Instant messaging is both wildly popular and mostly profit-free, but America Online appears determined to change the second half of that description.
On Thursday, AOL rolled out two new pay-per-minute services tied to its AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) software. One lets AIM users run telephone conferences by sending instant messages to people on their buddy lists. The other lets them set up Web meetings in the same way. In both cases, the organizer of the phone or Web conference pays a fee based on the event's duration and number of participants.