8 Myths About AOL

There are lots of stories going around about AOL lately. Let’s clear some of them up.

  1. Myth #1: AOL no longer sells dial-up access.
    False. AOL still sells dial-up and BYOA (Bring-Your-Own-Access). The good news is, AOL is down to 4 million subscribers from an all-time high of 25 million subscribers in 2005, with more subscribers fleeing each month.
  2. Myth #2: AOL does nothing but provide dial-up and BYOA access.
    False. AOL does much more. AOL recently thought it was an ad company, but now thinks it’s a media company. Access is something AOL doesn’t “focus” on anymore, because most of AOL’s customer service and tech support calls are handled by employees in India, and the infrastructure for dial-up practically runs itself.
  3. Myth #3: AOL still blankets the US with CDs.
    False. AOL does limited distribution of CDs by bundling them with Dex phone books or by sending them to certain bloggers, but other than that, the days of waiting breathlessly for your next coaster are over.
  4. Myth #4: The name “AOL” is now written out as “Aol.”.
    False. The new “Aol.” moniker is a prime example of “branding”, like how I changed my blog’s name a few years ago, to improve my, um, “brand”. I’d prefer if you call my blog “Anti-AOL” now, but if you still call it “Marah’s AOL Log”, that’s OK, too. It wasn’t a legal name change, and neither was AOL’s. You can write its name out however you want. I prefer “AOHell” and “Aolol”, myself.
  5. Myth #5: “Aol.” is a meaningless brand meant to catch your eye and nothing more.
    Well, yeah. But, no, not technically speaking. False. Supposedly, when you choose Aol., you choose the best brand for your lifestyle. (I know…the whole idea makes me sick, too.) So you don’t visit a blog on AOL; you visit “blog.Aol.” Adding the “Aol.” appendage makes you seem smarter and cooler (or, if you’re old school, l33t3r) than the rest of us.
  6. Myth #6: “Aol.” is pronounced…differently, so how do you pronounce it?
    False. You pronounce it the same way.
  7. Myth #7: It is still impossible, damn it, to cancel your AOL account.
    False. You can cancel your paid or free AOL account simply by filling out the online cancel form, unless you live in Washington, DC (AOL programmers forgot to let the District of Columbia in on the magic).
  8. Myth #8: I can cancel your AOL account for you, if you just leave me a comment anywhere on this blog saying something snotty like, “Do away with my service”.
    Hello people, let’s get real: I can’t do that, OK? But the good news is, I think these people can.

How to Delete Your AOL Or AIM Screen Name – Updated 1-18-2016

How to delete your AOL or AIM screen name

Updated 1-18-2016.

The only way to delete your AOL screen name if you live in the US is to completely cancel your free or paid AOL account (information for AOL UK users is hereETA, 1-18-2016: you must hit “Escape” on your keyboard as soon as this page loads or it will 301 redirect to help.aol.com, which gives no specifics). The easiest way to do that is to use AOL’s online cancel form.

The form was designed to convert paying AOL subscribers to free-of-charge accounts, but it can also be used to completely rid yourself of your AOL screen name.

It’s as simple as filling out your name, address, alternate email, phone number, then checking the box next to where it says, If you do not want your account to be converted to free, or if you want to cancel your free account, check here (screen cap).

To keep you from having to click through to my all-purpose post on using the online cancel form to completely cancel your AOL account, here it is:

Continue reading…

How do I remove the AOL Dialer?

How to disable, remove or delete the AOL Dialer

One question I get fairly often is, “How do I disable the AOL Dialer?” or “How do I remove the AOL Dialer?” How the question is worded matters: disabling the AOL Dialer is not the same thing as removing it. If you remove it, you might not be able to use AOL dial-up to get online.

To connect you to the Web through dial-up, AOL makes proprietary software, called the AOL Dialer, which connects your computer to AOL. It’s up in the air whether you can bypass the dialer by setting up your dial-up connection manually. AOL gives instructions for doing so, but for many AOL users (myself included, back in the day) using a manual setup without the AOL Dialer doesn’t always work, even if your dial-up modem is working fine.

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What is an AOL proxy server – is it a Trojan on my computer?

Today “NP” asked me via email:

I’m beginning to see the light! But I need someone to answer a question for me before I let loose of my three-year connection to AOL (I basically just use it to get online). Somehow, I sense you’re that person. (no pressure!)

I’m[…]kind of new to this technical stuff, but observing “inbound events” logged by my McAfee firewall (“FREE” from AOL!) (but at what price?!), put me in my investigative mode. Hopefully you can explain to me what’s going on.

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How to remove AOL (any version) when there’s no icon for it in Add/Remove Programs?

Updated 3-10-2009.

There are a few reasons why you won’t find an icon for AOL under Add/Remove programs on XP or Vista….

  • AOL did not install properly.
  • The AOL Uninstaller can’t find its own files when you ask it to (sounds unbelievable, but see next item).
  • The Add/Remove icon was removed by a partial or aborted uninstall done manually or with a program such as CCleaner or jv16 PowerTools.
  • AOL “hung” when you tried to remove it, thanks to an internal process that could not shut down.

Continue reading…