AOL’s Top 5 Blunders of 2008

AOL's top 5 blunders of 2008.

Asking why AOL screws up nearly everything they touch is like asking why the sun shines on a clear day, but I’m a sucker for tradition, and for two years running I’ve done so, so why not a third? It’s reasonable to expect this is the last Top 5 I’ll ever do on AOL since the company is dying. With no further ado, AOL’s top five blunders of 2008:

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How to Uninstall the AOL Toolbar From Any PC

Updated 6-1-08.

AOL Toolbar In All New HPs (Hewlett-Packard Computers)

As many of you know, AOL will soon preload AOL Toolbars and set AOL as your default home page and search engine in every new HP computer you buy thanks to a deal they made this month with Hewlett-Packard.

Here’s a general purpose tutorial on how to remove the AOL Toolbar from IE, all versions from 5.0 to the latest version out on 6-1-08, from any PC running Windows.

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AOL layoff synopsis: the clueless fire the clues.

AOL is in a dreadful state of affairs with Randy Falco and Ron Grant (aka “Smithers & Burns”, a snarky insider reference to characters on The Simpsons) now running the show. I said last year that AOL was moving away from access into advertising, that Falco did not understand the Internet or any aspect of AOL’s business, and I always thought that tiny Ron Grant, (i.e. “Falco’s brain” or some such thing) was fairly clueless. I haven’t called it wrong yet, so love me or hate me, don’t say I never gave you a good (and early) warning.

Randy Falco: as always, without a clue. Image credit:

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Google-AOL Fight (or “Finding Relevance in Every Bit of Nonsense Out There”)

AOL/Google Fight

I know AOL sucks, but would most people believe Google sucks more? (Somehow I would.) It’s a fun fact from a Google Fight Site that I found along my Web travels. You can use it to pit websites against each other and see which one “wins”.

Since I stumbled upon Google Fight last Wednesday Google has dropped 180,000 results for why “google sucks”, while the number of results for “AOL sucks” has increased by 10,000. Google is simply expunging any negativity about themselves that they find. Give it time; the “Google sucks” results will drop to zero while the “AOL sucks” results will just keep growing.

I wonder how AOL feels about that. Google owns them, after all…or 5%, anyway. That deal certainly isn’t helping AOL.

AOL unleashes their wild horde, again.

Eternal September?

Heard the latest?

AOL now supports Open ID, drawing out their Eternal September to our eternal torment.

You can rely on AOL for over-inflated numbers, so the amount of AOL and AIM users who can log into LiveJournal (God help me) and other SixApart blogs as well as WordPress and Technorati is, according to AOL, a perfectly outrageous number…over 63 million. I tend to believe it’s that many people, though…*shudders*

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When No News Isn’t Good News

When no news isn't good news

I haven’t been pounding out updates lately but I’m too busy to write (and too tired when I’m not too busy) so I probably won’t match the pace of what I kicked out during January again. For a while I thought I’d turn the site into an updated news-blog but there isn’t enough going on to make it worthwhile. In fact some of the latest news just bores me to death and I can’t write when I’m bored.

Take the TradeDoubler deal. Continue reading…

AOL says they’ve changed?

You can dress a donkey up like a horse, but...

Updated 02-3-2007.

It’s a different plot but the story has the same ending: No matter how AOL dresses it up, they can’t make the donkey that their washed-up business is look a horse. The only thing that’s changed is their approach. Rather than siphon money right out of your checking or credit card account for their “ISP service” (a non-Internet protocol complaint proxy server that sends their browser straight to AOL content and ads) they’re betting you’ll visit on your own or install their free software so you’ll stay on their site clicking ads, which is how they plan on making their next fortune.

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AOL’s Haier Media Player

Edited 2-03-2007 and 5-19-2007.

Everyone’s talking about how “AOL is in the iPod business now.” AOL unveiled this hideous mp3-playing monstrosity at the CES show in LA like it was the cure for cancer. It got people murmuring about “how much AOL has changed” and “how innovative” they are and whether or not this shiny piece of crap will be “the next iPod killer,” inspired ooohs and ahhs from the tech community and made Steve Job’s cadre of devotees have fatal heart attacks. Time to sort out the truth from the bullshit so you can discuss the “killer player” without giving AOL credit that they don’t deserve, which might make me have a fatal heart attack. Don’t make me have a fatal heart attack…I’m only 35.

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Shame On CNN

11-22-2006: CNN did a bad thing in the “eyes” of search engine spiders, Google Pidgeon Rank™ and other indices of web page spamiliciousness: they duped their own content about Yahoo! acquiring AOL, then changed the date for it. I’m a bit of a prig, so before I even knew what was happening, my keyboard was tapping out comments to (page no longer exists). While I’m no fan of Google, why let a site get penalized for what they warn webmasters not to do in Webmaster Guidelines?

“…the “Quality Guidelines”…outline some of the illicit practices that may lead to a site being removed entirely from the Google index.”

One practice you should avoid:

“Don’t create multiple pages, sub-domains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.”

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