Good Lord, who the heck wants AOL? Don't you realize just how much of a friggin' joke
and a rip-off
AOL is? To paraphrase the late Mr. Fred Rogers, can you say
? Good. I knew you could.
Sorry if I sound a little condescending there, but I would most definitely think twice about AOL if I were you, because they are nothing but bad news
, and I'll tell you why:
1) Last I knew, they charged something like $23.95 a month, yet you still don't get anywhere near as good a quality of service with AOL as you do with most other Internet service providers, which charge $4 or $5 per month less than AOL does, and with better-quality service.
2) Even with the $23.95 monthly rate, you're still bombarded with loads of popup ads everywhere, and I mean loads
of them. But if you were using another Internet provider, you wouldn't be bombarded with them except on certain Websites that use them extensively in order to make money.
3) They have this dumb little timer in the software that, asks you if you would still like to stay connected after 45 minutes. If you don't respond within 10 minutes, you will be disconnected from the service. Also, if you're playing a game or something, you won't even see the popup timer because AOL deliberately places it under
whatever other windows you may have open. Ergo, if you're thinking you'd like to download a huge file while you go out for a walk or a snack or go run an errand or something, AOL will have disconnected by the time you get back to your place and the huge download ain't gonna happen.
4) The software that you have to use to access AOL in and of itself is a piece of crap, too. It's very
buggy and can even do irreparable damage to your system in some circumstances.
5) The stock browser that comes with AOL is a piece of crap as well. It downloads pages very slowly and converts the standard .GIF and .JPG files to its own proprietary .ART format, which quite frankly makes just about any image you can think of look like absolute crap
. You can, however, configure either Internet Explorer or Netscape for use with AOL, although that takes some doing and is probably beyond the capabilities of the average AOL user.
6) If you decide to cancel AOL, there are three things to beware of: 6a) AOL staff members will do everything they can to try to get you to stay with AOL, and they are very hesitant to take no for an answer. 6b) There have been many, many
cases of people who were once members of AOL who decided to cancel the service whose credit cards continued to be billed for for months, maybe even a year or more after cancelling their AOL account -- even if they went through the proper channels to cancel their account! 6c) Whenever you uninstall the AOL software from your system, that should be the last of AOL on your system, right? Wrong -- whenver the AOL software is uninstalled, they leave behind files that will interfere with Windows' Dial-Up Networking and make it impossible for you to connect to any ISP that uses DUN.
7) Given how AOL very recklessly markets to everyone, and I mean everyone
, there's no telling just what kinds of characters you are going to get on AOL. For example, remember those "Internet abductions" from several years ago? Well, AOL so successfully dupes people into believing that they are the Internet that that's what such abductions came to be known as. The fact is, over 90% of those so-called Internet abductions took place as a result of communication between two AOL members -- the Internet wasn't even involved in those cases! Granted, most people on AOL are decent, law-abiding citizens, but it's pedophiles and people like that that give AOL a bad name, and I for one do not wish to be associated with such creeps and perverts. What's more, AOL routinely looks the other way whenever such accusations involve one of their customers and refuses to assist law enforcement officials in such cases, all because they're concerned with their $$$ and nothing else.
8) Security is practically nonexistent on AOL, as it is reported to be very easy to hack into AOL and log in as someone else, even as an AOL staff member, of all things! Not to mention, AOL's Web site has been the target of many, many
hacks and defacings.
9) Censorship is rampant on AOL -- there is no telling at all what AOL's "guides" will nail you with a Terms of Service (TOS) violation for. For instance, members have been known to receive TOS violations just for saying "pee", for mentioning Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, for mentioning fen-phen, and no telling what else -- in chat sessions on AOL, you're purely at the mercy of those guides, and there's no telling at all just what they'll nail you for.
10) AOL would like for you to believe that there are many things that you can get only through their service. The truth is, there's nothing at all that you can find on AOL that you can't find on the Internet, which makes for no reason at all to have AOL.
11) Their network problems are notorious as well. For example, when sending or receiving E-mail between an AOL account and an outside Internet E-mail address, it will usually take, at best, maybe a few minutes for the E-mail to go through, and sometimes it may take a matter of days, maybe even a week or two for it to reach its destination -- and sometimes it doesn't even reach its destination at all. With most Internet providers, an E-mail exchange usually takes place in only a matter of seconds, even if it's to halfway around the world. Also, on AOL, E-mail to outside addresses frequently bounces for no reason at all, and the error message AOL will give you will try to pass the buck and blame the other person's Internet provider. This is because AOL likes to blind
their own people to the truth.
Now, after all that, are you sure
you want AOL? If not, I would start looking for a local or regional Internet service provider if I were you. I for one have been an advocate of local or regional providers for the past 7 years now and have been fairly happy with most of them. Some places to look for a much better-quality Internet provider include http://www.thelist.com
, and http://www.findanisp.com
, and you might also try your local Yellow Pages as well, under "Internet", although I have known some to be classified under "Computers" as well.
Now that you know the truth about AOL (and I speak from experience on some of the above AOL pitfalls), it is my hope that you would heed the above warnings. If you still wish to use AOL, that's your decision, but don't say I didn't warn you about the numerous problems AOL has!