AOL’s BlueStringAlong

Edited 10-15-2007.

Among the news AOL blitzed the media with last week is that they have started a new photo-sharing site, BlueString, that’s supposed to knock Photobucket flat on it’s ass. The theme on Anti-AOL recently is “Yawn, boring,” and this is just more of the same.

They made a similar claim when they rolled Xdrive out to the masses, but there were so many problems with Xdrive losing data and people being overbilled after they canceled that it lost the steam created by all the hype at rollout, so it didn’t knock any other online storage service on it’s ass, and it probably never will.

I suspect the same fate will meet BlueString because AOL couldn’t get a free service to work if they tried. And when they do try, they invariably screw it up, because they have no idea that in order to please people, you have to…gasp!…actually give them what they want. What a difficult concept to grasp.

Gentlemen, start your engines, and let the BlueStringAlong begin!

What people don’t want is a sign-up form that stretches over a full screen that gives AOL enough personal info to get anyone followed by the FBI: from email addresses, street addresses, states, zip codes, countries and ages and genders, to personal questions used to fetch passwords, captchas that are impossible to see or hear (I tried the audio captcha after I failed image captcha 5 times, and failed the audio version as well), AOL has thought of every possible way to infuriate and scare off new users.

Not only was signing up a huge invasive waste of time for me, but the signup screen warns you that an Xdrive account is needed to use BlueString’s service, but then it reassures you that AOL will automatically create one for you when you sign up for BlueString. It sounds easy, but AOL, the company behind this odyssey, doesn’t make it that easy at all.

Once I clicked the confirmation link and tried to sign in, my email address and/or password was rejected as incorrect, though it was the same email and password I signed up with, so I switched to the screen name I’ve had with AOL for about a year, and was promptly rejected for…you’re not going to believe this…not having an Xdrive account.

How many people will simply kill themselves after trying to sign up?