America Online (AOL) unleashed a new content delivery service Thursday dubbed AOL Alerts, which sends customized information to members via e-mail and AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) as well as over mobile and handheld devices.
AOL members can receive alerts on news, sports, weather, and stocks, which can be customized to include information on specific subjects and with geographical preferences. The alerts also offer customized delivery options, allowing members to turn the service on and off at will, or select times when they do not wish to receive the notifications.
AOL spokeswoman Kathie Brockman said that the information offered on AOL Alerts represents some of the most popular categories cited by AOL members. The new service is part of the company's AOL Anywhere strategy, which seeks to offer AOL members personalized information at anytime, through a variety of methods.
Although the service is free, members choosing to receive AOL Alerts via mobile devices should contact their service providers for fees associated with text delivery, Brockman said.
AOL Alerts is available on AOL version 5.0 and higher, and AIM users who are not AOL Internet service members can also use the new service.
Personalized information was the focus of AOL's 7.0 release last October, Brockman noted. AOL 7.0 offers a variety of new bells and whistles, including a built-in Internet radio service and digital picture features.
Earlier this week, AOL announced that it had over 33.2 million members. The company is looking to grow this number by rolling a number of new features which put user preferences in the spotlight.