In May of 2021 Verizon sold AOL and Yahoo mail to a private equity firm called Apollo Global Management.
Apollo Global Management, specializes in investments in credit, private equity and real estate markets. Purchasing AOL and Yahoo for marketing purposes supports their interests.
This is a relatively new purchase, I would expect more and more advertising from AOL.
As with other free email, AOL now offers AOL GOLD as a paid for service. This is the ONLY way to get customer service from AOL. If you get locked out of your free email, you will need to pay for AOL GOLD in order to qualify for any type of assistance. When we have to deal with AOL issues, it’s always a relief if the customer has AOL Gold. It’s an insurance policy against disaster for sure! And of course, always have a recovery email, cell phone and 2FA on your accounts!
Yahoo is now owned by Apollo and also has a paid for solution called Yahoo Mail Plus. This is $5.00 per month. It is advertised as ad free with additional security features. Just having customer support if your account is hijacked is worth the price. You also get less ads and tracking so that is a side bonus.