"I wrote to AOL Help asking them why my internet e-mail takes 3 days to get here," one AOL Watch reader reported in October 10.

AOL offered an interesting variety of excuses...

Date: 97-10-11 08:19:31 EDT
From: AOL Help

I am writing on behalf of America Online in reference to your recent email. I would first like to thank you for writing, as we appreciate the correspondence and feedback we receive from our members.

Over the past several weeks, you may have noticed delays in the delivery of Internet e-mail to America Online. The delays have been caused by a number of factors, including the growing problem of unsolicited bulk e-mailings to AOL members.

AOL's policy is to give first priority to internal AOL e-mail to ensure that our members can send and receive e-mail as efficiently as possible. Our next priority is mail from the Internet. Over the last six months, there has been a tremendous increase in the volume of e-mail from the Internet -- a situation that is affecting the entire industry. As a result, there have been delays in the posting of Internet e-mail to AOL mail boxes.

AOL is committed to increasing our capacity to meet this demand. In fact, we've seen the amount of e-mail the service handles in a day triple in just seven months -- from 5 million e-mails daily in November, 1996 to 15 million e-mails today. Our expectation is that over the next six months, AOL will be handling something on order of 30 million e-mails a day.

We are in the final stages of deploying a completely redesigned Internet mail gateway system. This system will handle this exponential growth, while giving us more flexibility to introduce new features and controlling unauthorized bulk mailings.

As operators of the world's largest mail system, we take this challenge seriously, and we believe that these steps soon will correct this situation.

Thank you again for using America Online. If you have any further questions or comments, please free to write back or call our Technical Team (1-800-827-3338), or use Keyword: HELP.


According to the subscriber, this story has an epilogue...

"The funny thing is, I wrote back saying 'Isn't it partly due to the fact that AOL has more members than it can handle?' "

"That was a week and a half ago...

"No response."