Hi AOL, Primcapital.com seems to be hijacking/mirroring the entire AOL.com site!

Oh, boy, how one thing always leads to another, especially with AOL.

Tonight a reader asked how to access the AOL Classic home page (the answer is you can’t, because AOL Classic is gone).

Once that was sorted out (I told her to use http://netscape.aol.com instead – it’s ugly, but it’s basically the same thing), I tied up a few other loose ends on this blog, then – you know how I always get bored – so I usually go trawling through search engines to see what trouble I can find, since trouble doesn’t bore me? OK.

So tonight I’ve won the “un-bored” jackpot. Using the search terms (with quotes, exactly as you see it) [“aol” “back to classic” “developer network”] – which were two links at the bottom of the AOL Classic home page] I got this as the third result: http://www.primcapital.com/default_003.html.

Clicking the Prim Capital link takes you to an identical copy of the AOL Classic home page. Every link you click on that page brings you to another hijacked AOL page on Prim Capital’s servers. Curious as to whether AOL owns Prim Capital or not, I looked it up and, nope, apparently not!

But that’s where my gumshoeing stops. I have got to get to bed!

Have fun, AOL – I wash my hands of this little phishing attack or whatever it is you have going on with the Prim Capital people (but if I owned AOL, whoever runs Prim Capital wouldn’t be able to say their names without speech synthesizers by tomorrow morning – just sayin’).

Oh, and if you’re a reader who uses AOL? PLEASE DO NOT VISIT THE PRIM CAPITAL SITE. IT IS NOT AOL! YOU MAY GET PHISHED OR GET YOUR IDENTITY STOLEN! HERE BE DRAGONS! ETC.

I complained to AOL about their malfunctioning “Back to Classic” link. Here’s their response.

After writing about AOL’s “Back to Classic” link malfunctioning, I shot a complaint off to AOL saying that if they want users to see the Classic AOL look, then they shouldn’t provide a “Back to Classic” link that doesn’t work.

As a mostly unwilling beta tester, I submit feedback to AOL fairly often, but I never get a response (I often curse out whatever product I’m “discussing” before I’m done – I guess that scares them?) but this time AOL’s data-mining software must have bounced me to a human support person or something fairly humanoid (perhaps a reply bot?).

According to AOL, there are four ways to restore the Classic look (but as I said in my last article, if you delete your cookies after applying these changes, you will have to restore the Classic look all over again). After I read AOL’s reply, I saw that the broken “Back to Classic” link on AOL.com has also been fixed.

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AOL’s “Back to Classic” link doesn’t change AOL back to “Classic” look.

And the goggles, they do nothing!

This is your brain on AOL

If you don’t use AOL or visit their home page you might not know that in honor of their newfound freedom from Time Warner and their Dec. 10 IPO (they’re trading on the stock market again under their own ticker – AOL – for the first time in years), they got rid of their pyramid/evil eye logo and replaced it with wow, about twenty new logos, which mostly look like food-colored brains and jellyfish (it’s just AOL’s way of Rorschach testing you folks, don’t worry).

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Doublespeak of the Week: AOL “Highlights” Declines in Revenue

Nicholas Carlson wants you to know the full extent to which doublespeak is used by AOL. To that end, he’s reprinted a chart that AOL drew up for their recent earnings call. The chart is titled, in big, bold letters, “AOL Highlights”. This gets funnier, I promise.

The total number of subscribers was down, total revenue was down, and of course, total profit was down. But that didn’t stop AOL from trying to make things look good, at least to the average layperson. It’s hard to absorb what lengths AOL went to to obscure the facts without seeing the chart, so here it is:

AOL earnings call figures, Nov. 2009

To anyone who saw the chart without hearing the earnings call, it might look like AOL had a banner year: there are no negative numbers, and growth appears to be up in all categories.

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Hacked AOL account? Let Google teach you how to hack it yourself.

Updated 7-1-09.

Since I wrote this post it’s risen to the #1 slots for the keyword searches mentioned below, so to save you time, if you’re here for the phone number to report a hacked AOL or AIM account, it’s 1-800-307-7969.

Tonight I typed “report hacked aol email” into Google and got, among other irrelevant things: “how to hack an AOL account“. Brilliant! Just to ensure my fury shot from moderate to severe, I typed “contact aol hacked” next, and got the same damn results…curses on Google. May fire rain down from heaven on their precious servers.

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