Here's a bio from a conference he attended:
VP and GM of AOL Community Programming, AOL
As Vice President and General Manager of Community Programming for America Online, Bill Schreiner spearheads new programming experiences for such core AOL products as journals (blogs), chats, message boards, social networking, groups, home pages and more.
Schreiner began his career at AOL in 1996 as "CEO of Love" for his work on Love@AOL, which he developed into the largest romance and personals site on the web. With the acquisition of MapQuest in 2000, he became Vice President of Product and Programming for MapQuest and led the redesign and growth of the MapQuest.com site, expanding traffic from 8 million to more than 16 million unique visitors per month. More recently, Schreiner served as head of Product Strategy for AOL Entertainment while overseeing the creation and launch of AOL TICKETS.
FOLKS? How patronizing. Let's have some respect. "Dear Members of the AOL Journals Community."
Joe has told you that the senior executives here at AOL have been listening to your opinions and comments about the addition of ads on AOL Journals.
Are you going to start saying things like, "We feel your pain"?
I'm stopping by Magic Smoke to let you know he's been straight with you on that point.
You mean he was lying about other stuff?
I'm not here to report that we're changing our strategy on the ads.
You're here to put lipstick on this pig.
The ads are staying for the foreseeable future.
Na na na na na.
Advertising is an important part of how we make money, and we're not ashamed of that.
Translation: Paid AOL memberships used to be the way we made money, but we've lost over 600,000 members in the last three months and we're kind of ashamed of that. So now we think the ad banners can save our ass. And we don't care who gets in our way.
I'll admit we'd all love a “do-over” when it comes to how this was communicated.
Where is "do-over" located in the MBA handbook of marketing communication?
On that score, the best we can do now is to work harder at making sure big changes don't occur again without proper communication.
The problem is that AOL is so out of touch with us, you wouldn't know a BIG CHANGE if it bit you on the butt. You didn't think we'd notice the ads, did you? It never occurred to you that they might annoy us. You probably didn't even realize that adding them to our journals would be considered a BIG CHANGE. Now, after missing this BIG CHANGE, how do you plan to recognize the next BIG CHANGE so you can be sure you properly communicate the exact way you're going to be messing with us?
We've learned a lot in the last two weeks... so thank you for your comments here and in email. We've heard loud and clear that you are passionate about what you write about in your blogs.
We are passionate about getting rid of the ad banners. Have any AOL exec types actually read any of the AOL journals? Or do you have people who do that for you?
Some of you are convinced that the addition of ads destroys that experience. I am less certain of that.
Can you say CA-CHING?
I can't reconcile it with the fact that we have wonderful, passionate communities thriving in ad-supported pages in message boards, Groups, Chat, Hometown, Email, AIM... really across the entire network both inside the paid serviceand out.
Whoa. Hold it, AOL Love-Boy. You're talking apples and oranges. Comparing those places with AOL Journals is like comparing a dank, urine drenched waiting room of a bus station filled with an odd mix of people to a well-appointed living room in a private home.
You expect ads all over the grimy walls of a Greyhound terminal. You do not expect neon signs blinking in the privacy of your home when friends stop by.
Just like you, we don't all see eye-to-eye on this internally. That's understandable.
You just rammed the ad banners down everyone's throats?
Since AOL Journals had no ads for so long, I can understand why some believed that they never would.
There are those among us who feel this was a promise that was verbalized. Actually, logic would dictate a no ad policy. But this is AOL, so logic has nothing to do with policy.
Some of you have moved on because of this and that's understandable too. We're sorry this change has affected the way you feel about us. We thank you for the contribution you made while you were here. We will miss your words. We will miss your passion. If you've moved on to another blog provider, we hope you'll maintain the relationships you've made here. You'll always be welcome in J-Land no matter where you choose to blog.
Gag me. This is so smarmy I have to take a shower.
We've also learned how important the J-Land community is to the majority of you who have elected to stay.
The AOL journals community is arguably more important to those who left. Their passion, to use your word, is in direct proportion to their love of what we have created here versus what you have done to denigrate it. Some of us have one foot out the door, but are staying to continue the fight. Of course, you'll find a way to make us want to leave for good, too. This letter is a nice start.
You are important to this community and to us, and we appreciate the understanding and support that you've shown.
How are you going to show it?
A special thanks to all the folks who have thrown a virtual hug around Joe here at Magic Smoke and in email.
Haaaaaaaaaa. Does anyone else find this amusing? I feel sorry for the guy. But no hugging, please. He was sent by upper management with bailing wire and pliers to deal with growing journal issues. Thanks to you he now has an insurgency that threatens to sink his little boat. Even though he's made you show your face to take the heat off, he's still a corporate lackey.
Thank you for putting this bump in the road in your rearview mirror. We're excited about moving on as well.
YOU have put this behind you. YOU are moving on.
Careful, that bump has spikes.
I've asked the team to double down and speed up the delivery of some new features you've requested.
Power corrupts. Absolute power makes for long weekends.
They are eager to get to it.
Some of my favorites that are coming before the end of the year:
Oh good, more bizarro features to screw up our journals. I see none of the ones we've been asking for, repeatedly, made the list. Spellcheck anyone?
Buddy List Rostering: instantly set your Buddy List as the "roster" for your private Journal - changes to your Buddy List will update the roster automatically.
Blog This: a new feature that allows easycreation of new journals and blog entries that link back to other posts.
Partner Ping: makes it easier for 3rd party indexers such as Feedster, Technorati, BlogPulse, PubSub, Google and others to receive updates to your Journals. This will make your blog easier to find.
Early in 2006, we're working on mobile blogging, online presence, skinning, shared journals and other features that you've mentioned in the past. We would love tohear from you about which of these features you think you'd use the mostand why.
Mobile blogging, online presence, skinning -- these sound like features your techs want. Have you checked the demographics of the typical journaler?
Thanks, For what? Being powerless to remove you?
Bill Schreiner, VP AOL Community Programming.
Email me at: CommProgramming@aol.com