That was largely the reaction on Monday to the news that Verizon plans to house two giants of the early days of the internet, AOL and Yahoo, under the new name Oath.
Tim Armstrong, the head of Verizon’s AOL division, announced Oath in a Twitter post on Monday afternoon: “Billion+ Consumers, 20+ Brands, Unstoppable Team. #TakeTheOath. Summer 2017.”
The brand will apply to the digital media division of Verizon after it buys Yahoo’s internet assets for $4.48 billion, a deal that is expected to close by the end of June. But do not count the legacy brands out just yet: Yahoo, AOL and The Huffington Post will continue to exist and operate with their own names — under the Oath umbrella.
Verizon has said that much of Yahoo’s value lies in its deep relationship with its customers, and services like Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Sports engender deep loyalty among users. Similarly, AOL.com and AOL Mail still have followings.
But Oath will be a way for Verizon to present its family of digital content services to advertisers and other partners as a single entity. The company could also develop some new services under the Oath brand.
Oath is a values-led company, committed to building brands people love.
By definition, an Oath is a commitment. The name reflects who we are, what we stand for, and the promises we make to each other, our consumers, our customers and our partners.
Oath’s values are shared commitments that unite our global community of technologists, storytellers, journalists, videographers, creators and data scientists.
Why brands? Brands connect with people across devices and span digital to physical worlds; Brands are trusted and safe; Brands drive innovation; Brand love spans generations; People read, watch, buy, share and refer the brands they love’ Brands drive conversation, create change and start cultural movements; Brands make our lives better. Brands change the world.
I added the emphasis on those last two sentences. A spokesperson said :
“more to come this summer” when “the fun really begins” and “when we officially launch Oath.”
Many greeted the announcement with bewilderment, with some suggesting that Oath sounded like the name of a heavy metal band.