AOL is “uncluttering”? Why, tickle me pink.

Ron Grant Giving Spin

HOT QUOTE (from the mouth of Ron Grant this week): “We’ve made some mistakes in the past.”

Yes, they sure did.

After Ron Grant, the president and COO of AOL, said AOL wants to start a “social network service” and improve AIM, he went on to say at the Goldman Sachs’ global Internet conference in Las Vegas:

“The company…will focus on ‘uncluttering’ the AOL environment…by presenting pages with fewer ads, faster loading times and a cleaner look. Pages will also include direct feedback opportunities.”

Now that every paid and unpaid AOL email account is covered and smothered in ads, they’ll finally cut back on how many ads you see? That sounds more like a lousy trade-off than an improvement to me, but AOL likes to put their spin on things to keep you from seeing it’s the biggest waste of money on the planet.

Let me prove to you how none of this will improve AOL right here, right now…

  • Paying members shouldn’t have to look at ads in email or on AOL.com. Not at all. Not ever. So why does AOL still inundate roughly 12 million subscribers with their own ads/spam night and day (often against their will, since many dialup subscribers claim no other ISP serves their area)?
  • AOL’s not cheap: Dialup is still $9.95 a month (most big ISPs offer dialup cheaper, with just as many access numbers), layering AOL’s software over another ISP’s connection is $15.99 a month, and using one of their broadband partners along with AOL’s software is $23.95 a month (and the AOL software can’t be uninstalled from the last setup; doing so cripples the connection).

Most of AOL’s so-called “premium” (paid) services are free with no more than a quick online search, so tell me, how exactly are they improving their member’s paid time again? To sum it up:

  • Paying subscribers who support AOL’s services will see the same amount of ads as usual in their email, and somewhat less (but still plenty) of ads on AOL.com.
  • Non-paying subscribers will see the same amount of ads as usual in their email, and somewhat less (but still plenty of) ads on AOL.com.

It’s not true that they’re improving things for any member of AOL once you look at their ad-filled plight objectively. It’s nonsense.