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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.
Many greeted the announcement with bewilderment, with some suggesting that Oath sounded like the name of a heavy metal band.
Others compared it to Tronc, last year’s largely panned rebrand of Tribune Publishing, the company behind The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times and several other major daily newspapers.
TechCrunch, the Silicon Valley news site, summed up the general confusion in the headline of a post about the announcement: “Yahoo + AOL = Oath, for some reason,” it read.
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