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:
“Invasive AOL updates!”
A young lady from Los Angeles emailed me this week asking, “Are you familiar with these invasive AOL updates? Can you help me???”
I test AOL’s software for my blog, so the answer is, “Yes and yes”.
One nearly fool-proof method to make AOL’s forced updates stop is to delete the stick.dll file.
You can also delete the entire folder mentioned below – either method works on AOL 10.0 Desktop but not on AOL 9.0 VR, which I need to play around with a bit more. The full path to the file on a Windows PC should look something like this:
C:Program FilesCommon FilesAOL1144194954eeservicessoftwareUpdateve r1_13_8_3
On older versions of AOL like 9.0 VR you can try deleting anotify.exe, which might stop the white auto-update nag above the system tray but will not stop AOL from notifying you the old fashioned way that it wants to update – by covering your AOL window with a huge “now or later” nag with some buttons on it to click for “now” or “later”.
My reader goes on to tell me that she can’t stop using AOL dial-up because:
AOL’s software and services, like email accounts, have been given away for free to AOL members in the US and the UK since August of 2006. This FAQ answers your questions about canceling payment of AOL, converting to a free AOL account, and removing AOL. Just click the links below to be brought to the Questions and Answers that you need.
Click this link for the answers…
From: Daniel @
Dear MMarah (of Anti-AOL),
I am not an AOL subscriber…I managed to dodge that particular bullet. But I do have a complaint that might interest you.
I have a large non-profit website (about 850 web pages and roughly 3 million hits per month). I also send out a quarterly e-mail talking about updates to the website. On my last attempt, virtually all of the AOL addresses bounced. This was roughly 150 e-mail addresses out of 1,533 messages sent.
Now, my list is derived entirely from visitors to the website who first write me — at which point I add their addresses to the list on the basis that they’re interested in the website. I also have a strict policy that whenever anyone asks for their address to be removed, I do so immediately — no questions asked. The updates are a service; not a benefit to me.
Now…my questions are:
Thanks for the emails, everyone. I’m answering requests for help with AOL first and everything else when I can.
What follows is an email sent to me by an IT developer last week. There will be more emails on Anti-AOL soon so stay tuned.
I’d just like to comment on your site as something you rarely find. Must say I agree with all of the things you said…and grind my teeth at the same time. If you want you can add this as a post on your web site. Main message being: To all you AOL users; please, please don’t use AOL for online shopping. You have no idea what a nightmare it is to keep it working properly for AOL.
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.