Cancel Your AOL

Friday, September 19, 2003

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Have you ever tried to cancel your AOL Service? It's nearly impossible. The phone number to call is not offered on any AOL Website, and in fact many people have only found it by doing a google search. When you call, they will offer you free months to stay with them. Be strong! Be rude if you have to! They will not take "cancel" for an answer. Be firm, don't let them railroad you.

AOL Service Cancellation:

Why should you cancel your AOL Service? Grab a cup of coffee. This is going to take a while.

Updated Sept 2003

It's a bloodbath for AOL's stock after the Washington Post discovered "unconventional" bookkeeping for over $270 million. Within 24 hours a class action lawsuit had been filed and AOL's Chief Operating Officer had resigned. AOL's stock plummeted 9% in early trading, becoming the most-traded stock of the day -- and triggering a feeding frenzy in the business press.

The SEC will surely be all over this. The Feds can't be far behind.

And now Time Warner has divorced itself from the AOL name, stating "The name reminds people of a mistake," (Hal Vogel of Vogel Capital Management.)

The fact is that true netties hate AOL, and you should too.

Search for "aol sucks" on the internet, and you'll find more than 14,000 web pages. But why? AOL is the world's most successful online service, with more than 20m users relying on its user-friendly services. It's also a survivor which has been around, in its current incarnation, since 1985. AOL, indeed, has often played the role of underdog in the face of companies armed with new technology - technology which should really have rendered AOL obsolete. We're still praying.

AOL's public relations problem stems largely from its success at recruiting first-time users - a key market when the net population has grown, within the last five years, to encompass 45% of the US population and more than 28% of UK adults.

My problem with AOL is not just its ability to introduce legions of naive newbies to the net, but I am disgusted at the range of AOL policies, from its privacy rules to its customer service. Take into account their technological gaffes, and all-pervasive advertising, and it becomes nothing but a nuisance and a joke.

Take the technological side...when AOL first introduced the power to post to internet newsgroups, there was a bug in its software which meant every message was posted five times. It took them 10 months to fix this.

Also, its obscene-word filter software which prevents British users from saying they lived in Scunthorpe, (God, (because of the word "cunt" in the middle of it) and an incident in 1995 when women talking about breast cancer in AOL's chatrooms were told not to mention the "obscene" word "breast". Then there were the constant engaged tones when membership grew faster than the company could handle.

In one of many incidents which have led critics to question the company's attitude to freedom of speech, the American Civil Liberties Union expressed outrage last October over newspaper allegations that a gay AOL subscriber had been instructed to remove details of his sexual proclivities from his online member profile. Meanwhile, anti-racism groups have protested, the firm's policies banning hate speech have allegedly been insufficiently policed and frequently violated.

Unsolicited email, or "spam" - carrying advertisements for pornography, gambling and get-rich-quick schemes - is an internet-wide problem, but AOL subscribers get much more than their share. The firm has been passive/aggressive in pursuing "spammers" through the courts, but the scourge continues: two years ago, CNN - now an AOL bedfellow - reported that between 15% and 30% of the service's email traffic was unsolicited. Completely unacceptable.

Why in hell would you put up with this? And for the life of me, I can't figure out why you're paying $23.90 a month of internet service. That is unbelievable. You are paying for AOL to load your pc with spam and advertising. All that shit you get when you sign on? You're ok with that? Personally, I cannot BELIEVE people are paying $23.90 a month for internet service! What's WRONG with you?

AOL uses a system of "community leaders", volunteers who agree to welcome new users and police content online in return for free access to the service. The practice, condemned as Orwellian by free-speech activists, was the subject of a US lawsuit in May of 2000 filed by two former community leaders who alleged that the company's use of volunteers violated labor legislation. Disgruntled former leaders now share their woes at the website.

AOL Chat rooms are a joke. You can't even go into a Senior Citizens chat room, without being bombarded by immature assholes taking over the room with swearing, and talk of dicks, bitches and tits. Aren't you glad you pay so much for this privilege?

Has there ever been a worse browser? You might not know it, but you are missing out on a beautiful Internet when you are stuck with the AOL browser. It doesn't support so much that I can't list it here.

When my mom signs on to AOL her task bar says "loading images...83 to go". What?! Ridiculous! Then we she tries to sign offline, her computer is commandeered by AOL so they can load updates. They aren't loading updates, people! They are formatting your hard drive to make sure you are fully compliant with all their settings. They are making sure that everytime you click an HTM link, it opens in AOL. They are making sure you don't change any of your "mailto:" settings to a non-AOL email.

AOL's "free net access" trials - which require credit card details to be submitted so the company can charge users who decide to continue after the trial ends - are more trouble than they are worth. Some trial subscribers who follow online instructions to help them disconnect have found instructions to telephone the company and been plunged into a maze of unhelpful recorded messages. Cancellations sent by fax and mail have sometimes failed to take effect, and subscriptions have continued to be deducted for months.

Folks that try to get off AOL (bless their hearts) are barraged with pleas not to cancel. Once you get past that, you have continued billing problems. The average person has to contact AOL at least 3 times after discontinuing service to get them to stop billing!

If you have a website, did you know that your graphics are corrupted and might not even be showing up? That's because AOL has an option that compresses graphics the AOL way, and only other AOL users can see them if you save them like that. And the option is automatically on when you install AOL. They never tell you about it.
You are also going to miss out on other very cool effects, like a lot of java scripts, and Cascading Style Sheets.

Don't you think it's strange that every website you visit has to have a separate link for AOL users?
"Here's our lovely webiste..."
"Oh, you're on AOL? They don't want you to see this, so try clicking this link..but it probably won't work."

Don't you find that strange that you are paying 3 times as much as everyone else, and are only allowed to see the parts of the internet that AOL wants you to see?

So let me ask you...why are you using AOL?
It's easy? No it isn't. It's a lot more difficult than using a $9 a month ISP and Internet Explorer.
It's cheap? It's the most expensive ISP available.

Please verify anything I've mentioned here by doing your own research.

AOL is bad, very bad.

Cancel your service! 888-265-8008

posted by Nell 11:28 AM

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AOL is bad, very bad.


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