There is no AOL Classic home page. Again, there is no AOL Classic…

So. I want to know why people are still looking for something that went missing three years ago.

There is no AOL Classic home page! It died in 2011! I’ve seen people mourn the passing of loved ones for less time than you all are crying about an incredibly ugly missing home page design. You all are crying about this:

This design no longer exists.

Which, in 2011, AOL changed to this:

This design currently exists.

Seriously? Are you people really this shallow? Get over it! It’s a freaking home page. If I didn’t know any better I’d think AOL turned it into an endless video loop of Satan in various lewd poses threatening to off the entire human race and making your kids cry (which might be a tad more interesting, come to think of it).

OK, so it was obviously AOL’s most unpopular design switch-over, ever. I get it. Stop.

This is my blog. And I’d rather it get no visits, print it out, delete it, set fire to the printout, scatter the ashes across the Indian Ocean (take that, AOL India – they’d die because my blog is like one half of their total tech support services) and erase its memory from Google and the world wide web (yes, I can do that; it’s amazing all the things I can do) than read one more comment about how the AOL home page is “missing”, “doesn’t look right” or have one more person ask tell me to find it or else recreate it from my alleged memory of what it was like for you, because naturally everyone who reads this blog thinks I work for AOL (because I never wrote at least one post saying I don’t work for AOL – but you know, if I did work for AOL? I’d find all your IP addresses and make every existing version of AOL’s home page 404 on you just for pissing on about it so much). I don’t give a damn what it looked like. I don’t give damn that it’s gone. I don’t want your questions or visits or concerns. That’s not even why this blog exists. Go away.

It died in 2011. That’s all you or I or anyone needs to know.

Seriously, if it was up to those of you who visit, frantically search through and comment upon this blog just to look for the missing home page it would have been front page news on every major news outlet for the last three years running, and it would still be front page news right now, because none of you know the meaning of the word STOP. I’m surprised you folks don’t picket AOL headquarters, sign petitions to bring it back on, blow up Twitter and Instagram moaning and pissing about it, and write your congressman demanding its return.

Knowing this audience, now that I’ve suggested all that, at least some of you will do every one of those things, and hey, more power to you!

Rest assured, there is nothing else I can do, except keep repeating what I’ve already said: The AOL Classic home page is gone. Forever! And you really need to get over it.

Verizon Intends to Get Out of FiOS/Landline Business

A comment I received yesterday said, in part: “The lucky ones [implied: who subscribe to Verizon] that could afford fast dsl & then fios a long time ago don’t care about all this misery [implied: for AOL users] and that’s my hard luck”.

I thought how common it might be to believe (or to fear, depending upon your perspective) that Verizon buying AOL was done simply to fold AOL’s dial-up business into Verizon’s landline and cable services. There is also a perception that between AOL users and FiOS subscribers, the FiOS side will get the better end of the stick. Hey, not so fast.

I don’t spend a lot of time updating so I haven’t explained why I disagree, but here goes…I’m not saying anything new or uncovering any earthshaking secrets here, either, just aggregating well-known public information…make of it what you will.

Verizon is getting out of its copperline businesses. All of them. The company will focus strictly on making money from wireless. Don’t believe me? I don’t feel like writing a lot on this because it’s not a topic that does much for me, so let me quote from other media outlets and get on with my day…

Verizon decided to stop rolling out FiOS in 2010, with most of its infrastructure still unbuilt, to remain forever incomplete.

Just a few months before the AOL acquisition, Verizon dumped their existing wireline and FiOS businesses in three states – Florida, Texas and California – to concentrate on wireless.

Verizon gave New Jersey the shaft at a huge cost to its residents – $15 billion, to be exact – and will not expand FiOS as long-ago promised.

Verizon plans to be out of the cable and landline businesses within the next 10 years.

If I were an Verizon FiOS or landline customer, I’d be very, very worried.

I’ll keep the change, thanks.

What follows is pure editorial and I don’t mean to sound like sour grapes but I’ve gotta say it. There would be no Verizon buying AOL today without AOL’s remaining 2 million subscribers – because without those subscribers AOL would no longer exist. That’s right: if 2 million people had cancelled AOL in a more timely fashion you wouldn’t be reading this. Verizon probably would’ve bought Yahoo! because there’d be no AOL left to buy, and I’d be very happy because the sale to Verizon is shaping up to be a disaster.

But nooooo, AOL’s infamous retention schemes, among other problems, have resulted in them getting what they wanted, which was a way to finance their new ventures into selling ads and owning content producers such as TechCrunch, Huffington Post and Engadget – which resulted in me not getting what I wanted, which was for every last paying member of AOL to cancel their accounts.

This is the blog of someone who, 10 years ago, could not cancel a free trial of AOL so she started a blog about it. At the time, AOL had about 15 million subscribers. That is a lot. Thanks in part to blunders such as this can’t cancel fiasco, along with the fact that high speed broadband, DSL and phones and tablets with 3G, 4G and wifi connections actually do exist these days and can be rather affordable, AOL has shed about 13 million more people. For this I’m thankful. But not thankful enough, because 2 million of you have stuck around long enough to enable the disaster of Verizon buying AOL and I can’t get over why anyone would give AOL money if they didn’t absolutely have to. And almost none of you absolutely have to.

To get the “absolutely have to” part out of the way, yes, I understand that for a tiny percentage of subscribers, you have no choice. You live out in Appalachia or out on the prairie – or else you’re of the mindset that you’ve only ever used AOL and you kind of like it and you definitely don’t want to switch now. At least you’ve got something that works where you are, that you fully understand how to use. Great.

But for the rest of you, you probably have not been doing one of a few things, like checking your credit or debit card statements for unauthorized charges from AOL long after you thought you cancelled your dial-up service. Or else you’ve chosen not to cancel AOL, knowing they still bill you every month, because you think you need AOL to get online – but you really don’t, not if you already have a broadband or DSL connection coming into your home or business. And do you seriously think you need AOL for “back-up Internet”? Brilliant marketing ploy from a dying Internet giant, perhaps, but no, seriously, you don’t.

So Cancel AOL Already!!! OMG!!!

The remaining 2 million subscribers are – again – the only reason AOL makes money. If it was only a matter of AOL servicing remote areas or how everyone’s 90 year old grandma has used AOL since 1992 and can’t stop now, AOL would’ve gone out of business a long time ago. The 2 million remaining subscribers are the only thing keeping AOL afloat. And with AOL being sold to Verizon, these subscribers are financing a possible consumer privacy disaster, a serious threat to net neutrality, and a likely throttling of true editorial freedom. Maybe, if you’re a paying subscriber, you could think about what your money is financing before you pay AOL again.

Two million subscribers back in AOL’s heyday of having upwards of 25 million or more was – once upon a time – an acknowledged rounding error where the total amount of subscribers could be higher or lower by about that many people. No one knew for sure. But now that 2 million subscribers is all they’ve got, that’s one rounding error I’ll gladly keep the change on, thanks.

So folks, let’s get started…

Here’s a list of internet providers that are not AOL which provide dial-up. Here’s a list of providers that offer DSL. Here’s a list of broadband providers. Your task right now? Sign up with a provider that services your area, that you like the sound of and that you know you can easily afford. Once you’ve got that out of the way…here’s how to cancel AOL. Got that all done? Here’s how to get AOL’s stuff off of your computer.

Verizon AOL Portal up since Aug. 2013

In perhaps a small presage to the Verizon/AOL deal, Verizon has been running an AOL web portal for smartphone users since May 2013 (the first record of it was made on Aug.26th 2013; the cached page welcomes users “to the new Verizon Portal by AOL”).

Curious as to how this happened, I found an AOL press release which explains very little:

AOL To Offer Exclusive Mobile Web Portal To Verizon’s Smartphone Customers

(NEW YORK) May 6, 2013 – AOL (NYSE: AOL) announced today a content distribution partnership that will bring the portal to Verizon Wireless smartphones and certain tablets running the Android, Windows Mobile and RIM operating systems. It is the first time that AOL will be the exclusive provider of the VZW Home mobile web portal on smartphones and tablets for the nation’s largest wireless carrier.

Beginning this summer, existing and new Verizon Wireless customers will have the AOL portal bookmarked on their smart phones and tablets’ web browsers. The multi-device experience will feature the recently refreshed AOL homepage — with breaking news, weather and maps — as well as live streaming events and popular videos. Personalization features will allow users to customize news sources, categories and other tools to their needs.[…]

Everyone talks about how the allegedly false rumors of Verizon wanting to buy AOL were quickly hushed-up but in the long run quite true, but no one mentions they’ve partnered before to bring this co-branded portal about (which, strangely enough, uses Bing as its default search engine. This is strange because AOL normally uses a co-branded version of Google for search, but Bing seems to have some sort of an agreement with Verizon which might preclude AOL using their own search appliance).

Also little known to the teeming masses, Verizon’s FiOS once had a co-branded AOL home page which Verizon discontinued on Oct. 15, 2011, according to a Verizon Support page.

AOL Sale Might Not Go Through: Shop the Company/Lack of Fiduciary Duty

In other news around the AOL sale, there’s a very real chance it might not go through. While everyone (including myself) talks as though it’s a done deal (and Tim Armstrong has been said to be hoping to get it over with about a month from now) there are problems with how it was conducted. AOL did not shop itself around, accepting the first interested suitor to come along. (As I said on another blog, this could have been your local Stop ‘N Shop for all the difference it makes; AOL was not looking for “synergy” so much as “some money”, and Timmy stands to gain a lot of it from this sale – $180 million in stock options alone, to be exact).

Another problem as seen by several attorneys, including a former Attorney General of Louisiana, is that AOL has potentially valued itself, at $50 per share, a bit too low. There are quite a few attorneys investigating that possibility.

Update, 6-5-15: Perhaps realizing that “not shopping itself around” could stop Verizon’s acquisition of AOL, AOL has done a regulatory filing which claims the company recently had three other suitors – but suspiciously enough, the filing does not name them, referring to them only as Company A, Company B, and Company C, and none of the suitors seemed interested in a full-on acquisition of AOL, instead pondering buying AOL assets in more piecemeal fashion. Which still might not be sufficient to fulfill regulatory requirements that AOL – the entire company – be shopped around before selling itself to Verizon.

I had a dream the other day that I updated this thing…(then Verizon bought AOL)

…with a how-to. It was a great how-to. I can’t remember what I was how-to-ing about but it went over very well, and I remember re-reading it and thinking wow, that is great. Maybe I should write more crap like this.

Then, of course, I woke up.

I started thinking, what the heck would I update Anti-AOL with now? Wrote my how-tos. That’s been done.

So I went online today and was reading something else entirely (no, you guys really don’t want to know what it was) when I caught a headline that read: “Verizon Buys AOL“. And I went, “Wait: WHUT???”

Then I recalled my dream.

So here’s your update. It’s not quite what I dreamt about, but, oh well.

Being Marah Marie, Girl Reporter, I would like to know (and might very well contact Verizon to inquire – which yes, will result in another update, may the Lord have mercy upon us all) if this deal involves any upcoming changes in service or software for AOL’s 2.2 million remaining subscribers (a more meticulous breakdown of the numbers can be found in AOL’s May 8th earnings report), but other than that there’s not much here to get excited about…AOL will get to keep their Anti-AOL-infamous NY headquarters, Timmy will get to keep his job and …yeah, folks, that’s about it. *sigh*

Any thoughts on the Verizon deal?

How Google’s New Privacy Policy Will Affect You While You Use AOL

Yesterday on my other blog I asked readers an odd question: “How will Google’s new all-in-one privacy policy affect people who use AOL’s search engine, since it’s “enhanced by Google”?” It’s a question no one’s asked – nor answered before. Without waiting for a response, I fired off two emails: one to AOL’s Privacy Team, the other to Google’s*. My email to AOL is as follows:

To whom it may concern,

I run an informational blog about AOL and am politely requesting an official response to the question, “How does Google’s new privacy policy affect users of AOL’s Google-enhanced search?” Are AOL users (especially those signed into AOL when they perform searches) subjected to Google’s new one-for-all privacy policy, which went into effect on March 1, 2012 and is described by Google here:

If so, in what ways exactly are AOL users affected by Google’s policy changes?

Specifically, if an AOL user signs into AOL, for example, with the handle while also signed into Google as, for example,, then conducts searches on AOL’s search engine, does Google collect information on’s searches and tie them to’s account?

Any and all information you can impart on this important topic is appreciated. Thanks in advance for your time in this matter.

Ms. M. Marie

And this is how AOL responded (with added emphasis my own):

Dear Ms. Marie,

Thank you for your inquiry about how AOL Search enhanced by Google may be impacted by Google’s privacy policy update. Currently, users who visit AOL owned and operated properties or use AOL products (such as AIM, Winamp, AOL Editions, etc.) are not affected by Google’s recent privacy changes, as AOL does not share individual user data with Google. Searches performed through AOL Search are transmitted to Google through an AOL-managed proxy. During this process, unique identifiers (including personally-identifiable information, cookie IDs, AOL usernames, email addresses, full IP addresses, etc.) are removed by the proxy before being submitted to the Google search API. AOL users that choose to consume Google products (e.g. Gmail, Google Toolbar, Google Maps, etc.) while connected to the Internet via the AOL software will be affected by Google’s privacy changes – just as they would be with any other Internet Service Provider.

We are committed to continuing to work closely with Google to ensure we are providing transparency to users of AOL Search. As AOL continues to innovate and develop new products and features, including functionalities from other service providers, we are committed to providing appropriate information and options to our users. Please visit for the most up to date information and options for the treatment of your AOL information.

Should you have further questions regarding AOL’s collection and use of information, please feel free to contact us at this email address [].

AOL Privacy Team

In plain English, I think what AOL means is: it doesn’t matter if you’re signed into AOL or Google (or both) when you use AOL search, because all data transmitted by AOL to Google 1) goes through AOL’s proxy servers first, which strips out most of your IP address (and stripping out your IP address, folks, is good, because Google also collects info on you based solely on the IP address you search and use Google on, without even signing in!) and 2) your data is so anonymized by the time it gets from AOL’s proxy servers back to Google’s machines that no one at Google could reliably tie it to your AOL or Google account, anyway.

So now you know that using AOL Search (“enhanced by Google!”) is nearly as good at protecting you from Google’s new privacy policy – which is seen by vast swaths of the Internet as highly intrusive and not privacy-enhancing at all – as searching Google without signing in using any proxy you’ll find on (which is like, a whole list of proxies, dudes…seriously, check them out).

*Google has not yet responded to my request for clarification.