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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With 26 million existing AOL software users this blog might be around forever.

“AOL’s software is used by more than 26.5 million people on broadband and dial-up connections every day.” [source]

Really? I don’t believe 26 million people could be that stupid. When this little factoid jumped off an AOL Corporate press release at me I almost lost my lunch (or dinner, or Doritos – whatever I’d been ingesting).

Here I was, telling readers that at most I’d keep my blog around for another year, then here was AOL all up in my face jeering, “We’ve got millions more for you! 26 million more, to be exact.”

Soon it occurred to me that this fact (if it really is a fact; none of us really trust ComScore data) could only work to my benefit, since it means I still have 26 million people to rid of AOL. That’s a lot of people, folks – but strangely enough, it doesn’t bother me.

BTW…for a thorough debunking of AOL’s top listing in the Forrester survey read this. Being “top-rated” is not the same as being “the best”.

Pass me my coaster…I mean, my *other* AOL disc.

AOL 9.0Surprise! Edition

AOL stopped sending discs out to everyone in mid-2006…everyone, that is, except me. It’s probably a test to see who I am: “She’s the only person we’ll send this disc to; if she writes about it like she did the other onebingo.”

Well, I always thought AOL knew who I was, anyway.

They don’t use the all-time-greatest-hits hard plastic case anymore; now it’s in a tiny, neutrally-tinted, yawn-inducing clear plastic sleeve. There’s no version number on the outside, either. It’s a surprise! You must open it to find out! This was just as exciting as peaking under the tree on Christmas Eve. So I popped the disc into my computer (the disc doesn’t have the version number on it, either! It really is a surprise) and AOL’s underwhelming software began walking me through one sign-up window after another.

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I’m like “an unhappy customer with cold french fries”?

It's not just the french fries...

So said Steve Rubel, during a recent talk with Jason Calacanis. I found a podcast on Jason Calacanis’ blog a few weeks ago in which him and Steve almost certainly discussed me, though they didn’t mention my name. In it Jason rehashes the comments (page no longer exists) we once exchanged about why I hate AOL. Except he lies or else has a bad memory, saying I “love” Netscape when in fact I hate it, and even claims I’ve “calmed down” about AOL completely thanks to our interaction. Nothing is further from the truth. (Area of detail is at 30:00 to 32:00, if you’re interested).

I replied to the podcast on his web page (see the first link above). I said I haven’t changed and corrected him about my feelings for Netscape, then mentioned another anti-AOL blogger who has calmed down recently, and rather inexplicably, since I can’t find comments from him on her blog.

I want to clear up a few things now that people are linking to that podcast…

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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…

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 blogs.marketwatch.com (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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Thanks Heidi, but I still hate AOL.

Complaint answered

Edited 12-13-2006 to include full contact info for Heidi Jongquist.

To refresh reader’s memories, I ran into 2 problems while checking links on my site a few months ago. The first problem was AOL deleted content from how-to cancel pages. I was so outraged I wound up posting the story on Digg.com, where, needless to say, it was a hit.

The reason behind their page deletions has never been explained and probably never will. The best answer I had was from a reader on Digg, who wrote in the comment section that AOL moves those pages around because it’s their site so they can do what they want to. But when it makes information subscribers need that much harder to find, then I think what they’re doing is wrong.

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Timeline for “There’s ONE page AOL.com hopes you’ll ever find.”

  • Early March 8, 2006: I publish the URL to AOL’s Cancel My Account page on Dave Taylor’s site and in a forum at the ISP Guide.
  • March 10: AOL deletes the “Cancel My Account” page from this URL.
  • March 10: I find another URL for the page and post it to my site.
  • March 11: AOL deletes the “Cancel My Account” page from this URL.
  • March 11-13: I search AOL.com, Google and major search engines without luck for another URL to the “Cancel My Account” page.
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My letter to the WA State Attorney General.

9-6-07: Several links on this page don’t work but there’s nothing I can do about it.

Note to readers: AOL is denying subscribers easy access to their Cancel My Account page, in a pattern that clearly emerged when I published links to that page on websites beside my own: that’s why I wrote the following (this is a copy of the letter that I wrote to the Washington State Attorney General).

I am writing this as the author of the site, Marah’s AOL Log, at http://marahs-aol-log.livejournal.com/. I began my site in Dec. 2005 after a hard time canceling AOL as a way to vent my frustration with America Online. I enjoyed researching AOL for my site so much I soon expanded it into a full-fledged “one stop site” for how to cancel, uninstall, or complain about America Online. As part of my Site Map I began providing a direct link to a page on AOL.com called “Cancel My Account” starting this February, which provided all the phone and fax numbers and addresses to call or write to cancel America Online.

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