AOL shutting down Xdrive, Bluestring and more…

In AOL’s quest to profit solely from advertising placed on websites, in email and in IM clients, they are slowly but surely dumping almost every subscription-based business they own. The most recent victims are Xdrive, Bluestring, AOL Pictures, AIM World (I can’t find anything on it except this MySpace page so I think AOL might mean they’re shutting down AIM soon) and MyMobile.

MyAOL is also rumored to be “sunsetting” soon and rumors have AOL selling the dial-up subscription business by August, which is only another week from now. We’ll see. In the meantime…

AOL does not offer much of a Plan B to anyone using services that are about to get closed down. The most AOL’s spokespeople will say about the fate of those services is this:

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AOL’s Basic Dial-up Gets More Costly

When AOL first caught on you had to pay an expensive hourly rate for it, which could easily add up to as much as $800 a month for hard-core gamers and Internet addicts.

Years later as the amount of people getting online with AOL skyrocketed AOL did away with hourly billing and went to flat-rate pricing. That netted you a bill every month of $19.95 (which went up to $23.90 over the years) for dial-up, tech support, and possibly some other services, depending on what you wanted along with your noisy modem.

In August of 2006 AOL’s premium content, email and software became free for everyone to use, but their dial-up service didn’t. The dial-up rate actually jumped from $23.90 to $25.90 a month with the so-called “goodies” included.

The good news was you could now get a bare-bones version of AOL’s unlimited dial-up plan for just $9.95 a month. The bad news was AOL notified exactly no one of the new dial-up plan. You had to learn of it on your own, then call AOL and ask them for it (and hope the service rep you spoke to would be honest enough to give it to you). To this day most people still pay AOL in the $20-something range for a mere dial-up subscription.

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