Incoming clusterfuck for AOL, the lumbering online media calcification that won't stop lumbering: a paid subscription for a bunch of boring services you can find somewhere else. It even has a silly name: "Gathr."
Gathr, which has been in a private testing period since early this year, bundles together offerings from companies such as Pandora, LivingSocial, and Amazon into one monthly subscription. At launch, AOL is offering a choice of six pre-bundled packages, ranging in price from $15 to $30 a month, with an option to customize bundles, as well.
Gathr pre-bundled packages are loosely organized around themes. The “4 Fun” package, for example, costs $20 a month and includes a subscription to Pandora One, the streaming music service’s ad-free option; promo codes for five free one-day DVD rentals from Redbox; a $25 gift card to Restaurant.com; and a $10 promo code for LivingSocial.
So, for $20 per month, you can get a Pandora subscription, five DVDs from the poor man's Netflix, a restaurant gift card, and a $10 credit at LivingSocial, a dying company. AllThingsD notes that magazine subscriptions will also be tossed into the mix, maybe along with old comic books Tim Armstrong finds in his basement and coupons he has in his wallet.
It's unfathomable this will appeal to anyone in appreciable numbers. If you want a Pandora subscription, you buy a Pandora subscription, and it won't come with a Restaurants.com gift card or an issue of Cosmo.
This is what it looks like when you've run out of ideas.