AOL… Disconnecting… Goodbye!

AObloatage notwithstanding, it would be remiss to end this week/month of fun without linking to the August ’05 agreements AOL made with future NY governor Spitzer regarding revising the ISP’s niggardly retention tactics.

The first is a press release whose title says it all, “AOL TO REFORM CUSTOMER SERVICE PROCEDURES: Settlement Requires Company to Remove Obstacles Consumers Face When Seeking to Switch or Cancel Service.” The second is the official “assurance of discontinuance” laying out AOL’s malfeasance in stark detail. Both make for fun reads, and an underline to the definition of hypocrisy.

It’s obvious that AOL didn’t take their promises to heart and found the $1.25 Million spanking bearable, if not pleasurable. Publicly shamed in their inability and/or unwillingness to comply with the Spitzer accord, AOL plans to accelerate the sublimation of substantial aspects of its service–email, IM and unique content–into various free, online shards which can then be accessed by users of other ISPs. Apparently, hoping to become as good as Yahoo.

In so doing, a chapter closes in American business history, and the 90’s will finally be over.