Every so often, we like to check in with AOL, our ’90s onramp to the information superhighway that somehow still exists and has been working to remake itself as a media company. While sites like the Huffington Post and TechCrunch bring hundreds of millions of people to ad-supported stories and videos, AOL still makes tens of millions of dollars from their classic business model of collecting subscription fees for Internet access. [More]
For most of our readers, AOL is is a distant memory: you probably still have an Instant Messenger account around somewhere, and your favorite aunt uses it for e-mail. Oh, and you think that they might own some sites you visit sometimes, like Joystiq and TechCrunch. However, even as it works hard at becoming a content company, AOL still earns a lot of money from selling Internet service to people, including dialup. [More]
AOL says that the company is investigating the recent torrent of junk mail that appeared to come from its customers, and unauthorized access to customers’ accounts by unknown baddies. While the good news is that customers’ payment information wasn’t breached, it’s still bad that their address books, passwords, answers to security questions, and their addresses may have been. [More]
If you had a pulse and/or a mailbox in the ’90s, you received some AOL disks in the mail. They promoted a free trial, but everyone knows their real purpose: to have their labels peeled off and to be used for file storage. AOL eventually switched to read-only CDs, then switched to total irrelevance. But their familiar promotional tactic is back: adopted by tax preparers H&R Block to distribute their income tax software. [More]
A New Yorker profile this week details how 80% of AOL’s revenue comes from subscriptions, and, according to an ex-AOL exec, 75% of those users are people who subscribe to the dial-up service and don’t need. Basically we’re talking about folks who have another kind of ISP and don’t realize that you don’t need to pay AOL anymore if you’re just using it for email. The group can be further divided into two sub-groups, the old, and the lazy. Here’s a step-by-step process for canceling AOL and saving some cash while still keeping access to your AOL email account. [More]
Jim wants his AOL e-mail account to go away. It’s a free account, so billing isn’t an issue–he just wants it closed. This seems like a relatively straightforward request to anyone except AOL. He writes that the company somehow makes it impossible to cancel a free account. [More]
Close to severing ties with Time Warner and fresh off announcing that they plan to cull almost a third of their work force by the end of the year, AOL has debuted–why not?–a new logo and branding campaign. The new logo has a variety of backgrounds, but always the new name in a sans-serif font: “Aol.” Yes, with the period. [More]
Is AOL ripping off your mom? …or stepdad, or aunt, or neighbor? Mainstreet.com gets to the bottom of why AOL continues to charge many, many not-terribly-Internet-savvy customers for their AOL e-mail accounts. You know, the same AOL accounts that are actually offered for free and have been since 2006. [MainStreet]
Our reader Jennifer isn’t the only former Time Warner employee whose AOL account has risen from the dead, prompting collection notices and confusion. Wall Street Journal investing columnist Jason Zweig, a former Time Warner employee, found himself in precisely the same situation, and wrote about his epic customer service adventure.
Jennifer, like many people, one subscribed to AOL. She paid for the service originally, then received a free account while employed with Time Warner. Then she joined the 21st century and didn’t use AOL at all, but her free account remained in the system. Until AOL started billing her. Nine years later.
Apart from the quite adequate assortment of calculators, it’s all a big heap of plain-Jane articles slotted into categories by simple tags.
A man who spammed 1.2 million AOL customers was sentenced to 30 months in prison yesterday. Now how will we ever find out how to make bigger p3nz? Oh wait, here comes another spam… [CNN Money]
AOL is STILL trying to extort money from people who canceled their account. STILL STILL STILL. [KUTV]
Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of Vincent Ferrari’s famous “Cancel The Account” recording of his attempt to cancel AOL.
Vincent Ferrari uploaded his famous AOL cancellation call on June 13th, 2006. A screenshot from AOL’s internal database shows that 10 days later AOL revised its policy for what reps should do if a customer says they’re recording the phone call.
A former AOL employee laid down a diss rap on America Online and wants you all to hear it. Because it’s mad funny. It uses a sample of Vincent Ferrari saying “cancel the account.”
The Florida Attorney General successfully sued America Online for their abusive customer billing practices. The State’s Attorney office received over 1,000 consumer complaints about cancellation requests being ignored, erroneous charges and unauthorized account reactivations.
AOL apparently missed our post on how the Florida Attorney General is investigating FreeCreditReport.com.