News.com heeft een artikeltje gepost over AOL, die naar wegen zoekt om geld te verdienen met ICQ. Op zich is dat erg logisch, alleen het vinden van een goede 'cash-cow' is wat moeilijker. Eén van de mogelijkheden is 'opt-in marketing':
But Leonsis said the real revenue driver is waiting in the wings: opt-in direct marketing. While not formally unveiled, the idea is to have ICQ users develop a one-to-one communications channel with e-commerce vendors or other services. For example, if a user wants to know when Amazon has a book sale, the company can notify the ICQ user through a buddy list message.
"You could envision on your buddy list your banker, stock broker, or travel agent," said Leonsis. "This would be a very convenient way to communicate with them."
Using opt-in marketing is widely accepted by privacy advocates and industry analysts as a positive way to market to Web users. Instead of sending out spam, or mass unsolicited emails that peddle goods and services, users can choose whether they want to receive offers from vendors.
"As long as they approach it as an opt-in option, they'll get the best response from consumers," said Ray Everett-Church, counsel for the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email.
Whether these models yield dollars will depend on the ICQ user. There has been little indication of what the user wants and whether the user wants to buy.