Even before the roaring 2000’s ravaged AOL’s subscriber base like colectomy through Denny’s, the ISP was catching flack over its retention policies, as noted in an article from the golden-tinged yesteryears of 1998.
AOLWatch’s David Cassel certainly stirs up the nostalgia: “Many cancelling subscribers complain annoying software updates seize their system when they’re trying to exit AOL. One service rep says there’s a dirty secret behind the downloads. Though the updates are mandatory, “some of the ‘downloads’ from AOL are artwork for pop-up ads.” These non-consensual “upgrades” prevent users from leaving the system until AOL has downloaded ads to their hard drive… “
The piece has another tasty nugget from the curb of memory lane. Before retention consultants, AOL actually let people cancel their accounts online. When the Wall Street Journal asked AOL’s VP of Members Services in 1997 for why the change, he said it was because AOL found, “our cancellation rate was going up considerably.”
Every nine seconds, an AOL user cancels their account. Do you know where your internet is?
“Integrity” [AOL Watch]