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AOL

Discussion in 'The Lounge - Off Topic' started by greenbrucelee, May 21, 2007.

  1. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    Why does everyone on here seem to hate AOL whats the big deal?
     
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  2. tripwire45
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    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    Pop up hell, lousy service, dodgy marketing...you know, the usual. :wink:
     
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  3. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    i wouldnt know about the pop ups as I only use them to connect to the net through firefox

    As for the service I would say its been good
     
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  4. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Why? Oh, I got lots of reasons why. I've been online since 1980 ($6/hr with Compu$erve at 300 baud), so I saw this baby from the very beginning. In fact, I used the systems that became the base for AOL's code: PlayNET and QuantumLink (QLink).

    You want to know why AOL has a reputation? Past behaviors. And while AOL has tried to improve in some areas, other things are the same (or worse) than they ever were.

    1. It is impossible to use plain old vanilla Windows Dial-up Networking to connect to AOL. You must use their software (see #2). Most every other dial-up ISP allows connections over DUN. Not sure whether their broadband service requires software... but in your other post, you said that you "received their software" in 12 days. Most companies don't require ANY software to be installed in order to get a broadband connection.

    2. The AOL software is incredibly bloated and invasive - nearly impossible to pry out of an operating system. I've literally seen viruses and malware that were easier to remove. It's even worse when AOL has been installed for a long while, because there are several different updated versions to remove, each with its hooks in the OS.

    3. AOL's high price - more than ALL of their other competitors.
    - 3a. What? You want to charge me $14.95 just to be able to access "premium AOL content" for 5 hours (or $24.95 for unlimited use) using my existing broadband connection? Are you high?!?

    4. It is very difficult to cancel AOL service. You can sign up electronically; but have you ever tried to cancel? No, they don't let you cancel electronically... they make you talk to a person (Ever try to find the phone number to call?). And when you do get one, they'll do anything to keep your account active - they'll even give you free service for a couple of months... anything so you won't cancel... hoping you'll forget so they can hit your credit card again... POW! Gotcha for another month's service!
    - 4a. I've known people who have been billed for three months after they called to cancel.
    - 4b. When one of my friends tried to cancel, she was pressured so hard to stay with AOL that she caved and remained on service. Absolutely shameful.

    5. AOL attracts ignorant users because they foster ignorant behavior. Know those commericals that say "AOL is the Internet"? You and I both know that that statement is, at best, simply not true (and at worst, a lie in the form of a self-serving mischaracterization).
    - 5a. AOL wants users to think they're the "Internet" so that their users never actually USE the Internet... thereby keeping their users corraled into the AOL Zone, viewing AOL content, and seeing advertisements for which no one but AOL gets paid. Rather ingenious, don't you think? Too bad it's founded on ignorance and lies.
    - 5b. This sort of configuration (where AOL wants to keep users inside AOL and not on "the Internet" started long ago when AOL wasn't connected to the Internet. For those who don't know, AOL used to be a standalone system, like Compuserve and Prodigy (both of which were consumed by AOL). Then all of a sudden, the Internet took off like a rocket, and AOL begrudgingly connected to it. But they want their sheep to remain within the gates... so they attempt to keep them there as much as possible with their "premium content". Which must be better than the "real Internet", right?

    6. A couple of years ago, I would get an AOL CD in the mail just about every week. They were everywhere... in cereal boxes, in PC games, at the Post Office... I *really* should have sent in a batch to NoMoreAOLCDs.com.

    7. Busy signals/crappy connections. At one point a few years ago, connection rates got so bad that it made the evening news. People threatened to cancel, and after several months, AOL added more modem banks. Dunno how connections are now... but it used to be horrid. Their broadband service is typically subcontracted through another provider... which is usually cheaper if you go directly through that provider.

    7. AOL purchases technologies and companies and lets them rot on the vine. Case in point, Netscape. I used Netscape back when Netscape 3.0 was out. IE started winning my love when Netscape 4 had problems. AOL bought Netscape... and then... did nothing with it. They purchased Mirabilis... anyone use ICQ anymore? Didn't think so. They purchased ImagiNation Network (INN, formerly The Sierra Network, TSN) in 1996 and subsequently dismantled it the same year.

    8. Until recently, AOL didn't allow VPN traffic (and traffic from several other ports) over their connections. I've heard from one person that he was able to use a VPN on AOL in the past couple years, but I can't verify that fact since I don't know anyone of any formidable technical skill who would be caught dead using AOL for anything technical like a VPN.

    9. AOL does not allow the use of third-party e-mail programs to download or view e-mail messages. Want POP3 service? Uh-uh, not with AOL. If you want to be able to view your e-mail, you'd better have an active connection, because you can't view it offline. And good luck exporting your e-mail if you decide to cancel service. Oh, wait, we talked about that already in #4, didn't we? My mistake.

    10. AOL's privacy and security policies have been quite lax in the past. They have released (or lost) subscriber information on multiple occasions. I'm pretty sure you can Google it for details. Zebu's posted the latest one over in the other thread.

    Ain't that enough? :blink Just as I can't recommend other companies who have had a shady past, I can't recommend anyone EVER use AOL.
     
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  5. lovali

    lovali New Member

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    I was with AOL but couldn't wait for my contract to run out, mainly due to them shutting me down all the time 'sorry we didn't mean to disconnect you, got your account mixed up with someone elses' kind of business. When the contract was finally up I cancelled (after alot of hassle). I then tried to get another provider but guess what? AOL would not release my line. They said I owed them £96 and would only relaese the line if I paid up. Sent them many copies of my bank statements showing i'd paid the full amount I was meant to, which they kept 'losing'. Finally threatened them with legal actionand was able to get BT, but was without the internet for over 3 months all-in-all, which was like being seperated from my baby cos I won't use dial-up with the costs. Since threatening them I have heard no more about this amount I supposedly owe them. Funny.:x
     
  6. Bambino1506

    Bambino1506 Megabyte Poster

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    I can see why AOL has got a bad rep, in the old days they used to offer free trials and like BosonMichael said once you'd installed their software on ur pc it was virtually impossible to remove.

    Nowadays they are actually a pretty decent ISP, prices aren't too bad, connection is reliable and the customer service is actually pretty decent.....well, as decent as ISP customer service can be lol.

    The software has actually improved a lot and you don't find urself wishing u were using IE/firefox when using their browser.

    We are happy using them and I personally used to hate AOL, so that says a fair bit.
     
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  7. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    I've dealt with loads of clients and with may years experience, if someone tells you that your web app isn't working, the first thing you ask is, 'are you with AOL?'

    Never used them and never will.

    I know that many providers try to install their own browsers and lock out functionality to make support easier, but if I wanted to use the Internet with draconian security measures I'd stick with looking up p0rn in work.

    :blink
     
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  8. Jakamoko
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    Jakamoko On the move again ...

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    I was all set to come onto this thread and attempt to defend (just a little, anyway) AOL's erstwhile bad rep - mainly to say that if you can the ringfencing software and just setup their ADSL like any other connection - config user, pass, VPI/VCI (and bizarelly, alter the MTU from the standard that I believe every other ISP [in the UK, that is]), then by all accounts you get a perfectly reasonable ADSL connection.


    However, Michael's contribution above is so fabulously erudite, verbacious, and yet wonderfully substantiated, that I'm not even going to attempt to continue.

    Michael - it was (if you don't mind the comparison) like reading one of Freddy or D's finest moments. That's meant as none other than the compliment that I know you'll recognise.:D
     
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  9. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Fair play to the guy - even the AOL PR department would have a tough time defending that lot!

    :respct
     
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  10. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    I wholeheartedly agree.

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Where is Freddy these days? Still trying to rid the world of Windows and get Linux on all PCs I reckon! :twisted:
     
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  12. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Ah yes, I don't mind the comparison at all. :)

    Hey, if I'm not gonna like a company, I'm gonna have tons of reasons why I don't like them... I'm not gonna just slam a company for no reason. :)

    Holy crap, guys, my rep skyrocketed from 1220ish to 1432 just from this post. Perhaps I should truth-out AOL more often, eh? 8)

    Thanks for the props, y'all. Glad to be of service. :salut
     
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  13. Raffaz

    Raffaz Kebab Lover Gold Member

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    Ive personally got no problems with them. Fair enough about their software being crap, but its fine without it.:)
     
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  14. wizard

    wizard Petabyte Poster

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    Make that a bit more :wink:
     
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  15. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    I think all ISPs have their faults, but I havent had a problem I dont use their software as I have previousley stated to as it does look something circa windows 95 with added gloss, but I have had no connection issues I am actually getting the speed I am paying for.

    So I am happy but we will see if I ever decide to change provider
     
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  16. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Do they host your e-mail? You have a potential problem.
    Do you have an AOL password, or do any of your passwords go through their service? You have a potential problem.
    Do they have your credit card number on file? You have a potential problem.
    Do they have your real name and contact information? You have a potential problem.
    Just because the problems haven't happened yet doesn't mean that you are immune from them...
     
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  17. Mr.Cheeks

    Mr.Cheeks 1st ever Gold Member! Gold Member

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    BM - but the items you mentioned above can be a potential *problem* for any business, unless of course, you know of a reason why it is more of a *problem* with AOL...
     
  18. Tartanbill

    Tartanbill Bit Poster

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    Once a company has a bad reputation with me, it's extremely hard for them to shake it.

    AOL are one such company for all the reasons above, BT are another due to their debacle over ADSL rollout.

    It was only last year that I was forced to become a BT customer due to lack of competition in the area and I still grudge that my ADSL connection has to use their infrastructure at all.
     
  19. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    My previous post's point, exactly. 8)

    That said, you are quite correct. Do business only with those to whom you entrust your confidential information.
     
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  20. Bluerinse
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    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    Great post BM!!

    And i totally agree with every word you wrote, you just said it heaps better than i could ever possibly have done - kudos to ya 8)
     
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