08-30-2006: AOL’s free 9.0 software fell into the bad graces of stopbadware.org, according to this report, which lists every complaint I had with it. Will these issues stop new users, even at the newbie level, from using it? Yes, if they have any sense at all. It stopped me. I have more planned on this topic soon.
Free domain names? Think again.
08-08-2006: Starting in September AOL is giving out free domain names with free storage space and up to 100 email addresses compatible with Outlook Express and other clients. The only catch is you won’t own the domain name; it’s AOL’s forever. I’ll update as details become clearer.
All Your Datasets are Belong to Us
08-08-2006: AOL, in case you don’t know by now, released data sets containing search terms and results from over 650,000 members. My articles/rants/updates about their biggest public relations disaster of 2006 is here.
AOL Swings the Ax Again
08-05-2006: To compliment free services (see below), AOL’s laying off 5,000 workers who kept members from canceling. With over 18,000,000 subscribers who want AOL for free, I’d think they’d be hiring, not shutting Call Centers down. With less manpower, longer hold times and higher frustration levels, their rep for acting like a lover who won’t let go will be sealed for all time.
AOL Gives Away Free Software, Email, Storage: Still Too Damn Hard to Cancel
08-05-2006: AOL’s finally been reduced to giving it away for free. I can say for the first time since I started writing for this blog that there’s no catch — you can have it for zero charge. If you’re still paying, stop. I’m using the free AOL so I can write a report about it (and considering what shape my OS is in, I’ll have to finish soon so I can reinstall it). The only exception is AOL dial-up; that’s dropping from $26.00 to as low as $9.95 a month, which means it’s time to negotiate if you still want it.
This makes 99% of AOL’s service free, including AIM, AIM for VOIP, and their latest offering, 5 GB of free online storage thanks to their recent purchase of XDrive. Why is AOL giving it away? Are they insane? No, they’re Google — or might be soon (see my comparison chart here (12-18-07: page no longer exists)). What doesn’t Google give away for free? Last I checked, Google was raking in the big bucks and so will AOL. It’s all in the ads they want to carpet-bomb us with.
Come to think of it, I never mentioned Google and AOL partnered earlier this year. I hate both companies so much I couldn’t handle it, but things have a way of coming around again. AOL appeals to a niche market that wants light, entertaining content, and Google appeals to almost everyone…if they combine forces better you might hear complaints of Google-AOL desktop/market domination soon.
Update 11-24-2006: AOL’s new CEO, Randy Falco, is now singing the same song as I was in August (page no longer exists). He says “…that [AOL’s] online advertising would grow by 20 to 30 per cent per year in [the] future, taking much of the revenue traditionally secured by television and newspapers,” according to spannerworks.com. Further down Dick Parsons, Time Warner’s CEO, is quoted as saying that Randy was hired to ensure AOL “…realises its promise…in transitioning to an advertising-focused business model.”