WHY does anyone still use AOL?

technology

I don’t get it.

There was a time when accessing the Internet was, to quote Barbie, “So hard!” Years ago, if you wanted to point-and-click your way to the Internet, AOL was one of your few (albeit odious) choices.

But nowadays, why would anyone pay $21.95/month for access that’s slow, littered with pop-up ads (even before you get to the Web), and run by one of the most incompetent yet (IMHO) evil conglomerates on the planet?

Here in San Francisco, even some of my theoretically tech savvy friends use AOL. “I got it with my computer,” one of my friends admitted sheepishly, well aware of what a dolt I think she is, “And I don’t want to tell ALL my friends that I have a new e-mail address!”

It doesn’t matter to this woman, apparently, that she can get much faster and more reliable (and ad-free) Internet service locally for $9.95/month for unlimited use. Or that her money goes to support a company who has singlehandedly dumbed down both the Internet and American news probably more than any other entity in history.

Okay, okay, so this rant isn’t necessarily uncovering anything wildly new or shocking. But it was spurred by a piece of junk I just got in my e-mail, which features two physically attractive women chatting with one another, and one saying:

“He asked for my AOL Screen Name, not my phone number. Luckily I Joined for Free Yesterday.)”

Aside from the embarrassingly weird capitalization and punctuation, this raises a burning question: Has anyone, ANYWHERE, gone up to a woman and cooed in her ear, “Hey, baby… how’s about ya tell me your AOL Screen Name, eh?”

I mean, of course, I’ve traded e-mail addresses with folks before, but sheesh! At risk of sounding like a total snob, if a woman’s got AOL, this knocks her down one peg in my book.

“But, but…” you may stammer, “I get multiple e-mail addresses with AOL! I can access it with many different numbers around the country!”

Uh, true. But it’s the same with, for instance, Earthlink. And MSN. And probably many other Internet services as well.

And did you know that when you view the Web on AOL:

– You’re not actually surfing the Web. Each time you request a Web page, you’re actually talking to AOL’s server, which then goes and either fetches the page for you or sends you an old (stale) version that it fetched earlier, and then sends it along to you. Why does this matter? Well, it’s slowing down your Web experience, and you may not even be seeing the most recent version of a page. Not so good for news sites, eh?

– By default, you’re seeing crappily compressed versions of pictures. AOL compresses regular graphics into “.art” form, which is sort of like you ordering pizza and having the delivery boy squish your entire large pizza into a lunchbox so he can save space. Great for the delivery boy, but not so good for your pizza… or your stomach. Then again, with the Web pictures… maybe you LIKE seeing blotchy and less-colorful pictures. Who knows?

So to those of you on AOL… I hope you seriously think twice about your choice to pay $21.95 a month for substandard service. If you have any questions about switching, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line. I’m happy to help in the intelligent fight against mediocrity 🙂

2 comments… add one
  • Samm Mar 15, 2008

    For the sake of convience people will put up with the stated inconviences.

  • benjiman Jul 5, 2010

    because it’s like a non stop party!!

    (lol. anyone remember that from the AOL commercials?)

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