AOL and Yahoo Are Merging into a Company Called Oath, and It’s About To Confuse Your Grandparents


Later this summer, Verizon ($VZ) will complete their acquisition of Yahoo ($YHOOfor a few billion dollars. Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo who was hired to turn the company around (and totally didn’t), will likely exit the company a few million dollars richer. Verizon, which is mostly a phone and internet services company, plans on merging Yahoo with AOL after the acquisition is sealed to consolidate their media brands.

Today, word got out that this soon-to-be-merged company has a new, underwhelming name. As verified by AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, the AOL/Yahoo chimera will be called Tronc Oath. While the story behind the company’s name has yet to be spelled out in a multi-million-dollar press campaign, one could assume that it stems from Yahoo’s oath to not have their millions of user accounts hacked again.

The Oath brand will likely merge the existing properties under Yahoo and AOL and avoid redundancies between divisions. For instance, Yahoo has an immensely popular finance site, while AOL’s finance site is not as trafficked. This will likely mean layoffs in instances of overlapping positions, something that would please the company and its shareholders due to the potential for cost-cutting.

What is uncertain, however, is whether the AOL and Yahoo names will be abandoned outright. Though you might have stopped using them fifteen years ago, AOL, Yahoo, and their respective sub-brands (AOL Mail, Yahoo Finance, Tumblr, etc.) have incredibly brand recognition. This is particularly true for older generations, who’ve stuck with both sites for their email and news despite your attempts to get them to switch to Gmail. By getting rid of AOL and Yahoo branding completely, Verizon would confuse millions of users, potentially causing them to leave their services en masse.

That’s why the Oath name is confusing. Is it the parent company of AOL and Yahoo, or is it AOL and Yahoo? Will both companies’ news divisions report on Verizon’s lobbying and anti-net neutrality developments, or would those stories somehow fall down a memory hole?

One thing is certain: get ready to see a whole lot of ads for Oath…and get asked a whole lot of questions from family members in the process.


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