Doublespeak of the Week: AOL “Highlights” Declines in Revenue

Nicholas Carlson wants you to know the full extent to which doublespeak is used by AOL. To that end, he’s reprinted a chart that AOL drew up for their recent earnings call. The chart is titled, in big, bold letters, “AOL Highlights”. This gets funnier, I promise.

The total number of subscribers was down, total revenue was down, and of course, total profit was down. But that didn’t stop AOL from trying to make things look good, at least to the average layperson. It’s hard to absorb what lengths AOL went to to obscure the facts without seeing the chart, so here it is:

AOL earnings call figures, Nov. 2009

To anyone who saw the chart without hearing the earnings call, it might look like AOL had a banner year: there are no negative numbers, and growth appears to be up in all categories.

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