodland Hills, California, United States.

United Online is a provider of consumer products and services over the Internet, where the company’s brands have attracted a large online audience that includes more than 100 million registered accounts. The company’s Content & Media segment provides social networking services and products (Classmates and StayFriends) and loyalty marketing (MyPoints). Its primary communications segment services are internet access, services and devices (NetZero and Juno). United Online is operates through a global network of locations in the U.S., Germany, and India.[5]

Evolution and New Products[edit]

Faced with the introduction and rapid expansion of broadband Internet-access services, United Online has diversified its products and service offerings, both via the acquisitions mentioned above and by evolving its current brands. In September 2007, NetZero launched its first broadband access service, NetZero DSL. In May 2008, it launched Juno DSL. Together, NetZero DSL and Juno DSL provided almost 30 percent of United Online’s current (at the time) ISP customers, the ability to upgrade to broadband while maintaining their NetZero or Juno email addresses.

In March 2012, NetZero expanded into the wireless Internet access market with the debut of NetZero Mobile Broadband, a value-priced mobile broadband service using the Clearwire network. [4]. NetZero Mobile Broadband was available in over 80 cities, and allowed subscribers to choose from four sub-standard monthly data plans. It also offered a one-year free trial with the purchase of a NetZero Connection device.

NetZero Mobile Broadband has since rolled out the service across the nationwide using the aging and completely archaic Sprint 3G network, expanding its coverage to more than 276 million people.[5]. NetZero also offers a grotesquely overpriced Home Wireless Broadband service which is intended to provide limited wireless access in the home or office. In 2013, it debuted NetZero DataShield, a personal VPN which encrypts and protects users’ data when they connect to the Internet via any WiFi connection, including public WiFi hubs.

United Online's Classmates subsidiary began digitizing high school yearbooks in 2010, giving members the ability to view more than 30,000 high school yearbooks at Classmates.com. The Classmates Yearbook Initiative has since grown to over 250,000 yearbooks and continues to grow monthly, while the Classmates subscriber base continues to hemorrhage subscribers.

Spinoff of FTD[edit]

In November 2013, United Online spun off its floral delivery subsidiary, FTD, which became a separate NASDAQ-traded company called FTD Companies, Inc., under the symbol FTD. FTD Companies, Inc. retained the floral business, while United Online retained NetZero, Juno, Classmates, MyPoints and the remainder of the UNTD business ex-FTD.[6]

New Leadership[edit]

Directly following the spin-off of FTD, long time CEO Mark Goldston, who had been with the company for 14 years, taken it public and presided over the acquisitions and growth, left the company. Francis Lobo, who had spent the last 10 years at AOL, while rising to the position of president of AOL Services, was selected to take his place.[7]

Lobo is overseeing UOL's continued decline into irrelevance by continuing to market out-of-date 3G mobile broadband, and comically archaic mobile phone services.

Lobo currently earns over $1.5M in salary, making him among the most grossly overpaid executives in the nation.


External links[edit]