fuckaolIn response to a jab I made about his online provider following my rant against AOL, Jim Szymanski, or jimski, asked me, in an email in which he included some gaudy and annoying advertisements he probably had no idea were being stamped onto his dumb emails, the following and I really want to win the argument with him so if any of you think I’ve been doing a good job recently, help me field this one so that he A) sees the light and migrates to Gmail and B) feels like a douche. Seriously, I hate AOL too much to remain objective here, help me out.

Well, I know the world revolves around you, but actually people sometimes have reasons for doing the things they do. It’s a long way off for me, but if AOL is around when I turn 65, yeah, I will probably still have my free email account. See, I have some WiMo apps that I purchased more than 10 years ago and developers continue to send updates to my registered email address. Same with family and friends. About 90% of my AOL interaction has been via my phone or PDA for the past 5+ years. So as it’s free and always works (let’s not talk about the second account I setup for staffnotify), filters out almost every bit of spam, and almost everyone I know has the address, give me a good reason for closing it down, aside from it having @aol at the end of it.

Really, I feel blindsided, I feel completely off guard that someone of apparent technological acumen has asked me what’s wrong AOL. What’s wrong you with, Jim?? Damnit Jim.

Help me out. Just don’t get me started.

Doug Simmons


  1. AOL is far from perfect, but it does offer one thing, very few other similar servies offer …. chat rooms.

  2. Well there are only 4.4 million of us left Doug. If 0.0001% of them post here you will definitely have everyone beat out for most posts for January. But to be fair, I should really get half credit.

  3. Jim the only reason you’re getting any pro-AOL feedback here is because I posted this and people like to break my balls. So you should factor that into your consideration.

    Rebecca: There is no service that connects you to the Internet that does not let you connect to Internet Relay Chat, the “chat rooms” of the Internet where you can find plenty of chat rooms, or channels, tens of thousands of them on the most popular IRC network, Efnet, and if you want an IRC network of generally sharper computer whiz types, Freenode, and between the two plus other networks that’s hundreds of thousands of people. It doesn’t cost anything and there are IRC clients, or programs, for every kind of computer and user.

    If you want to try it out, google mIRC. Or, if you want to kill two birds here, trade in your MS Internet Explorer for Firefox and add on the Chatzilla add-on. It’s essential whether you’re asking how to fish a wedding ring out of the sink or if you want to talk to fellow Egyptians or need a hand securing a Linux server. Scratch that off the incentives list. Though I should note that it’s highly taboo to access any IRC network if you’re using AOL as your connection to the Internet as you may be banned from IRC channels and servers of your interest because AOLers have a history of … doing the opposite of contributing anything of value to the Internet.

    By the way, Techcrunch’s traffic has dropped substantially since AOL bought it.

  4. Doug, I am counting on the fact that some readers may consider you to be a prick at times and the backlash turns into a yes vote for me.But have you considered that just maybe, some readers may think I am right. I know, a tough concept to grasp. Bottom line is sticks and stones may break my bones, and for everything else life is too short, so frankly I don’t give a damn.

  5. @jimski: May consider?

    Anyways, if it’s free, what’s the problem? With that said, I honestly can’t think of any other reason to stay on AOL. I “took” my screen name and started using with anything I could think of. I tried to create my AOL presence outside of AOL. I just made a habit of using the non-AOL emails and eventually phased out AOL. Did the same with Compuserve, Juno, ATT-Worldnet…

  6. “give me a good reason for closing it down, aside from it having @aol at the end of it.”

    that is the best reason to get rid of it.

    If you don’t want to get rid of aol becuase of an email address, i guess you never want to move because people already know your mailing address, or i’m sure you still use your first original cellphone becuase everyone already uses your number? Basically keeping an email address because everyone knows it is a weak argument.

    Using AOL makes you look like a tool as petty and as dumb as that sounds. AOL is long forgotten and has been the butt of many a joke. AOL has become a stigma of what is wrong with the internet, and having that tied to your email makes you look like you have no clue on staying up to date and willing to move to better and more advanced technologies.

    I really hope you don’t use that email for anything important, like say putting it on a resume.

    There are a lot of things (right or wrong) that project your character to others, and your choice of email happens to be one of them.

  7. Thanks for the feedback guys. For me, it’s good to know that the people who can’t find my new mailing address can still find my old email address. People sometimes “have” to move for a variety of reasons, but until AOL tells me I “have” to stop using their email, I still don’t see the compelling argument to potentially become disconnected from some because there is a new best thing, that is not all that different from the current thing. Change simply for the sake of change is nothing more than a waste of energy. But hey, I used Windows Mobile up until November 7th, so maybe I am just an uncompromising sadist.

    BTW, this is the address I use for every site that insists on sending you shit, even after you ask them not to. It’s also the address that every family member and friend has, as well as every PocketPC/Windows Mobile app developer that I have ever registered with, and that’s a couple hundred. And if you dion’t know, many app licences are registerd through your email address. No, I never used this address for business purposes. Didn’t know that my email address projects my character though. Think maybe it’s time to setup a private domain. Any suggestions? @notgmail.net is available. What do you think that would project.

  8. You see that right there is something you’d expect from an AOLer. Granted, I’ll give you that doing a whois on a domain is tricky, but that you failed to guess with enormous certainty that, as there are a whole lot of domains that have been registered since anyone in the world could register domains and that there’s even an industry of people buying domains they think people might want some day in bulk for cheap and squatting on them, maybe 100 million dot coms alone, you failed to connect the dots that there would be no way in heck that notgmail.com was free. Were it free I’d be busy right now configuring it to work with my server and then dream about what to do with it when I go to bed.

    Snotgmail.com, however, is available. And if you’d like, you could use Gmail to host the mail or I’d provide you with a happy spot on server under any domain you want. If you go with Gmail, if needed, I’d be happy to help usher you in that direction to make the migration as painless as possible (though AOL makes it as painful as possible). If you use this screen name or whatever as your junk account we can set it up to be labeled accordingly and separated from your primary account. And there will not be some definitively better next thing.

    Seriously though, Mike’s point which you note that you follow with business is a pretty good point. Maybe I’m just superficial but when I saw an AOL email address floating around in our staff emails I just thought .. ….. It’s just the last place I would have ever expect to see. Maybe it’s something I’d do if I had nothing else to do and was out of other ways to make people laugh.

    Forgot to mention AOL’s bonus for keeping people from cancelling, turned out to be considered fraud in at least my state. From Spitzer’s old NYS AG office: “In response to approximately 300 consumer complaints, Spitzer’s office began an inquiry of AOL’s customer service policies. The investigation revealed that the company had an elaborate system for rewarding employees who purported to retain or ‘save’ subscribers who had called to cancel their internet service. In many instances, such retention was done against subscribers’ wishes, or without their consent.”

    And as I wrote about AOL relies on lying by omission to make the majority of its profits. But that doesn’t affect you you’re not dumb enough to pay for dial-up when you’re already online. So what, right? And no, everyone does not end up being penalized millions for screwing customers like this and with such vigor.

    Get a gmail account, get two, challenge yourself to transfer all your data to Google from AOL, have all your accounts funnel into either your inbox or other labels/folders, set up filters if you’d like, try the web interface with conversation (threaded) mode on, try it with it off, if you don’t like that then use Outlook or Thunderbird with your Gmail. If you use Thunderbird you may also sync your computer to Gmail for calendar in addition to contacts. At least get your feet wet by trying out Google Voice.

  9. Actually Doug, I did check and notgmail.NET is available for $11.98 today. So is .biz and a few others. But .com might be available as of 6/18/11, so I still got a chance. Currently own about a dozen domains but not sure if I want to use any of those for my personal email account.

    And surprising about the AOL fraud thing, cause for the past many years when I logged in to email, plastered all over the screen are reminders to “Sign up for your FREE email account today”. Certainly got my attention.

    I appreciate your efforts and concern for my well being, but maybe your energy would be better directed at those hapless few who are paying for AOL. You could show them the light and help with the transition. Hey maybe even setup an ad supported website with the “how to” that could be a profitable enterprise. Just checked and while dumpaol.com is not available, .net is. But, dumpatt.com can be yours today.

  10. Great, you didn’t get cheated by a company who cheated and continues to cheat/defraud/screw/etc more people than they didn’t cheat, so what practical benefit would it give you — other than challenging people to take you seriously when you tell them your email address. While your at it, out of defiance to people like me, buy a German car the next time around. At least what they tend offer is pretty good.

    By the way, I dug a little further (my namesake). Turns out it wasn’t just New York, the whole contiguous US sued them for the same thing, 2007. Happened before that in 2004, but they settled without acknowledging guilt that time. Where there’s smoke, Jim.

    So they pay up for successful lawsuits against them in order to make more manner in ways that get them sued and then use that money to pay for that then continue ..

    What do they have to do, that wouldn’t affect your online experience, to create a bad enough taste in your mouth, a feeling of at least tepid embarrassment to associate yourself with the business or at least try out anything else? Can you give me one thing? This is not a plug pulling situation as it would be with a phone number.

    They actually do make money off their free customers. They bought lots of websites, some of which you may have read for free.

    But you’re right, wasting my time. I’ll go channel my energy at converting motorists into driving manual transmission only and trying to explain to some homeless people that it’s unlikely that they’re the messiah.

  11. Get a Yahoo account. Hell, does CompuServe still exist? Anything but Google. Unless Apple has email. Then anything but Apple and Google. +1 for jimski.

  12. @theMULE: Actually that’s exactly what I did. And as yss suggests, using the same user name. Working nicely. So you see, I am already beginning the slow transition. Never said I liked AOL. Actually, even when they were the only game in town, I didn’t like them much. Just don’t see any point in inconveniencing friends and family, and spending hours relinking all the sites that currently use that address, simply because AOL allegedly did something unscrupulous and will probably go belly up some day. Hey, I could be dead in a year. Then it won’t be problem anymore. Time to move on.

  13. jimski, another little trick I did (with personal contacts) is to reply using the preferred/new email. Copy at least part of the message so they will know who and what it’s referring to. Whatever they’re using will probably ask if they want to add the contact. You could also use a signature for a short time to remind people to update your contact information.

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