No, it’s not a late April Fool’s day joke, Verizon intend to combine Yahoo and AOL into a new company and call it ‘Oath.’
The news comes as Verizon completes its $4 billion plus takeover of Yahoo. ‘Oath’ was announced by AOL boss Tim Armstrong, Tuesday, ahead of a planned massive publicity campaign. While it’s not exactly the catchiest name going, Armstrong at least, seems somewhat taken with it.
“Billion+ Consumers, 20+ Brands, Unstoppable Team. #TakeTheOath. Summer 2017,” tweeted Armstrong. Quite what taking ‘the oath’ means however, is anyone’s guess.
AOL also released a statement that reads: “You can bet we will be launching one of the most disruptive brand companies in digital.’ But that’s all anyone seems to know right now. In the absence of further information, #TakeTheOath has gone viral, but not perhaps in the way that whoever came up with ‘Oath,’ wanted. Rather than creating a hype bubble of expectation, it has instead created a wave of Twitter and internet derision.
Industry commentators are also speculating that Oath might not have been thought all the way through. Oath.com for instance, at the time of writing, remained unregistered as a domain name…
That said, the reason for Armstrong’s seemingly random tweet became clear as Tuesday turned into Wednesday. The name ‘Oath’ had been leaked, and so the AOL chief attempted to jump the gun by releasing the name several months before the Verizon stable of tech companies was ready. The fact that Yahoo currently holds the record for the largest hack in recorded history, and a litany of other security failures probably doesn’t herald itself as a good omen for the new brand.
It’s also not quite apparent what Oath is supposed to be. According to some reports, nothing will change and all 20 brands being consolidated under the Oath name, will remain as they are.
In a later statement on its website, AOL said that the company “wanted a name that was values led.” It also talked about values everyone shares as being fundamental to the new Oath brand.
There were probably also mentions of ‘global community,’ driving cultural change, and the starting of conversations; probably on a global scale moving in synergy with values we all share on a global level that seek to challenge us and our commitments by starting a conversation on a global scale with values we all share… I mean I don’t know if that’s how it finished, I’m just guessing. I’d sort of lost interest by then, and stopped reading. But if you after a lesson in how say nothing while saying lots of things, it’s probably a great learning experience.
Update: I just read the rest of the AOL statement because my editor insisted I do so. It’s pretty much what I said it would be. Kind of.
Anyway, we can all expect more from ‘Oath’ when the summer comes. I can’t wait.