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Why Aol Sux Essay, Research Paper

why aol sux

America Online is the largest Internet provider in the world, but it didn’t become one without a fight. Originally a closed-in, proprietary online service, it was pried open by the public’s fascination with the global network. For all of the company’s past glory, it is now little more than a big communications company.

America Online wants to be more than a communications company, though — it wants to be an entertainment network, like “the MTV of the Internet.” And that is where its problems set in. AOL, in a desperate bid to get subscribers in order to make itself more attractive to advertisers, went to a flat-rate plan this year, making AOL competitive on price but disastrously poor in service. Today, the company offers feature-poor, heavily commercialized, and frustratingly unreliable services to its customers.

AOL’s Poor Service

AOL’s signup kits tell you that they are the fastest, easiest, most reliable Internet service out there. Is that true? Not by a million years. AOL offers its users horrendous service. The company is so ov erloaded with customers — and is so far behind at installing equipment — that busy signals have become more common than an actual connection when dialing into AOL. In addition, if you do connect, you are condemned to use badly written AOL software to read and send email and to browse the Web. For a service that is still more expensive t han its competition, is the sacrifice worth it?

Censorship on AOL

The Internet is a place of free speech, where one can discuss any topic without fear of censorship or retalliation. This is not the case on AOL. Staff known as “Guides” regularly patrol the service, looking for members violating the Terms of Service, making use of AOL internal policy including its list of ninety banned words. These roving censors have the power to take disciplinary action against violators of AOL’s rules, including the cancellation of members’ accounts.

AOL’s Legal Threats

When America Online’s Webmaster, Jason Mitchell, found out about this web site, he was not pleased. In fact, he wanted it shut down. So, he sent an email message threatening litigation to both this site’s author and his Internet provider. When Mitchell’s demands went unmet, and the Internet community protested AOL’s attempted censorship, an AOL vice president apologized and Mitchell offered this site’s author a job at the company.

America Online – Your Security

America Online’s service, designed originally to handle about 30,000 users, is now serving millions. As a result, many of its flaws are coming out into the open — one of the most prominent has been AOL’s almost nonexistant security. In this mirror of the original AOL Security site, find out how it is that the AOL hacker community knows more about the service than AOL itself.

AOL: A Spammer’s Paradise

Virtually every AOL member wages a day-to-day battle with unsolicited commercial junk mail. Is AOL doing all it can to stop its flow? Not a chance. AOL equips its users with nearly useless mail filtering options which do nothing but make spammers get a new domain name every day. In the process, AOL has made it easier and easier for spammers to build junk mail lists, and has done nothing to stop that “harvesting” beyond making it a TOS violation.


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