~~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~~
Post of the day
~~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~~

From: BrianSmith@ij.net (Brian Smith)
Subject: AOL mail time
Date: Sun, 22 Jun 1997 00:04:02 GMT
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks

I know this is nothing new, but...

I was helping my sister set up an account at GeoCities for her web space. (I'd rather her work somewhere I can help her out, rather than AOL's piece of crap web server.. plus, that way I *know* she's getting quality service.)

Anyway, I registered her, and it said it would send her her password for GeoCities to her AOL address. (I have an ISP account; the rest of my family uses AOL, despite the fact I print out quite a bit of information from here, Cassel's AOL List, and other places) This was at 12:30pm ET today. About 6:30, she still hadn't received the password, so I went into GeoCities to see if I had done anything wrong. Everything checked out, so I had it send it again.. still nothing. I had it send mine to me to see if GeoCities was at fault; I got it within 5 minutes.

We're now up to over 7 hours without a message reaching AOL that took 5 minutes to reach my account.

Conclusion: AOL's server sucks. (Nothing new, as I said..)


From: BFaulk@spamstop.ionet.net (Bob Faulkner)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: Re: AOL mail time
Date: Sun, 22 Jun 1997 07:41:22 GMT
Organization: ioNET

BrianSmith@ij.net (Brian Smith) wrote:

>We're now up to over 7 hours without a message reaching AOL that took
>5 minutes to reach my account.

I recounted a story here last fall when a coworker sent me e-mail from her boyfriend's AOL account in Ohio. Her message took three days to reach me. A postcard she mailed to another coworker arrived a day earlier. She was already back from her trip and at work by the time I got the message.

Bob Faulkner (bfaulk@spamstop.ionet.net)
        AOL-free since 3/17/96
   (Delete spamstop to return e-mail)
Need a real ISP? http://thelist.internet.com
From: artstone@ibm.net (Art Stone)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: AOL aims to penetrate "Enterprise Space"
Date: Sat, 31 May 1997 13:46:44 GMT
Organization: Altopia Corp. - Usenet Access - http://www.altopia.com

One of the questions floating out there is "Why did AOL release this Internet Messenger Thingy to the Internet - Free?"

This story -> http://www.webweek.com/970602/news/aol.html

begins to contain some of the answers. The source is David Gang, who is becoming AOL's primary spokesperson on marketing issues.

Gang's hints at this include...
AOL sees this as opening the door to business customers AOL -may- charge for this in the future It promotes the AOL "Brand"
Some of my theories, in addition:
Internet Messenger probably defeats the idle timeout of ISPs AOL may count IM-only users in its user base Ex-AOLers may start talking with (and miss) their AOL friends AOL gets a database of email addresses of ISP users for marketing
Art Stone
Detroit News - May 1st, 1997: AOL is "the online equivalent of getting drunk and making a fool of yourself."

From: Steve Doliov <doliov@seumsblockspam.com>
Newsgroups: wco.general
Subject: AO-HELL AbFabTech, part II
Date: 23 May 1997 21:07:18 GMT
Organization: West Coast Online, Inc.

In an unusual sequence of events, the techonology writer who wrote about AOLs "latest way to keep in touch" picked up his phone on the first ring. So I politely inquired as to why technology which has existed for eons was not once mentioned on his article.

He was surprised and asked me what the name of the software was. It took a bit of back and forth to get him to understand that the software's name was "talk" (the conversation reminded me of "Who's on First?") and that it was distributed with almost all, if not all flavors of Unix.

Well that wouldn't do any good he thought, since Unix is not a mass market OS of choice. So I finally got it through to him that all he had to do was establish a telnet session (telnet he knows...) and from there issue a talk session.

Okay. Then he says, well you can telnet from MS IE but not Netscape, so you are still not talking about a mass market available thing. So I patiently explained to him that he could initiate a telnet session from Windows 95 by going to the Start button, choosing run.... and typing telnet <hostname> in the dialog box.

Oh. I didn't know that. I'll be darned was the gist of his reply. So I said I was looking forward to a follow-up article in which he would spell out that this technology has existed for years. He seemed to beg-off, as I was really talking about "Unixy" (his word, not mine) stuff and it wouldn't be worth writing about.

.....the lesson I learned here.... ...resistance is futile....



From: lindellj@spambusters.org (Lindell B. Jones, Jr.)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: Re: seen the latest AOL commercial?
Date: Thu, 15 May 1997 00:49:41 GMT
Organization: Spambusters, Inc.

On Wed, 14 May 97 18:08:36 GMT, pearce@ANTIhalcyonSPAM.com (Jani Pearce) wrote:

>In article <5lbe3e$8d3$2@jake.probe.net>, dok@probe.net (Hanz0) wrote:
>>Just saw a new AOL commercial.  They show some AOLer saying "I couldn't
>>believe it!  I can't even program a VCR and I'm online!!!!!(1)"
>>Hits the proverbial nail on the head, doesn't it?
>Oh good grief, is this for real?

Sad to say, yes, it's for real. I nearly gagged when I first saw it yesterday...

>Sheesh, nothing like trying to
>attract the completely raw newbie. (Then again, who else would have
A complete idiot?

>I can just see their next ad, probably be something like:
>"I can't even dial my telephone and I'm online!!"
How about "I can't even type, and I'm online!!"

>*Sigh* Another shining example of the dumbing down of America...

The dumbing down of America is exactly what companies like AOL thrive on. Yet another reason not to support such corporations...

>*Remove spamblock to mail* Member, a.a-s Troll Patrol(tm) - Policy Division
>   The Official a.a-s Web Page: http://www.halcyon.com/pearce/aas.htm
>      Why & How to Leave AOL: http://www.halcyon.com/pearce/why.htm

 Lindell B. Jones, Jr.

        E-Mail me at ---> lindellj@mindspring.com
                  or ---> lindellj@mo.net
        Why is AOL sucks?
        What can you do with ther cd rom bisk?
        Why ain't I using no good english?
        Find out at http://walden.mo.net/~lindellj/aol

From: artstone@ibm.net (Art Stone)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: AOL wants ME!
Date: Fri, 02 May 1997 20:03:46 GMT
Organization: Altopia Corp. - Affordable Usenet Access - http://www.alt.net

Just when I thought AOL didn't care anymore, AOL sent me a shiny new 50 hour free trial disk today.

In accordance with their Attorney General agreement, the last paragraph of Steve Case's Welcome Back, (This mailing is specifically targeted at "Former Members") Steve says the following: "AOL is more popular than ever. As we continue to expand our dialup network, availability may be limited, especially during peak times."

Among the claims, and other items of interest in this mailing:

Cover says "We're ready for you. We're Increasing the size of our network by 75%!". Notice the use of future tense? We're ready today because we'll be expanding tomorrow.

"New version 3.0 brings you the entire Internet".

Except most IRC servers, or current copies of many web pages... or access to an Internet standard email or NNTP news server

"Stay on and get unlimited hours for only $19.95 per a month"

So long as you see the popup and respond every 45 minutes.

"Exchange email with anyone who's online, including the Internet."

As long as your message isn't larger than 2MB.

"Get the inside sports story on ABC Sports Online - an AOL exclusive"

See: http://www.abcnews.com/sections/sports/

"AOL keeps everyone happy"

That would explain all the lawsuits.

"AOL puts almost any information imaginable at your fingertips"

Operative word - "almost"

"AOL is there when you need us - 24 hours a day"

Except when we're down.

"There's a place for everyone on America Online"

What's the keyword for Christian Coalition? the NRA?
Art Stone
Detroit News - May 1st, 1997: AOL is "the online equivalent of getting drunk and making a fool of yourself."

From: NOT@case.offline (K.)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: Re: IE security patch: AOL's customers still left in the lurch
Date: Thu, 24 Apr 1997 09:37:15 -0700
Organization: Sprynet

On 15 April 97, njkahn@no-spam.hooked.net (Mimi Kahn) wrote:

>On Sat, 12 Apr 1997 09:58:26 GMT, NOT@case.offline (K.) wrote:
>> However, AOL vice president David Gang said his company only recently
>> received Microsoft's revised computer code, and is now designing a
>> patch for the problem. When the bug was discovered, Microsoft warned
>> users about the problem on its Web site. But AOL chose not to issue
>> warnings to its customers. [...]

"We are dedicated to providing our members with the most effective tools to protect themselves against all threats to their computers' integrity. We believe that the best offense is educating our members ... "
Tatiana Gau AOL Integrity Assurance

>Reminds me of when AOL warned its *staff* that connecting to AOL via
>TCP/IP could result in hacked passwords while at the same time
>*encouraging* members to access AOL via TCP/IP.
>AOL didn't want hackers getting into staff areas -- but fuck the

"At AOL, we place the highest priority on security. We are committed to ensuring the highest quality online experience possible for all of our members."
Tatiana Gau AOL Integrity Assurance



From: mgscheue@vela.acs.oakland.edu (Mark G. Scheuern)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: response to WSJ editorial
Date: 22 Apr 1997 13:01:17 -0400
Organization: Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan, U.S.A.

Today's Wall Street Journal has an incredibly wrong-headed editorial in support of AOL and Steve Case. Here's the response I sent to the WSJ and the author of the editorial:


In his April 22 article in defense of America Online ("Maybe AOL's Bankruptcy Would Be More Ethical"), Holman W. Jenkins Jr. states that "He [Steve Case] rounded up his customers' bills to the next minute, a practice so diabolical that only every other phone company does it". This is incorrect; AOL in fact added 15 seconds to the connection time, _then_ rounded up to the next minute. Maybe Jenkins thinks that's ethical, but many state attorneys general felt otherwise.

Mr. Jenkins also misses an obvious point when he compares AOL's switch to flat-rate pricing with the Wall Street Journal charging a flat 75 cents "...whether you skim the paper or spend all morning on it". The difference, as anyone who as had to deal with AOL's ill-planned pricing change can attest, is that users of an online service must deal with the allocation of a limited resource, namely, the provider's modems. AOL was on the brink of an insufficient modem-to-user ratio before they went to flat-rate pricing; had Mr. Case and his management given this matter proper thought, and had they come to the conclusion that a responsible company would try to give their customers access to a service they were paying for, some effort might have been expended to ensure that adequate resources were in place before changing the pricing structure. Instead, busy signals were the predictable result.

Yes, maybe Mr. Case is "...winging it ... in the finest entrepreneurial tradition of playing it close to the line". But I think customers and shareholders of AOL might appreciate it if he spent a bit less time "winging it" and devoted some attention to growing his company in a responsible manner: by providing customers with the service they have every right to expect. Then perhaps AOL will be rewarded with that other tradition of a well-run company: profit. Who knows, he might even get some good press.

Mark G. Scheuern



From: artstone@ibm.net (Art Stone)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: Economist: In search of the mouse potato
Date: Fri, 18 Apr 1997 17:22:39 GMT
Organization: Altopia Corp. - Affordable Usenet Access - http://www.alt.net


The Economist has a profile on Robert Pittman and his current situation with AOL (at the above URL).

An interesting statistic:

>AOL's subscribers spend 80% of their time looking at the company's own
>"content" -- a miscellany of entertainment, chat and travel services -- rather
>than using it as an inexpensive route to the Internet.

This story includes a new claim about AOL's influence and power:

>At first glance, AOL is well placed to do this. It has some 8m subscribers -- m ore
>than MTV on most nights

Is this stating that MTV has less than 400,000 people watching, or that the Economist doesn't understand that AOL only the capacity for 400k simultaneous users? Or did they buy the pointless "number of sessions" statistic?

In case it isn't obvious, a "mouse potato" is the Internet equivalent of the Couch Potato.

Ouch. I resemble that remark.

Art Stone
Get the "scoop" on using AOL's secret access numbers.

From: xrickb52x@aol.com (XRickB52x)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: Meg: Up and at 'em
Date: 16 Apr 1997 03:09:02 GMT
Organization: AOL http://www.aol.com

Here's part of Meg's AOL Insider report from 4-15-97:

"It's a few minutes after 7:00 a.m. as I input the list, and I'm not sure if I'm awake, but I'm definitely upright. In fact, I'm sitting in front of my home computer listening to my modem hooking up to AOL -- on the first try! And that's when I (blearily) thought of today's column...because it's so easy to sign on at this morning hour.

You see, Meg is not a morning person (You can tell?), but I'm trying to make a few adjustments. Why? Because lately those low volume hours (7 a.m. to 3 p.m.) have been mocking me with their tempting promise of easy access.

So I'm making an effort to apply some creative time-shifting to my personal online habits. (Yes, Meg has a personal life, even though some of my friends have reported it missing). I'll be logging on before breakfast instead of after dinner; over lunch instead of after work; before I leave the office rather than with my favorite bed time snack."

Yes, boys and grrls, you too can utilize America Online, if only you rearrange your entire life around it. Why should AOL upgrade the system if the company can just train YOU to be obedient lap dogs?!?

If you ask me, Meg has been doing too much caffeine in the morning. Does she realize she is a spoof of all that is wrong with AOL? How embarassing for her. I really hope "Meg" is a PR guy who's just writing this persona.

Rick Brown
(No X's to reply)

Meg is AOL's equivalent to Tokyo Rose during World War II.
"Come on, Joe. You know AOL is superior."

From: rmartin@spam-foiler.voicenet.com (RM)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: Re: Steve Case interview on MSNBC
Date: Wed, 19 Mar 1997 15:24:20 -0500
Organization: None Whatsoever, Inc.

In article <332f988e.1695805@news.ionet.net>, BFaulk@spamstop.ionet.net (Bob Faulkner) informs:

> I was up watching late-night TV (actually early-morning TV), and saw
> Steve Case on MSNBC. It seems that the network is doing a series this
> week on the problems our least-favorite online service has had. They
> also interviewed some current and former AOL customers. Case trumpeted
> the company line, that they went to fixed-rate pricing because they
> were "listening to our customers" (never mind that ISPs were kicking
> their asses). One of the former users they talked to cited AOL's
> crappy service, useless customer support and endless promises of
> system enhancements as reasons for leaving. She held a bisk in her
> hand that she reportedly got in the mail the day of the interview, and
> said how ridiculous it was that AOL was hustling new members while
> being unable to adequately service the ones they already have.
> It's amusing viewing. They will run a different segment every night
> this week, for all you night owls. I don't recall exactly when I saw
> it, but it was between 2 and 3 AM Central.

It's funny, because I remember that edition of The Site on MSNBC. It just so happened that the host, Soledad O'Brien, did a segment on the "ABC's of Chat" the very same show. And guess what the demonstrator, Leo Laporte, used to show how fun and easy chat was?

Yeah, AOL.

If I recall correctly, this was pretty much the rundown of the ten minute chat tutorial:

Laporte went into your typical "Lobby" on AOL with about eight other people. After he had greeted the room, and went back to the chatting explanation for the host, he was phished for his credit card number, password, etc.

And he called it a "hacker." Now you would think that a computer focused show could tell the distinction between your run of the mill AOLamer on a phishing binge and an actual hacker. Apparently not.

A few moments later, he decided to join another "room" and clicked on the rooms made by AOL staff. Your typical "Life", "Books", and "Family."

All were almost completely empty.

Next, he decided to show the member created rooms. You can imagine some of the titles: "realsubmission", "hairym4m" etc.

All filled with 23 people.

I was laughing loud enough to wake the dead that morning. Finally, AOL's idiot chat exposed on national television.

At least he *said* the acronym "IRC..."

> Bob Faulkner (bfaulk@spamstop.ionet.net)
> Ex-AOL user since 3/17/96
> "Some people are born psychotic. Others have to work at it..."
> (Delete spamstop to return e-mail)



"I became insane over long periods of horrible sanity."
               -- Edgar Allen Poe

Subject: Re: Now AOL is back to putting out duplicate posts AGAIN! Probably off subject
From: debari@net-gate.com (Tony DeBari)
Date: Thu, 20 Feb 1997
Newsgroups: alt.tv.xena
Organization: R.B.I. KartSports

On Wed, 19 Feb 1997 19:28:41 -0500, Aethelrede@worldnet.att.net wrote:

>Well well, after causing all sorts of acrimonious 
>remarks by sending out posts with enormously long lines,  AOL is now 
>back to its second favourite annoying trick of sending out two or more 
>posts of selected messages.  I honestly don't know why people sign up 
>with them and stay after their free connect is over.  I tried them last 
>year and hated them, even before they gave everyone free access.  I can 
>only suppose that if you mail multiple diskettes to everyone on earth 
>with a mailing address, you will get buyers.  The things are even 
>materialising on my desk at work now, without even an address.

I was just about to post something about this, but thought better of it. Bashing AOL is much too easy these days. It's amazing to me how they stay in business. It's even more amazing that they recently won a PC Magazine Editor's Choice award as the best on-line service for Internet access. I don't know of any single entity that is as hated on the 'Net as AOL is (except possibly Microsoft :-). I think we need to lure Steve Case onto a rope bridge over a lava pit, then cut the ropes...

To all the AOL users out there: if all you have AOL for is 'Net access, take a look at www.thelist.com to see if there are any real ISPs in your area. There are some good deals out there if you look hard enough. You'll get much better service, and you'll be helping to make the 'Net a better place.

There is one thing I do like about AOL, though. The free start-up kit CD-ROMs make really nice coasters. :-)

Tony DeBari          debari@net-gate.com

"Another day, another defilement." - Autolycus, King of Thieves

From: artstone@ibm.net (Art Stone)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: AOL hit with RICO lawsuit
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 1997 04:19:06 GMT
Organization: Altopia Corp. - Affordable Usenet Access - http://www.alt.net


>America Online Inc. faces yet another class action lawsuit,
>this time seeking damages in excess of $100 million, prompted
>by its recent network access problems, attorneys for the
>plaintiffs said Thursday.
>An America Online spokeswoman said the Dulles, Va.-based
>company has not yet been served with the suit, but said it
>has no merit.

Let me see if I understand this.

AOL's attorneys have not yet received the details of the lawsuit, and the P.R. department is already announcing it is "without merit"?

Art Stone
Get the "scoop" on using AOL's secret access numbers.

From: artstone@ibm.net (Art Stone)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: Now, AOL is a *glitch*
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 1997 18:41:29 -0500

AOL is now a *glitch*, or perhaps the bastard stepchild of a glitch.


This story carries a pretty detailed account of the incorrect pricing data which AOL customers received. It just so happens that this something I know a lot about, having designed the quote system interface for a large finanacial exchange in Chicago.

Virtually every exchange does price quotes differently, and even differences within an exchange. A price of 3.15 may mean $3.15 per (whatever) it may mean 3 15/16 or it may mean 3 15/32's. Generally, there are "cues" to distinguish the denominator. For the most part, the denominator is not sent along with the price quote. The symbol indicating the thing being traded defines the unit being used. Many quotes are sent as decimals, and converted back to the fractional equivalents. Some systems just send a raw integer - ie 3 15/32s may be send as a quote of 111 (111/32). Some systems send a formatted ascii string based on the rules of that quote service.

From the description, it sounds like the denominator changed by a factor of 10. This is not the kind of thing a quote service just "does". They warn everyone a long time in advance, and say "On Mar 1st, this will change, etc...". If that correspondence just sits on someone's desk, you'll get a "glitch".

AOL initially said the problem was "bad data" from the quote service.

Now, let's look at AOL's response.

>Wendy Goldberg,
>an AOL spokes woman, said the company acted as swiftly as
>possible. She said AOL first learned of the problem Tuesday
>and by the end of the day had a new computer code installed
>that resolved it.
If a code change at AOL "fixed" the problem, then that pretty much admits it wasn't "bad data", doesn't it?

>She noted that AOL has a disclaimer that it cannot vouch for
>the accuracy of the stock information it provides but that
>it is believed to be accurate. She said the company immediately
>posted a note in its help area to explain the problem and what
>the company was doing to fix it.

How about posting the information right on the quote screen?

Now, my next prediction:

AOL's final word on this will be - See, AOL is now so important that when our stock quotes are wrong, the entire investment community reacted to the error because they trust us so much.

Art Stone
Get the "scoop" on using AOL's secret access numbers.

From: noone@nowhere.com (Justme)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: I'm mad--aol strikes again!
Date: Wed, 05 Mar 1997 14:13:09 GMT
Organization: Bisk Poets Fan Club

I am part of an e-mail support group for people with multiple sclerosis. The moderator of the group decided to try something new: she got a doctor to answer questions for everyone, as 'live' as e-mail could be: you send your question, and get your e-mail response within a few minutes from the doctor.

I did not participate in this, but benefitted because questions/responses were also e-mailed to me. Apparently, as the night wore on people were getting frustrated at not having their questions answered. Turns out, the doctor was on AOL, and had

1: trouble signing on
2: trouble receiving mail
3: trouble sending mail
4: got tossed off after 45 minutes or so.

The moderator thinks that 'next time' this will work--as long as none of the participants have AOL.

From: "K Dafler" <dorffler@infoNOSPAMrel.com>
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: stupid media BS!
Date: 27 Feb 1997 18:57:33 GMT
Organization: Inforel, Inc.

the article referenced in my E-mail below is at... (thanks to the A O L Watch)


I'm really fed up with this type of shit... if you'd like to pile on, the E-mail adresses appear in the header ( "Well, DUH", sayeth monty burns...) Also greer@pbpost.com, he's the news editor (sorry to soapbox...)

> From: Kevin Dafler <dorffler@inforel.com>
> To: Edward_Sears@pbpost.com
> Cc: AndyG@coxnews.com
> Subject: mistakes!!
> Date: Thursday, February 27, 1997 12:56 PM
> In a recent Palm Beach Post article about credit card theft on AMERICA
> ONLINE, Joe Brogan made some erroneous and mis-leading statements. In the
> article, he states that teenagers made purchases "with credit card numbers
> stolen on the Internet..."
> He goes on to say that "the youths flashed an Internet message to hundreds
> of America Online users, warning them that their Internet connection would
> be cut off unless they forwarded their credit card numbers."
> What is in error here is the confusion about and blurring of distinctions
> between America Online (AOL) and the Internet. AOL is a private,
> self-contained 'online service', that also co-incidentally offers access to
> the Internet. They claim in the neighborhood of 6-8 million subscribers,
> some of whom know little and care less about 'the Internet'. The INTERNET
> is a massive, distributed and inter-connected network of computers spanning
> the globe, for the exchange of ideas and information. It can be accessed
> in any number of ways, through thousands of independant enterprises, of
> which AOL is but one.
> AOL (despite their own marketing assertions to the contrary) is NOT the
> Internet, but simply a means to that end. AOL surely doesn't mind the
> confusion, because as interest in the Internet continues to grow, unknowing
> consumers are more easily manipulated into purchasing their inferior
> service. It is incidents such as those described in this article that
> point out AOL's shortcomings; presenting these events as having taken place
> on the Internet is plain irresponsible, and mis-leading! More and more, we
> see article which do not make this distinction properly, and more and more
> people are left thinking that the sorts of reprehensible activities which
> are almost exclusive to AOL (this type of credit card scamming, via AOL's
> "Instant (not 'Internet') Message" function, the recent Justice Dept. child
> pornography sweeps...) are actually taking place on the Internet proper.
> Is the Internet an Eden-like place, free of cons, scams and perverts?
> Certainly not, but the fact that "THE INTERNET!" has become a dirty word in
> the popular media and on Capitol Hill is definitely exacerbated by this
> type of mis-informed reportage.
> Let's get some education here... you don't let your food editor report the
> weather, do you?
> ================================================
> Kevin dafler                   | "I know there's a Devil; the son-
> Dorffler@inforel.com      |    of-a-bitch keeps making commercials!"
> ================================================
>                          http://www.inforel.com/~dorffler
> ================================================

From: NO_UCEcujo@pacbell.net (Rich Maher)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: Same old double talk from AOL...
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 1997 08:32:26 GMT
Organization: Very...

America Online Inc Chief Financial Officer Lennert Leader said "We're not seeing any extraordinary churn in the business," Leader told reporters after a presentation to investors at the Robertson Stephens technology conference here, referring to levels of subscriber turnover following the company's well-publicized difficulties with network access.

"Naturally, we see somewhat higher churn, but again it was nothing unusual and our expectation is that once the network is built out, we'll get back to historical or even better" subscriber growth trends, he said.

[The spin doctor at work...]

Earlier, he told investors he thought brand identity and high ratings for AOL's ease of use had caused customers to complain about access problems after the company went to flat-rate pricing in December.

[Oh, so the customer expected better than the crap you were delivering? What a fucking surprise...if that's not the biggest case of a firm grasp of the obvious, I don't know what it!]

Leader declined to discuss analysts' estimates for the company, but repeated it plans to spend $350 million to beef up its network access capabilities.

[How much of that is "other people's" money?]

"We see predictable consumer online buying patterns," he said in his presentation. "We are a nation of brand buyers -- we're seeking convenience. Convenience is king."

<beep..beep..beep..beep> <connection dropped>

Oh yah, _that's_ convenient...

Rich Maher (cujo)
Please amend e-mail address to <cujo@pacbell.net>
DALnet (#aol-sucks)
'To err is human, to forgive, canine.'

From: allanws@primenet.com (Allan W. Schlaugat N9ISN)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks,alt.online-service.america.online,alt.aol.rejects,alt.ameri ca.online
Subject: Re: The Fetching Steve Case Commercial
Date: 19 Feb 1997 02:34:03 -0700
Organization: Brotherhood of Winter Haters

>On 11 Feb 1997 06:15:49 GMT, mcgatney@access.digex.net (DAwn,
>(hv)) wrote:
>>DAwn Writes----->>>
>> Seen the fetching Steve Case commercial where the kindly CAse,
>> wearing an AOL T-shirt, says in effect, "We gave you flat-rate
>> because you wanted it, we underestimated just how much you
>> loved us, and we're working day and night to increase our
>> capacity to match our popularity?"  Seen that one?

Heh! Yeah.. a laugh riot!

>> Anyway, CAse notes that AOL will be adding 150,000 modems by
>> the end of June to handle all this extra love for AOL that
>> flat-rate has brought to the surface.  And then, in the next
>> breath, he gloats, "And that'll mean we can handle 6,000,000
>> more sessions a day."


The one thing that stands out about that ad...... The part where he gloats about the fact "our technicians are working AROUND THE CLOCK working on the problems on the network" (paraphrased) and there is a shot of two minimum wage garbage cleaners looking at a LAPTOP COMPUTER on a card table!! My daughter said it best: "Is AOL really run on a laptop computer??"


Check that ad out.. it wins my award as the best anti-AOL TV ad I have ever seen. Yes, it beats that wonderful black screen with the busy signals Compu$erve ran during the SB.

If someone is good at MST3K parodies.. give that new AOL ad a try. It is ripe for a rippin'....

Allan W. Schlaugat allanws@primenet.com
Eau Claire, WI USA Amateur Radio: N9ISN

From: artstone@ibm.net (Art Stone)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: AOL 10-Q (Oct-Dec '96)
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 1997 21:17:06 -0500


AOL's 10-Q for the 2nd quarter (Oct-Dec '96) is now available on Edgar.

Year to year, Revenue was up $160 million for the quarter.

Cost of Revenue was up $100 million, General and Administrative up $25 million, and Marketing was up $94 million.

For the 6 months, AOL's cash position "improved" by $11 million because:

Prepaid expenses dropped $22 million
Accounts Payable increased $27 million
Prepayment of accounts increased $51 million
Short term investments of $10 million were liquidated
Preferred Stock of $15 million (Asia AOL) were sold
Common stock of $21 million was sold

From the notes:
============== The Class Action Lawsuits ==============
The Company is currently a party to numerous class action lawsuits filed on behalf of subscribers who are seeking damages in connection with difficulties in accessing the AOL service after the introduction of the Flat-Rate Plan. The Company does not believe that these lawsuits will result in a material liability for the Company.

====== Subscriber retention & Flat Rate Pricing =============
The Company experienced generally lower overall retention rates for the AOL service during fiscal 1996 compared to fiscal 1995. [...] with the largest quarterly percentage decrease occurring in the fourth quarter of fiscal 1996.

================= Future Subscriber Revenue =================
Overall average monthly online service revenue per AOL subscriber in fiscal 1997 is expected to be lower than in fiscal 1996.

=============== Escalating Costs ===============
[...] costs associated with the temporary renting of up to 50,000 additional modems from outside suppliers, which will assist the Company in meeting the demand for its online service, are expected to negatively impact gross margins.

For the three months ended December 31, 1996, product development costs increased from $10,330,000 to $21,673,000, or 110%

For the three months ended December 31, 1996, general and administrative expenses increased from $23,986,000 to $48,810,000, or 103%

============== Building the network ===========================
The Company leases the majority of its facilities and equipment under non-cancelable operating leases, and is building AOLnet, its data communications network, as well as expanding its host server and data center capacity. The buildout [...] requires a substantial investment in telecommunications and server equipment, as well as facilities, which the Company plans to finance principally through leasing and asset-backed debt financing.

============= The Bisks flood isn't over ===============
The Company plans, after a <blink> short-term </blink> slowdown in marketing while the Company increases its network capacity, to continue to invest aggressively in subscriber acquisition marketing and content programs to expand its subscriber base, as well as in network, computing and support infrastructure.

Art Stone
Get the "scoop" on using AOL's secret access numbers.

From: NO_UCEcujo@pacbell.net (Richard Maher)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks,alt.online-service.america.online,alt.aol.rejects,alt.america.online
Subject: AOL hacker day ...was The TRUTH ABOUT Mimi Khan EXPOSED!
Date: Fri, 14 Feb 1997 22:33:15 GMT
Organization: Very...

On Fri, 14 Feb 1997 21:05:06 GMT, njkahn@hooked.net (Mimi Kahn) wrote:

>On 14 Feb 1997 17:17:09 GMT, mcgatney@access.digex.net (DAwn,
>(hv)) wrote:
>> (In other news (sorry), isn't today the day that the hacker/ cracker
>> community has decreed to be AOL-Hell day?)
>I wonder if anything is actually happening over there. Where are the
>a.a-s regulars with AOL accounts? Inquiring minds want to know.

It was incredible...I dropped into the chat pits at 14:30 PST and the hackers had implemented some type of program that had turned every person on AOL, save me, into utter morons:

OnlineHost:	*** You are in "Town Square - Lobby 640". ***
Alovatak:	What's up?
D RAB 003:	nothin' much.  where from?
Alovatak:	Alabama
D RAB 003:	really?  im from Florida!
D RAB 003:	Pensacola
Alovatak:	cool. Ive been to Disney world a few times. Do you
live near there?
Leeko24:	helloo
Leeko24:	i do
D RAB 003:	nope.  have u ever heard of Pensacola, FL?
Alovatak:	nope.
D RAB 003:	its in the panhandle right near Alabama.  Mobile is an
hour away.
Alovatak:	cool. Do you have a boyfriend?
D RAB 003:	nope, but that's fine by me.  im not looking for one,
nor do i desire to have one at present
D RAB 003:	do u?
Alovatak:	not at the moment. my so called "best friend" was goin
out with him behind my back.
D RAB 003:	really? that's sad.  who was she going out with? your

OnlineHost:	*** You are in "Town Square - Lobby 661". ***
DBowers621:	why
ARN 40:	any teens here
JUGGY 001:	age/sex is stupid
DBowers621:	yes
Diddle7274:	yes
ARN 40:	age\sex check
JUGGY 001:	me?
BECK1597:	racecar
DBowers621:	14m
RevMansn8:	duh
ARN 40:	m 17
JUGGY 001:	thanx!
Diddle7274:	15/f
ARN 40:	Manson rules
BECK1597:	manson sucks
JUGGY 001:	222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222
DBowers621:	what
RevMansn8:	If I cant have u then NO ONE will
ARN 40:	beck you suck
BECK1597:	3333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333
JUGGY 001:	who?
JUGGY 001:	333333333333333333
BECK1597:	4444444444444444444444444444444444444444444
DBowers621:	stop
DBowers621:	p
DBowers621:	p
[8 more lines of the same]
ARN 40:	stop
DBowers621:	p
DBowers621:	p
DBowers621:	p
JUGGY 001:	Rev, who do you want?
BECK1597:	5
BECK1597:	55
[9 more lines of the same]
NoDoubtMS:	age/sex check?
BECK1597:	5
BECK1597:	5
[5 more lines of the same]
JUGGY 001:	NO!
ARN 40:	m 17
DBowers621:	14m
Keroppiaad:	15/f
JUGGY 001:	no more age/sex!
Diddle7274:	f 15
RevMansn8:	NoDoubt?yuk! What does MS stand for MY SCROTUM?
Keroppiaad:	15\f  white girl              15/f  black girl
RevMansn8:	?
JVinsonjr:	hello
JUGGY 001:	62
JUGGY 001:	+654
Diddle7274:	bye

OnlineHost:	*** You are in "Town Square - Lobby 655". ***
Kissalive8:	bye cow
MBerger19:	define a real lady for me sugar
PoloBEAR20:	Hey Whats up everybody
STP5171229:	hi
PoloBEAR20:	{S Welcome
Kissalive8:	anyone wanna talk about being alive ??
STP5171229:	wheres everyone from?
PoloBEAR20:	{S Hello
Kissalive8:	Detriot
MBerger19:	ruby whats a real lady
Ruby19790:	someone who knows how to have fun
PoloBEAR20:	Hey how come that didnt work??
MkWrd:	Greetings from San Francisco.
MBerger19:	what do you do to have fun
PoloBEAR20:	Does anyone Have any gifs?
Kissalive8:	{s welcome
MkWrd:	Hey Kissa!
Ruby19790:	:-)
Kissalive8:	{S WELCOME
Ruby19790:	:-)
PoloBEAR20:	Hey kissa
Kissalive8:	hello there
PoloBEAR20:	Lets get together and kissa

Rich Maher
(cujo) #aol-sucks (DALnet)
Amend return address to cujo@pacbell.net
To err is human, to forgive, canine.

From: artstone@ibm.net (Art Stone)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: AOL: The Day After
Date: Fri, 07 Feb 1997 19:26:46 -0500

Thursday, AOL announced 2nd quarter earnings (Oct-Dec '96).

AOL's loss for the quarter totaled $154.8 million, including one time losses for shutting down GNN and the Busy Signal refund of $98.6 million. Stockholder Equity as of 12/31/97 now stands at $38.8 million, or roughly $.42 per share.

AOL's "working capital" has plummeted to a
***---> *negative* $193 million <--------***

(Current bills without money to pay them)

This is as of December 31st, -before- AOL announced its plans to spend $350 million. Is someone planning on lending AOL $550 million between now and June?

Revenue from subscribers was $351.2 million with $58.2 million from other operations. The makes subscriber revenue at about $16 per member per month.

Curiously, AOL reports that ANS, AOL's networking subsidiary had record revenues of $38.7 million. ANS's biggest customer is AOL Networks. I wonder if AOL is including what AOL pays ANS (itself) for running AOL's networks is being included in AOL's consolidated "Other revenue", thereby making it difficult to see how much of "other revenue" is really from advertising? Time will tell.

More than 80% of AOL's customers chose (many involuntarily :)) to convert to Unlimited time accounts.

Morgan Stanley, Cowen & Company and Smith Barney both cut AOL's rating today. (Friday) The analyst from Cowen & Company reduced his third quarter projections to indicate an estimated loss of about $.10/share

Cost of Revenues (mostly network costs) increased to 60% from 54%. Much of this was due to increased network costs (Probably Sprintnet charges, but it isn't clearly identified)

Marketing expenses for the quarter totaled $147 million, or about $122 per new member.

AOL is "renting" 50,000 modems for a cost of about $5 million per month. ($100/month per modem, more or less)

AOL says they will still have 10 million subscribers by year end (not clear if now they mean "calendar" year - the previous goal was based on the fiscal year, which ends June 30th)

AOL says that even with renting the modems, they won't have capacity to add new customers until April. AOL's "new" plan with the rented modems is to have the 350,000 modems online, with a 20:1 user/modem ratio by the end of April (let's see... Feb, Mar, April - 3 months!).

Oh, and AOL -now- says they probably will not make money in the current quarter (Jan-Mar).

The -most- significant thing (As I predicted) was that AOL did NOT release subscriber numbers for January. AOL has always, as far back as I have copies, hyped the subscriber numbers for the month following the quarter being reported. That was good marketing when the subscriber counts were going up.

The fact that AOL decided to suddenly change this behavior and not disclose the probable changes in subscriber patterns will surely be one of the items mentioned on the forthcoming stockholder class action lawsuit(s) (That is a -prediction-, not a statement of fact).

AOL closed down 2 1/4 at 35 7/8's on Friday on about 1.5 times normal volume.

Here is how AOL's perception of reality, given all the above is communicated in the press release on Business Wire yesterday:


Art Stone
Have you mastered the Internet? Take the quiz and see.

From: don@sirius.com (Don Hurter)
Newsgroups: ba.internet
Subject: AOL's service contract
Date: Sun, 19 Jan 1997 12:42:25 -0800
Organization: Sirius Connections

javier@YoyoDyne.ORG (Javier Henderson) wrote:

>Anyways, I just read the terms and conditions, just for the fun of it (I
>know, I should find another hobby). I can't see what 'contract' AOL
>is breeching. It doesn't say, anywhere, anything about modems not being
>busy, throughput being at least a certain level, etc.

It's implied. If they had no obligation to provide reasonable service, they could just install a single modem in any given city, and claim they offer access.

Which is not too far from what AOL is actually doing.

Customers have every right to be angry with a company that has out-gunned their competitors through massive marketing, when their competitors were instead spending their money on purchasing modems. Most ISP's struggle to maintain a user-to-modem ratio of between 10:1 to 15:1, which costs a lot of money. AOL instead spends their cash on marketing, not modems, and currently has a user-to-modem ratio of around 40:1.

There are thousands of ISP's who have offered flat-rate access for years, so none of this should be a surprise to the collective genii at AOL who engineered their 'unlimited' service plan. If some small start-up can figure out how many users they can service with a given number of modems, then AOL, with far greater resources, has no excuse whatsoever for not planning ahead. Instead, Steve Case claims that "We did some consumer testing and operations modeling to generate usage forecasts, and we began building extra capacity in advance of the December launch of unlimited pricing... But clearly we didn't go far enough. Usage is exceeding our most aggressive forecasts." I wonder what their most aggressive forecasts were?

If they didn't think that 8 million users could easily swamp two hundred thousand or so modems, then they are plainly incompetent to enter the 'unlimited' service market. But if they DID know of the problems beforehand, and tried to get away with it anyway, then they were being dishonest to their customers. (Which is why we have a legal system, however imperfect it might be.) I'm not interested in bashing AOL for all their lesser transgressions, but if I were one of their customers, I would join this class-action suit just on general principles. This is a problem entirely of their own making.

-- Don

From: <JimH1982@postoffice.worldnet.att.net>
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: AOL's Roach Motel; You can check in .......
Date: 5 Jan 1997 05:47:47 GMT
Organization: AT&T WorldNet Services

AOL's service really sucks and their customer support sucks even more. But the best of all is trying to cancel the service. Try searching their information on 'specifically' how to quit. They give all this criptic bull, but no way to impliment. Finally I located how to cancel the service in the Terms Of Service (TOS) agreement. All you have to do is type Cancel at the keyword. Too bad nobody at AOL read the TOS because it doesn't allow you to cancel, but gives you an unreachable phone number instead. Well you call the number about 25 times before it quits hanging up on you (because too many people are already on the line attempting to dump the service). Best yet, once you get on the que, you can wait for another 45 minutes waiting to actually talk to someone. However, to keep things interesting, AOL's voice mail reminds you to please stay on line while (without giving a clue of how long the wait is) and thanks you for calling them. (The Thank-You is a true touch of class.)

Well it's good to know AOL cares so much about their customers. However, I hope some attorney will file a class action suit on behalf of people who have been damaged by AOL's failure to perform to their own TOS.

Personally, I would like to charge them what my time is worth. However, it does give a new meaning to the idea of the roach motel; you can check in but you can't check out.

From: "Frank&Arlene Hendricks" <afch@ny.tds.net>
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: re: an article in today's local newspaper
Date: 28 Dec 1996 14:30:47 GMT
Organization: TDS Telecom - Madison, WI


NEW YORK - Members of the Brooklyn district attorney's office had a surprise waiting for a Connecticut man who thought he had a rendezvous set with a 13-year-old girl he met through a computer online service.

The girl turned out to be an invention of the DA's squad and officers were waiting when James Barrows arrived at Gerristen Beach in south Brooklyn. He was charged with promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child, obscenity and giving indecent material to a minor, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said Tuesday.

Barrows, 55, of Madison, Conn., also was charged with engaging in sexually explicit conversations with a minor and sending e-mail showing a minor having sex. He is due back in court on Friday.

Prosecuters say Barrows drove about 100 miles from his central Connecticut home on Monday, prepared to meet what he believed was a 13-year-old he courted for four months via the AMERICA ONLINE computer service.

"This case should serve as fair warning to adults who would prey upon children that they will pay a heavy price for such conduct in this jurisdiction," Hynes said in a statement. /end of article/

/no comment other than support of entrapment, inducing paranoia and "somebody is watching you."/

I don't endorse what Mr. Barrows done but then again, this article falls far short of "hearing both sides of the story."

From: Bobt741
Subject: Cannot get a site to update

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


I have a site that has frequent changes. Yet AOL users complain that they are not seeing any changes. I have heard that the problem is something with the proxy server. How can I counter this problem? Does the Meta tag have anything to do with this?

This is really aggravating.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

       [ I had this problem as well, Bob.  Even hitting AOL's "Reload"
         button returned the old version of the web page. ]

Previous posts of the day

From: artstone@usa.net (Art Stone)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks,alt.internet.media-coverage
Subject: AOLSucks: More trouble in the big AOL "City"
Date: Mon, 09 Dec 1996 12:08:21 GMT
Organization: Sending Userid gbisc@ibm.net

Over the weekend, I stumbled onto yet another "Internet abduction" story. This alledged abduction and 20 hour torture happened after the woman met a Columbia University doctoral candidate whom she had met "on the Internet". (At least in this case, there was no corpse.)

One account of this Nando/Reuters story can be read at:


This morning (Monday), WCBS-AM Radio (New York City) reported one little detail that the original story lacked - the "Internet chat" where they met was an America Online Chat room (which last time I checked had nothing to do with the Internet)

Art Stone
Have you mastered the Internet? Take the quiz and see.

From: kelani@NOSPAMkelani.com
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: AOL's New Phone Marketing? Morons.
Date: Wed, 04 Dec 1996 16:05:36 GMT
Organization: Kelani HTML

There's nothing that pisses me off more than being woken from a sound sleep at 11am, except maybe being woken from a sound sleep at 11am by some Idiot trying to sell me an AOL book.

Here's how the conversation went, Obviously AOL is not making money online and really IS taking this 'media' thing seriously.


Me: mmmmmm.....whut?

Federico: Good morning! my name is Federico and I am looking for [real name smipped]

Me: ummm.. that's me.

Federico: Well, good morning [snip] I am calling because you were a valuable AOL subscriber and I'd like to offer you a new Book that will tell you *everything* you need to know about the net! It comes with a 30 day free evaluation period and a CD which is good for one FREE month on America Online! You get ALL this for only $19.95! Now all I need to do is verify your addresd and we can have this shipped out to you today!

Me: hold on a minute Jack

Federico: My name is Federico

Me: Whatever. I'm not interested.

Federico: Well [snip] let me tell you what this book can do! It teaches you all about the World Wide Web, how to check email, what Telnet is, how to save money using the Internet, and even how to post a USENET message!

Me: (silently laughing at at that one) Well, Federico, you see, I sort of own my own domain ON the internet, and I've been online in various forms for the past 10 years. I think I know everything in your little book and probably a lot more.

Federico: Well, you still need this book, because you can take what you know and compare it to what's in here, and see if you're up to date! Even for the most experienced internet user, this book has its place!

Me: I'll show you a place for that book... Look Federico, you've tried three times. I do NOT want the book! How long is that script of yours?

Federico: I'm not using a script, I read the book!

Me: Oh really? Can you tell me what the book says about setting up a delayed-trace dual-redundancy DNS server?

Federico: I think that's in Chapter 11 under 'Telnet'

(note to Art Stone: I "know" a delayed-trace dual-redundancy DNS server is an absolute bullshit term, I couldn't think of anything else in my early-morning stupor.)

Me: Ok, well, thanks Federico, I'm simply not interested. Goodbye

Federico: Ok, [snip] and thank you for shopping America Online, your best value!

*click* *fling....Krash*

After that little experience, I had to slam my phone against the boor. It was utterly traumatic.

AOL is Sucks, Federico is Sucks, AOL Books is Sucks.


From: "Olin K. McDaniel"
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: Truth in predictions
Date: Mon, 02 Dec 1996 21:48:26 -0500

Well, for those pundits who said when Dec. 1 rolled around that we would have trouble accessing AOL - they were correct in this area.

I've been with AOL for about a year now, and never before encountered a busy signal, either on the 28.8 or 14.4 local number. Until today, that is. I've been unable to access their system for the past 3 hours, all tied up with the wave of new "UNLIMITED USERS". Thank goodness for a little foresight - I reduced the service I had, instead of opting for a double cost service. I chose the $4.95 for 3 hours. Now I wonder if I'll even be able to use those 3 hours. Or if I'll even try much more. Maybe the smart thing is to cancel completely and do it quickly.

Olin McDaniel

Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Date: Tue, 03 Dec 1996 12:16:33 +0100
Organization: Union Bank of Switzerland

The help number given to new AOL customers 800-827-6364 is a JOKE! I've spent a large effort convincing a recent business contact to get ONLINE!! Now that he has an AOL account, he was pleased with the access. However, 3 days into having the account activated, he signs on only to receieve "INVALID ACCOUNT".

All attempts to get assistance from the 800 number are FUTILE! He calls repeatedly only to go through a lengthy recording, then hear that "all operators are busy...please call back later".

Hasn't AOL heard about ACD's!!!????

Get with it, AOL. You can't espouse "new technology" if you can't service your customer base with something as old-hat as Automated Call Distribution.

The problem is not resolved, but at least I now feel better having had the opportunity to rant and rave.

From: ABBAfan@[CLIP_THIS]hayburn.com (Gary Kirchherr)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: Re: AOL will rise to $200 a share by 1998
Date: Tue, 03 Dec 1996 18:17:17 -0500
Organization: Springfield Nuclear Power Plant

In article <19961203200700.PAA12696@ladder01.news.aol.com>, jhunter234@aol.com wrote:

> you heard it here first

jhunter234, using hallucinogenic drugs while online is a violation of America Online's Terms of Service. Please enter keyword: TOS now!


A friend told me to try America Online.
I said, "Why? I've got a brain!"


The post below follows a Chicago news story

From: gbisc@ibm.net (Art Stone)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: Re: Pedophile used AOL - Held with out Bond in Chicago
Date: Fri, 29 Nov 1996 05:15:50 GMT

"Michael J. Domark Jr." wrote:

>This evening on the 4:30 news they had the following story:
>Athough the Chicago Tribune says the Internet, The Channel 2 news
>reporter made references to AOL.

Are you aware that the Tribune Company owns over 4 milion shares (about $140 million) in AOL common stock?

Art Stone
Have you mastered the Internet? Take the quiz and see.

From: gbisc@ibm.net (Art Stone)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: AolSucks: AOL has a *NEW* Class Action lawsuit
Date: Tue, 26 Nov 1996 05:02:50 GMT

C/Net is reporting this at:


AOL is being sued in New York in a class action suit over the $9.95 to $19.95 account conversion.

Back on November 3rd, gbisc@tir.com made this astute prediction:

>The email-only accounts don't hear that their rate is going up to
>$19.95/month, and 3 or four months into next year, this newsgroup will be
>flooded with complaints when people finally do their semi-annual check of
>their credit card statements. Expect another class-action lawsuit.

Art Stone
Have you mastered the Internet? Take the quiz and see.
From: soloingles@aol.com
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: "AOL is the AOL" guy
Date: 14 Nov 1996 08:17:02 GMT

A while back in this newsgroup, someone had in their sig file, "AOL is the AOL of on-line services."

That always seemed kind of circular to me. I propose it should be....

     "AOL is the BARNEY of on-line services."

Discuss among yourselves. (Who *was* it that had that in their sig?)

[Sorry for the earlier post. I was trying to indent the paragraph above, but AOL interprets "tab" as "Move my cursor over the SEND button"...and the space-key as "Send".]

[I'd "CANCEL" the post, but that requires cutting and pasting the message-ID from the newsgroup post into an e-mail message to the designated-canceller on AOL.]

Anyhow, enough about my problems. Remember...

            "AOL is the Barney of On-Line Services."

|___  Done with space key.

From: cjenkins@mindspring.com (Cujo)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: FBI Agent and 6 computers...
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 1996 02:07:46 GMT
Organization: Dead Bisk Poet Society

An interesting note.

The other day whilst listening to NPR, the broadcaster had this to say about the internet.

It seems that in an effort to curb child pornography the FBI has brought on a whole "Task Force". The Task Force consists of an agent in a office room with 6 computers located somewhere in Maryland.

The agent has posed as a underage female in AOL chat rooms to determine the amount of activity that actually occurs. It seems that he received over a hundred *un-solicited* pictures of material that could be considered child pornography.

What I really wonder is how many times did someone do either an age/sex check or tried to *phish* him ? B-)


Subject: Re: AOL and the newsgroups...A question
From: Becky Boone <sis@mindspring.com>
Date: 31 Oct 1996

ATC Shane wrote:
> Ooops, also...
> << Can you connect to IRC through AOL?>>
> Absolutely. It all works.

I have been a lurker here for two years, so I think it's time to post; expect a ramble.

No, it does not all work. We have hundreds of AOL users writing to us every day because they cannot get onto our chat server, which AOL does not allow because it's not one of their servers. We are, of course, accessible to anyone with a real Internet account. Our Web staff is largely former AOL remote staffers, myself included, and we run our chats the way chat should have been on AOL - civilized, intelligent, funny. Perhaps that is why AOL'ers are not allowed to come visit. Of course, our having boot and gag tools make good chats possible.

I downloaded the Mac AOL 3.0 beta yesterday, just to see if it was an improvement, and if it gave me faster Internet access from AOL (and if I could access our chats from AOL). Nope, same old lame InterCon browser, though I know MSIE will replace it since AOL got in bed with MS and shafted Netscape. The AOL software also ate my TCP connection, and I had a lot of deleting and re-configuring to do before I could get back on Mindspring and real Internet access.

As a former AOL staffer, I still have an AOL account with megacredited hours from the work I did for them. Of course, I will lose those with this new payment plan. Am I surprised? No. Will I pay to keep an AOL account? Probably not, since my heart is on the Internet, and at this point, the only thing I like better about AOL is the ease of finding and downloading shareware. And yes, I have tried shareware.com and other sites, but AOL is simply easier.

Make no mistake: AOL is not a full-service Internet provider, but will probably become one out of necessity. I feel sorry for those trying to browse the Web from AOL.

AOL is clearly moving toward an advertising-supported model, and will undoubtedly become profitable. If you had a magazine or newspaper with a circulation of 6,000,000, the ad rates would be mind-boggling, and you could literally afford to give away the service to make the ad money.

My major current complaint with AOL is their shabby treatment of remote staff volunteers, the people who built the service into the success it is today. I have my own horror stories about overbilling, poor service, long phone waits, and "have you checked your modem string" suggestions, as if my modem string that had worked for years suddenly morphed itself into something defective. But those stories pale beside the cavalier treatment of folks like myself who truly, idealist that I am, believed in the community we were building on AOL, were willing to pay our own money to create that community, and believed that we were valued for the time, energy, and care we expended to help AOL to grow. Of course, this new model of $19.95 for unlimited time totally eliminates the need for remote staff to host chats on AOL and keep people online. When members were paying by the hour, it was advantageous to keep them talking as the meter ran. Now, it's a disadvantage, i.e. will cost AOL connect time. What will count now is not the time members spend online but the numbers of people viewing ads.

Make fun if you like, but it was an amazing thing to be part of, and Adam, I don't think you were stupid to do it; I did too. I have been online since 1983 (with Compuserve), and with AOL since 1991, and I was proud to help build the forum I volunteered in into the largest on AOL. However, in several significant and painful ways, I learned that I was expendable to the corporate machine. Lesson learned.

Now I am using those skills to build community on the Web, and you know what? I find more civility here, more helpfulness, more democracy, and more fun than I ever found on AOL. Perhaps it's because most of the Webmasters I know do this for the love of it, and while we all hope that we can make enough money to support our sites, that's only part of why we are here. Sure, there are some jerks here too, but it's easier to deal with them myself than to rely on TOS.

I have moved most of my relatives and friends off of AOL and onto Mindspring/Internet accounts, and they are all happy. It's harder to set up, and initially harder to learn to use, but the benefits of being able to have a customized setup are worth the trouble. I guess it's the difference between those who buy a Packard Bell and those who choose their own hard disk, modem, tower, monitor, CD-ROM, power supply, etc. and build their own superb machine from the best available choices.

Becky Boone, Ph.D.

Previous posts of the day

From: kmennie@chat.carleton.ca (K.M. Mennie)
Newsgroups: alt.religion.kibology
Subject: Re: Pooh vs Paddington
Date: 21 Oct 1996 23:44:00 GMT
Organization: Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada

Paul A Sturm (stur0028@gold.tc.umn.edu) wrote:
> Anyway, I posited this question to a friend of mine. Who would win,
> Winnie the Pooh, or Paddington Bear?

I saw a bra'n'panties set today with Pooh printed on it (Disneyized Pooh, not Shepard's Pooh -- his is presumably printed on tablecloths or something, and he and Milne are both rolling and vomiting in their graves). A curious combination. `Sex and childhood, together at last.' Oh, wait, that's AOL. No mind.

I don't know what that bra means for the contest, though.

I'll give Paddington the upper hand, though, since he's got a suitcase to whack Pooh with. And Paddington doesn't have that wimpy Christopher Robin following him around everywhere, hallucinating about pigs in striped shirts.

That said, I venture that Teddy Robinson would win over both.

<news:alt.fan.kia-mennie>                       <web:http://aaln.org/ht_lit>
From: richj@superlink.net (Rich Jankowski)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: His boy Adam!
Date: Tue, 01 Oct 1996 16:18:59 GMT
Organization: Saturnlink Technologies - http://www.saturnlink.com/

I guess desperate times call for desperate measures. AOL seems to have got a new ad company working for them. Gone are the daze of Adam West (Who's doing the Psychic Friends Network now, BTW), AOL has got a new strategy.

Their new commercial, to the tune of "The Jetsons", shows the impact technology has on a family. They're driving the kids to school, while bullshitting on a cell-phone, pumping quarters into a coffee machine, and using America Online (!).

It pretty much has a trendy atmosphere where everyone gets their info from AOL. Whether it's a personalized newspaper, or the Internet a click away, AOL has it all. It gives it a hip-business type Greenwich Village look, like everyone who's fashionable is using AOL to download art.

One thing that hasn't changed:

Date: 10/01/1996
Time: 12:10:00
Last : 31 3/4
Change: -3 3/4


Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks,alt.stupidity,alt.religion.kibology
Subject: Re: New AOL "Jetsons" Commercial
Date: 1 Oct 1996 14:40:52 GMT

trandall@mhv.net wrote:
: Saw that new AOL commercial today. Man are they stretching it!
: Ruined a perfectly good cartoon song too!

AOL crashed George Jetson's computer. He tried to sign back on, but was told "Sorry, you're account is already logged in." As the billing kept going, he was heard to cry out...

"Jane, stop this crazy thing!"

Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
From: kelani@kelani.com (Kelani Larethian)
Subject: The Second Coming of the Bisks?
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 1996 10:08:30 GMT

Yesterday I went to check my snail mail, and I found the following in my box.

THREE 'new' 15 hour AOL Bisks

Somehow, they were all to the same address. I haven't received any in such a long time, I thought they had cut back production. Obviously I was wrong. I am scanning a copy of the Bisk cover itself, and it will bne under a 'Bisk' link at my http://www.kelani.com/aol/ site by 7am EST. These new bisks show a bunch of 20something people sprawled in some kind of group hug. it's quite comical, actually. I've seen the AOL members' gallery, and the people listed there are NOT the people on this booklet!

Grounds for false advertising?

Also, have you ever noticed, AOL won't do anything to improve their service, but they will pay graphic artists their high fees to create an ever-improved bisklet? Priorities. that's all these is to it.


"and he looked upon it, and it was bad"

From: "Josef Faulkner" (panther@gate.net)
Subject: Cyberpromo Ban Banned
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Date: 9 Sep 96 17:57:54 GMT

I think that AOL should not be able to block any spam it recieves from any sites. Considering how many of their users constantly flood the net with their ignorance, it is only equal that they accept as much spam as they send out. AOL takes the resources of the net and profits from them at a much higher margin of taking than giving back, and I say they should get as much noise if not more due to this fact.

Now AOL will have net-phone access, so they can eat up more of the net's bandwidth and resources, while they attempt to protect their own from the spammers.

I don't normally support the spammers, but in this case, I think AOL should not censor email based on address. It would be like the post office throwing away all of the junk mail for a certian city. I think it should be left up to the individual's decision to add spammers to their own killfile. If AOL doesn't supply their users with a killfile system, then they deserve to lose business. From: jkonarz@juno.com (Jason)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: Re: They're coming for you
Date: Mon, 19 Aug 1996 04:21:14 GMT
Organization: Netcom

destiny@crl.com (David Cassel) wrote:

>The St. Louis stop August 21 is at Union Station, 2-7pm. (Although either
>AOL's photographer is confused, or Union Station is a giant free-standing

The photographer must've had a bit too much to drink in preparation for the big trip... or actually... c'mon... do you really think they hired a photograher, or just stole a picture of the Arch from a website or something? (Remember AOL & that bikini case...?)

For your information since I remember someone mentioning trends for this road trip, Union Station is now a mall... Used to be a train station, but hasn't been used for that purpose for quite some time...

I guess I'm probably gonna end up checking this out...

Question: Should I wear my WOW! shirt for being a charter member, or my MSN beta tester shirt? : )

(I don't have any shirts from any ISP's... sorry...)

Jason (jkonarz@juno.com)
MMF scam information -- *without* spamming. :)

From: wendyg@cix.compulink.co.uk ("Wendy Grossman")
Subject: Re: WIRED Likes Us -- And Not AOL!
Organization: Compulink Information eXchange
Date: Sun, 25 Aug 1996 21:35:33 GMT

> alt.aol-sucks; and, let us not forget, 6) "You've got mail."

In the UK, it says, "You have Post."


From: mgscheue@io.com (Mark G. Scheuern)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: Ned Brainard on AOL
Date: 20 Aug 1996 14:15:06 -0500
Organization: Illuminati Online

Nice piece in today's Flux (http://www.packet.com/flux/) He quotes a "market sage" present at the conference call announcing AOL's fourth-quarter results as saying "They missed all key revenue-generation metrics, including subscriber additions and revenue per subscriber."

Also, this is in the current Wired:
"AOL Landfill: AOL disks have quickly replaced the Publishers Clearing house come-ons as the most irritating junk mail we receive. And that's not all. The disks are plastered across magazine covers, bundled with just about every software title imaginable, and even served with pretzels on airlines. One senses AOL is starting to get a little desperate in its attempts to feed a teetering growth model that can no longer scale."

I certainly cringe at the thought of AOL's promised Fall "re-launch". They've claimed to have drastically cut back on marketting for the summer, but I got _four_ bisks last week. If not a new personal record for me, it's close. And yesterday I got a GNN bisk. I hate to think of the coming onslaught from these monkeys.


From: jegelhof@cloud9.net (James Egelhof)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks,alt.online-service.america-online
Subject: Lawsuit Settlement Protest
Date: 2 Aug 1996 16:35:46 -0400
Organization: Cloud 9 Internet, White Plains, NY, USA

It's been a long time since I last posted to alt.aol-sucks :)

Last year, a class-action lawsuit was brought against America Online in California. That suit claimed that AOL had overbilled its users by rounding up connect time, charging for art, and providing a very slow service; the damages were put back then as being in the millions of dollars.

AOL, as you may know, is now trying to settle this suit. However, instead of reimbursing users for the money that was stolen from them, the company plans to give out near-worthless free hours. Also, as part of the settlement, AOL users permanently waive their right to sue AOL for other billing issues, such as illegal checking account deductions.

AOL would love to settle the suit this way. The plantiffs' lawyers, who are going to receive $2.75 million from AOL once the case settles, are also happy with it. The losing player in this arrangement is the AOL user. The only hope they have of getting a better deal is to protest.

The Why America Online Sucks site (http://www.aolsucks.org) has set up a Lawsuit Protest Petition. The list of signers-on will be presented to the judge when the time comes for him to rule on the suitability of the settlement. If enough AOL users reject this unfair agreement, then perhaps he will see our position.

Please consider paying a visit to the lawsuit section on the web site (
http://www.aolsucks.org/lawsuit/). If you know any current or former AOL users who haven't heard about what's going on, let them know; the lawsuit will be over and done with on August 24th unless action is taken.

Thanks for your time.



James Egelhof                                            jegelhof@cloud9.net

Cloud 9 Consulting, Inc.                                   +1 (914) 696-4000
White Plains, New York                                 http://www.cloud9.net

Joe Lawrence (joelawrence@sprynet.com) added this comment...

A class action may damage a smaller company but, as a rule, has very little long term effect on a big one. In fact, class action lawsuits have become the darling of big business. It allows a company to settle for a paltry sum, not publicly admit any wrong doing and be assured that they can not be suied again for the same offence. It is interesting to note that most companies come out of class actions stronger from an investment stand point. There are cases where companies even *pursue* such lawsuits knowing them to be cheaper to get out of the way now than to risk hundreds or thousands of individual cases down the road.

From: pilgrim@teleport.com (Vinny Hrovat)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: Re: Tuck FOS, what a joke.....
Date: Thu, 2 Feb 1995 17:22:15
Organization: Joe Bob's Kansas City of Japan

In article <3gmehj$9cr@newsbf02.news.aol.com> andrew686@aol.com (Andrew686) writes:

>Sexy Kathy (sexykathy@aol.com) wrote:

>>The chat rooms in AOL have become a joke. I was talking to someone in a
>>room about her newborn and discussing baby bottles. Just when we said
>>"nipple", a room guide came in and gave us a TOS (term of service)
>>warning. This while another room was titled "Jack me Off" and not getting
>>shut.....seems with all the rediculous shit going on, thisstock is a good
>>one to short......

>Kathy, I'm starting to wonder if you are really an AOL member for 2
>reasons. 1:You keep bitching about it(AOL), yet you still use it.
>2:You don't seem to know anything about AOL.

>For one thing, guides won't show up unless someone asks for one. It's not
>like they sit and watch waiting for a chance to pounce on you, you fool.

Incorrect. The "guides" regularly wander throught the chat areas, especially the areas with names which are in contention with fundamentalist christian beliefs, such as those for gays or atheists. Kind of like the rent-a-cops who randomly shine flashlights in your faces at rock concerts. Sometimes the guides will be invisible to the paying customers... big brother is indeed watching! Off duty guides, in their "plain clothes" screen names, often will sit in these chat areas too, not contributing to the conversation, just looking to harrass or "tell on" the paying customers.

>Another thing, rooms with names like "Jack me Off" are member-created
>rooms. TOS isn't enforced in those.

Horseshit. You're trying to tell the world that someone could go in create a public chat area name like "Fuck me raw", or use language like that in one of these rooms, and that would be acceptable by AOL's standards? Incorrect; Steve Case said as much in the addendum to his January status letter - the one about child pornography, remember? Case said those types of rooms and that type of discussion WERE against AOL's standards but it was difficult keeping up with enforcement. Probably because much of the "volunteer" staff is randomly harrassing people for talking about baby bottles.

Andrew, it's bad enough that you didn't have two facts to rattle together in your head when you posted here (all right, you didn't even have ONE fact...). It also seems that you're implying that it's ALL RIGHT to harrass and censor Sexy Kathy for talking about the business end of a baby bottle, because that's just the way they do things at AOL. You are PAYING for a service from America Online, and you have the right to complain, to negotiate, to ask for more, and to walk away if they continue their policies of subjective and unilateral harrassment. Actually, you're probably NOT paying, Andrew, but your parents are (just a guess), and i bet they'll be pissed when they see their credit card bill; at $2.95 / hour it gets expensive to keep up with these newsgroups and to sit around in chats exchanging party line misinformation.

>Quote from a no name:

Yeah i just quoted a no name and he didn't have much to say.

Ahhh, flames and coffee on a quiet afternoon... life is good.

  _/      _/  _/                                
 _/      _/      _/_/_/   _/_/_/    _/    _/    
_/      _/  _/  _/    _/ _/    _/  _/    _/     
 _/  _/    _/  _/    _/ _/    _/  _/    _/      
  _/      _/  _/    _/ _/    _/    _/_/_/       
"Omni ignotum pro magnifico est"      _/        
(Opinions expressed herein are mine, etc.)      

From: sexykathy@aol.com (SEXY KATHY)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: Tuck FOS, what a joke.....
Date: 31 Jan 1995 08:57:38 -0500
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)

The chat rooms in AOL have become a joke. I was talking to someone in a room about her newborn and discussing baby bottles. Just when we said "nipple", a room guide came in and gave us a TOS (term of service) warning. This while another room was titled "Jack me Off" and not getting shut.....seems with all the rediculous shit going on, thisstock is a good one to short......

From: toofisback@aol.com (ToofIsBack)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: Re: Tuck FOS, what a joke.....
Date: 3 Feb 1995 05:10:26 -0500
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)

But if you would notice and any given night, that 95% of ALL of the member rooms have something to do with either 1.)Sex 2.) Pornography 3.) Child Pornography. But yet they still do nothing about it.

From: mfranowski@aol.com (MFranowski)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: Germans! DESTROY AOL!!!
Date: 21 Jul 1996 16:52:29 -0400
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)

In Germany we have a paying method which the americans do not have. its called Lastschrift-Verfahren. you use it with a bank account called "giro-konto"

You can pay with it at AOL. aol can not verify the account number very as fast as they can it with credit cards. so you can use aol 2-3 weeks freely. then, when they got the picture and cancelled your account, you can do it another time. and another. that is cool.

so, try it!

-640k should be enough for everyone-
Bill Gates, 1981

From: artstone@tir.com (Art Stone)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: AOL Stock Watch - AMER closes below 30
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 1996 01:08:45 GMT
Organization: AOL Truth Squad

AMER closed at 29 1/2 today (Monday)...

During last week's market unrest, AMER dipped down to 27, but today's close was near the low for the day. Volume continues strong - well above the average volume. The trading range for the past 52 weeks is 23 7/8 through 71... In one or two more weeks, AMER will be trading at a 52-week low if it just stays in the high 20's

AOL's fiscal year earnings are due out around August 10th +/- a few days.

If this keeps up, those 26 million options at $13/share won't be worth a whole lot...

Art Stone (ex-AOL customer since 3/1/96)
Are you ready to leave AOL for the Internet? Take the quiz and see.

From: artstone@tir.com (Art Stone)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: Steve Case reassures Wall Street that Everything is OK
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 1996 01:41:39 GMT
Organization: AOL Truth Squad


Mr. Case telegraphed that AOL finished the year at 6.2 million members *worldwide*... He also indicates that earnings are OK and will meet the street estimates of $.16 per share.

It is worth mentioning that AOL seems to have an "extraordinary" one-time writeoff almost every quarter, which tends to make AMER have "earnings" from operations, but still wind up with little or no income...

At .16 per share and today's stock price close of $29 1/2, that still would be a PE ratio of 46.... beginning to enter the realm of reasonableness...

Art Stone (ex-AOL customer since 3/1/96)
Are you ready to leave AOL for the Internet? Take the quiz and see.

From: destiny@wco.com (David Cassel)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: AOL 3.0 is late
Date: 10 Jul 1996 17:38:35 GMT
Organization: West Coast Online, Inc.

Steve Case's July letter says AOL 3.0 for Windows 95 and the Macintosh is, of course, late. Case's promises are legendary; "some of our most active customers have been asking about 'heavy user pricing'" Case wrote -- in August of 1995 -- adding that AOL was also modifying the software so "you'll be able to enter new areas much faster and start exploring while the graphics are being sent". It took eleven months.


Now for today's riddle.

Q: How does Steve Case say "It's late"?

A:  "I've got good news for Macintosh and Windows95 members -- we're
     making terrific progress on the development and testing of the 3.0
     versions for those platforms, and we're on track for a Fall release!"


  destiny@crl.com   /\ ONGOING COVERAGE of class action settlement opposition
                  /    \     Do you support the proposed settlement?
               /__________\    http://www.crl.com/~destiny/time.htm
From: mgscheue@io.com (Mark G. Scheuern)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: AOL "most overvalued stock"
Date: 16 Jul 1996 06:49:27 -0500
Organization: Illuminati Online
Summary: WSJ on AOL stock
Keywords: AOL,sucks, stock,overvalued

Some interesting stuff in today's "Heard on the Street" column in the Wall Street Journal:

"David Rocker, head of Rocker Partners, a well-known New York hedge fund, considers America Online (which sank 8.4%,or $3.25, to close at $35.25 yesterday) the most overvalued stock in the market. He says that America Online is making the same mistake made by Apple Computer 'seeking to maintain a proprietary architecture,' while rivals have 'embraced the open standards of the Internet.'"

"Moreover, Mr. Rocker says, America Online's 'cancellations are running 1.4 million per quarter, net new sign-ups are way down from last year's level, and the company reported $14 million in net income for the last nine months only because [it] capitalized $200 million in marketing costs. The president, brought in with great fanfare, left after only four months.'"


From: destiny@crl.com (David Cassel)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks,alt.online-service.america-online,alt.aol.rejects,
Subject: Mandatory art downloads *worse*
Date: 5 Jul 1996 22:52:32 -0700
Organization: CRL Dialup Internet Access (415) 705-6060 [Login: guest]

I was on AOL tonight. When I went to sign off, I was told

        Please wait while we add new art to your system.

AOL forced me to wait while they downloaded artwork for an advertisement for Nick at Night before I could log off!

Below that ad was a plug for AOL's tips area. Incredibly, that area's slogan was "Make the most of your time online."

  destiny@crl.com   /\   UPDATED DAILY:  AOL Watch * Hackers, censors & disks
                  /    \      Saturday: Class action suit settled
               /__________\     http://www.crl.com/~destiny/time.htm

Visit the "Life on AOL" series...

From: Sean Smith (smthsen@bcvms.bc.edu)
Newsgroups: alt.religion.kibology
Subject: Re: Life on AOL - Part III
Date: 9 Jul 1996 08:53:12 -0700
Organization: Zippo

In article <4rkv3h$eu5@crl8.crl.com>, destiny@crl.com says...
>I was on AOL tonight. When I went to sign off, I was told
> Please wait while we add new art to your system.
>AOL forced me to wait while they downloaded artwork for an advertisement
>for Nick at Night before I could log off!

"Halt! Do not step away from your computer or you will be disintegrated! And now, we will download a 500 MB reproduction of 'The Scream.' Remember, if you attempt in any way to interfere with this procedure, you will be destroyed! Balok has spoken!"

>Below that ad was a plug for AOL's tips area. Incredibly, that area's
>slogan was "Make the most of your time online."

I think they meant that, while you're waiting for all the downloading, data transference, etc., you should read a book, pay your bills, give your raccoon a flea bath, conceive a child, and so on.

Sean ("Not necessarily in that order") Smith

{~"Music is the brandy of the damned." --G.B. Shaw~}

From: Dan Meredith
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: Re: New AOL to be supported by ads.
Date: Sat, 06 Jul 1996 18:26:27 -0600
Organization: IDT Corporation

If you are still on AOL you can download a utility called "art-valve" that will bypass all of the ads..automatically.I don't remember where it is but I downloaded on AOL when I was there and it really works!No more waiting for ad updates...It's shareware for around $5 but is worth the bucks..

From: knewkirk@pacifier.com (Kathryn Graham)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: Interesting News
Date: 6 Jul 1996 08:14:37 GMT
Organization: What organization?

[PC Week article deleted -- Editor]


This saves them from making nice with the droves of people who dumped the 'service' over the billing question to say nothing of others who gave up due to crappy access.

It will be interesting to see how much time they dole out to 'certain' customers. Time really means nothing to them as it's now the ads and commercial accounts they want to cozy up with. Tech support can hand out time in 3 hour blocks. This is going to be fun.


From: jaffo@onramp.net (Jaffo)
Newsgroups: alt.religion.kibology,biz.books,biz.general,biz.misc,alt.business,
Subject: Dear Business Week
Date: Wed, 03 Jul 1996 20:17:52 GMT
Organization: Crossroads Entertainment

First, let me congratulate you on your excellent product, Business Week Online on AOL. Your service delivers exactly as promised, every article, every week, Online.

I have a suggestion on a way you could improve your service that would mean a lot to me personally.

Every week, I go through your Online publication and I'm continually frustrated. Your articles are so good, that I feel the need to print them out for posterity. To show them to friends, file away for future reference, or perhaps just to capture those excellent photographs.

I don't have the disk space to store everything, but I'm willing to spare a little space in my paper files for these printouts.

That brings me to my idea.

Why don't you guys offer some kind of "Business Week Printout Service" where you can print out the full content of your Business Week Online section and mail the results to people who request it. Perhaps for a reasonable fee.

I think I would be willing to pay up to $50 a year for quality printouts of your publication. If you need to bring the cost down, I would even be willing to look through pages of commercial advertisements.

I would be happy to pay for these "transcripts" just to have a permanent record of Business Week I can pass on to my children.

It's a shame to have such a quality product vanish each week into some computer. I think this Printout Service would bring your publication to the cutting edge of Online technology.

Perhaps you can start a trend?

Thank you for your time.

Chief Executive In Charge of Wheel, Cog, and Bimbo Greasing
Certified In Bribery, Collusion, Graft, and Bimbo Eruption
Kibo For President Campaign, 1996

From: mgscheue@io.com (Mark G. Scheuern)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: NY Times on AOL email outage
Date: 24 Jun 1996 08:31:33 -0500
Organization: Illuminati Online

Today's New York Times reports, in an article entitled "When On-Line Service Cannot be Counted On", that "The electronic mail system of America Online, the largest commercial on-line service with more than 6 million subscribers, was knocked out for an hour Wednsday afternoon when a planned system software upgrade backfired." It continues "A spokeswoman for America Online said overall system reliability has improved significantly since 1994, when hordes of new users overwhelmed the service's network capacity, causing widespread shutdowns and slowdowns. The company also has periodic scheduled shutdowns for system maintenance."

Do they still have these "scheduled shutdowns" nearly every morning? It's also not clear to me how making excuses about AOL's problems with lack of network capacity in 1994 helps explain what happened on Wednesday.

From: declan@well.com (Declan McCullagh)
Newsgroups: comp.org.eff.talk
Subject: The Violence of Censorship -- An open letter to AOL
Date: 17 Jun 1996 08:49:04 -0700
Organization: EFF mail-news gateway

I was forwarded the following message about the latest sex-related speech suppression incident at AOL. After a visit to the web site in question, I'd say that Susie Block's ("Dr. Suzie's") web site falls within the compass of prohibited material that's defined by AOL's notoriously broad terms of service agreement.

What a surprise. Big news here, folks -- AOL is antsy about sex.

Of course, as with overbroad speech codes at private universities, AOL has the *power* to restrict this type of speech -- it doesn't mean that the company's actions are justified.

I spoke with the AOL supervisor, Lexie Haines, earlier today. She told me she's unwilling to comment "at this point" and might be willing to talk tomorrow. "I only just got in and read this email myself. I'd like to discuss the situation with the rest of my staff."


>Date: Sat, 15 Jun 1996 03:02:11 -0700 (PDT)
>From: Ben Schlaver 
>Subject: The Violence of Censorship: An open letter to Steve Case of
>  America Online
>A couple of days ago, America On-line shut down the account and website of
>Dr. Susan Block. This web site has been viewed by thousands of people in
>only a few months. Dr. Susan Block is the Director of the Dr. Susan Block
>Institute for the Erotic Arts & Sciences, best-selling author, host of the
>Dr. Susan Block Shows and Radio Sex TV on HBO.
>        The shut-down occurred completely without warning. Suddenly, we got
>a flurry of calls from fans who couldn't get into our website. Then we
>discovered that even we could not enter our own website. AOL would not even
>allow us to read our mail, let alone update our material or let Dr. Block
>answer her clients' inquiries. A total unilateral lock-out. After several
>calls to various AOL employees, Dr. Block reached AOL Supervisor Lexie
>Haines who agreed to look at the Website (which she'd never seen), and find
>out just what was so "offensive" that someone (who still remains anonymous)
>at AOL had decided to shut us down.  Following are notes e-mailed between
>the two of them over this incident of brute censorship on-line...
>Subj:   Home Page
>Date:   96-06-14 19:33:50 EDT
>From:   AMHaines
>To:     DrSuzyB
>Dear Dr. Block,
>I'm very glad that I had a chance to speak with you so that we could work
>out the details of reactivating your account.  I have had a look at your web
>pages and believe that I can now give you a much more clear idea of what
>type of content will need to be removed from your pages.
>There are numerous referrences to masturbation and giving ones self orgasms,
>these should be removed.  Discussion of genitalia will have to be removed,
>as will discussion of specific sexual acts.  I would reccommend that, rather
>than having the "Cyber Sex Toy Catalog" and the Video Catalog appear on the
>page, that you, instead, offer visitors a number or address through which
>they can get copies of the catalogs. Mention of S&M, B&D, swinging,
>threesomes, water sports and the like should also be avoided as should words
>such as "horny".  The photos of the cover of "Love" magazine and the one of
>the Chimpanzees having sex should come down.
>I understand that, as a sex therapist, some of this may seem a bit extreme
>to you but I sure that you also understand that our Terms of Service and
>Rules of the Road have been established with a very broad range of people in
>If you have any further questions you should feel free to E-mail me, I'll be
>happy to assist you in any way that I can.
>Lexie Haines
>Supervisor, Graphics Review
>Community Action Team
>America Online, Inc
>Subject:   Home Page
>Date:       96-06-14   19:40 PST
>From:      DrSuzyB
>To:         AMHaines (Lexie Haines)
>Dear Lexie,
>Your e-mail listing the "parts" of my web pages that you and/or AOL find
>offensive and that must be "removed" gives me no choice but to remove
>virtually all of the information I have on AOL that many thousands of your
>members have been grateful to access.  After all, as a sex therapist and sex
>educator, how can I educate people about human sexuality without references
>to "genitalia," "masturbation," or  "orgasm," or without discussing
>"specific sexual acts"?
>You write that you "understand this may seem a bit extreme" to me, but that
>your "Terms of Service and Rules of the Road have been established with a
>very broad range of people in mind."  What range of people?  The Ralph
>Reed-Pat Robertson-Phyllis Schaffley-Ayatollah Khomeini Koffee Klatch?
>Really, Lexie, I must say that I am horrified and astounded at the "broad
>range" of your squeamishness and the arrogance of your censorship.  As I
>told you over the phone, I am a very reasonable, cooperative professional.
>I am not some sort of salacious, exploitative kook.  I work within FCC
>guidelines and according to community standards for my radio and TV shows.
>I am a Yale graduate, best-selling author and respected lecturer in the
>field of sexuality.  I have spoken on the subject of sex in numerous
>universities, high school, bookstores, even in churches and temples, and I
>have never encountered such an absurd, sex-phobic, body-hating,
>diversity-loathing list of no-no's as you have e-mailed me.
>I hope to God, Lexie, that you and your ilke are not involved in the raising
>of children, because an attitude such as yours makes children grow up
>confused, tormented, and hating their bodies, themselves and the opposite
>sex.  Numerous studies (including those by developmental neuropsychologist
>James Prescott) have shown that this kind of pleasure-loathing,
>genital-fearing, shameful attitude contributes greatly to violence in our
>society, especially male violence against women.
>And yes, Lexie, I consider this attitude to be YOURS.  I won't allow you to
>hide behind the veil of hypocrisy that says "These are AOL's rules, not
>mine.  I'm just following orders."  We all know that the worst crimes of
>this century were committed by people who were just following orders.  Evil
>abounds when good people do not stand up for what's right.
>I think of you as a good person, Lexie.  You sounded so understanding on the
>phone, laughing in agreement when I suggested that censoring nudity and
>language on-line results in censoring some of civilization's finest works of
>art and literature.  Please don't stand by and let the evil of censorship
>thrive under your supervision.  When you start by censoring certain parts of
>the human body because they "offend" a few right-wing nuts, you next find
>yourself censoring great art (as those people following orders did), next
>women will be made to cover themselves head-to-toe as they must in
>fundamentalist countries, next books will be thrown out of libraries and
>burned, next "offensive" people will be locked up, and our society will look
>very much like Orwell's "1984" (which, by then, will have long been burned
>into oblivion).
>And so, Lexie, when everything is "cleaned up" and "pure" enough for the
>Popes and Ayatollahs and AOL Supervisors, we will wait for history and our
>children to judge us.  What will they say about the army of censors that
>charged through our times, excising parts of our bodies, acts of love,
>expressions of consensual pleasures and works of art?  They will say that we
>destroyed a culture.
>E-mail like yours makes me shudder for our future.
>Very sincerely,
>Susan M. Block, Ph.D.
>cc:  SteveCase@AOL
>Let Steve know what you think about this: 703.448.8700 (ask for Steve Case's
>*************Please distribute to all appropriate parties*******************
>Check 'em out:
>http://www.DrSusanBlock.com (http://members.aol.com/DrSuzyB/ until next week.)

From: bladex@bga.com (David Smith)
Newsgroups: comp.org.eff.talk
Subject: Re: The Violence of Censorship -- An open letter to AOL
Date: 20 Jun 1996 04:53:55 GMT
Organization: Real/Time Communications Internet customer posting

Rahul Dhesi (dhesi@rahul.net) wrote:
: In declan@well.com
: (Declan McCullagh) writes:

: >Of course, as with overbroad speech codes at private universities, AOL has
: >the *power* to restrict this type of speech -- it doesn't mean that the
: >company's actions are justified.

: I don't understand the problem.

It is not so much that AOL has terms of services (TOS) but that they are inconsistent in application, that there are clear double standards, that the enforcement doesn't make much sense, and in this case enforced without adequate notification.

There is no reason that Lexie whoever couldn't have examined the web site and ask for material to be removed *before* they shut it down.

: It's a global market. Somebody who
: chooses to gets Internet connectivity via AOL is not obliged to also
: choose to keep Web pages there. There must be a few thousand other Web
: page providers that would not mind hosting the Web pages in question.
: And from AOL you should be able to telnet/ftp/http to any of them.
: --

Agreed 100%. Let your checkbook do the talking.

But that doesn't mean you can't call AOL goon squads, either, when they deserve it.

David Smith           *  Next EFF-Austin meeting: 
bladex@bga.com        *  Fifth Anniversary Cyberdawg
President, EFF-Austin *  Steve Jackson Games, 2700-A Metcalfe
512-304-6308          *  Saturday, July 20th, 6:00 p.m. to dusk

See also: AOL's policy is hypocritical

From: smythe@slip.net (Smythe)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: From alt.humor.best-of-usenet
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 1996 17:11:24 GMT
Organization: ConGlomCo, Inc

I had to share this one :)

From: rep@sky.net (REP)
Newsgroups: soc.men, soc.women, sci.med, alt.pagan, sci.math, sci.astro, uk.misc, soc.bi, rec.boats, rec.video, alt.beer, rec.nude, alt.rap, alt.slack, alt.rave, sci.chem, comp.arch, alt.bbs, rec.pets, alt.irc, alt.teens, sci.lang, sci.crypt, sci.econ, alt.wired, talk.bizarre

[Submitter's note: The "Blue Star" (kids tattoos laced with LSD) urban legend is circulating again.]

MORPH10625 (morph10625@aol.com) wrote: : This was forwarded to my email. I can't believe that people would do : this to children, it just shows how sick the world has become and how : scum like drug dealers would do anything to make money. I apologize : for posting this to newsgroups where it might not be strictly on : topic, but this is very important and should be of interest to : everyone!

- WARNING TO EVERYONE: If you have a computer or know who does, regardless of their ages, you should read this! A form of fake software, called "AOL FREE TRIAL OFFER" is given away free of charge to knuckle-draggers and mouth-breathers. It is either a small floppy diskette or a bright shiney CD. This software is soaked with free hours in order to addict the unwary to this braincell-destroying on-line service.

The inks used on the packaging react with the moisture and oils in your hands, and SIMPLY TOUCHING IT is likely to cause huge bills and the uncontrollable urge to post urban legends just about everywhere.


Symptoms to watch for include: hallucinations, mood swings uncontrolled vomiting, drop in body temperature, dizziness, severely dilated pupils, and severe vomiting. Up to an hour can pass between contact with AOL and the beginning of the AOL "trip". If you suspect that someone has become a victim of one of these free software diskettes, you must take him or her immediately to the hospital and call the police.

These usually come wrapped in shrink-wrap. Some have been reported to have different designs, but the FREE HOURS design is the most common.

NOTE: Please feel free to reproduce this article and spread it within your community and work place. This danger must be made known. Distribute the warning as wide as you can, this is growing faster than we can warn parents and professionals.
- Moderators accept or reject articles based solely on the criteria posted in the Frequently Asked Questions. Article content is the responsibility of the submittor. Submit articles to ahbou-sub@acpub.duke.edu. To write to the moderators, send mail to ahbou-mod@acpub.duke.edu.
Smythe                                                  smythe@slip.net
Secret message for Federal CDA Greppers follows:
Fuvg, cvff, shpx, phag, pbpxfhpxre, zbgureshpxre, gvgf!

Pursuant to US Code, Title 47, Chapter 5, Subchapter II, 227,
any and all nonsolicited commercial E-mail sent to this address
is subject to a download and archival fee in the amount of $500
US.  E-mailing denotes acceptance of these terms.

From: bunny@cam.org (T'Caro de Vulcain)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: Dozens of AOL disks in the building's trash !
Date: 15 Jun 1996 04:01:38 GMT
Organization: CAM

Last week, as I came home, I saw a bunch of AOL "introduction" packs in the trash can that usually sits empty next to the row of mailboxes in my building. Most people that live here don't even own a computer and still, they got this nice little package adressed to them personnally. Mine also went to disk heaven since, of course, they sent me a WIN95 disk and for some "unknown" reason, my Mac just won't let me install the thing (!!)...

They did the same at the office and sent each and every employee their own little package and all of them _also_ took a trip down the alley with the garbage man. I can't recall ever seeing that many of the same publicity item being thrown out unopened !

What a waste, really, what a waste, no wonder they overbill people over and over, they need money to pay for useless maillings such as those. Where the hell do they get their mailling lists from anyway ?!!! Geeeeez ! ...and to think such a poorly run network actually has peying users, dear Lord !

From: nickb@primenet.com (Nick S Bensema)
Newsgroups: alt.religion.kibology,alt.society.generation-x,alt.doobry
Subject: Re: Things that make you say..."Hmmmmmm."
Date: 13 Jun 1996 18:51:02 -0700
Organization: Primenet (602)416-7000

In article <4pq7u7$k1b@doc.jmu.edu>, Lee S. Bumgarner <bumgarls@falcon.jmu.edu> wrote:

>Bill Introduced to Ban Ads TV for Liquor
> WASHINGTON (Reuter) - A bill to ban liquor commercials on television
> and radio will be introduced Thursday in Congress, Rep. Joseph Kennedy
> said.
> Kennedy was responding to the decision by Joseph Seagram and Sons to
> begin running television commercials this week for whisky on KRIS-TV,
> the NBC affiliate in Corpus Christi, Texas.

When I get elected to Congress, I will ban all commercials.

Starting with liquor. The beer-to-girls association is just the most misleading dreck one can scome up with. As it the beer-to-volleyball association, beer-to-sports, and beer-to-television association.

Within six month they'll establish a beer-to-Internet association, and if you thought AOL was bad up to now, wait until those 500 million subscribers start posting drunk!

N i c k  B e n s e m a  <nickb@primenet.com>   KUPD Red Card #710563   ,-._|\
" " " "  " " " " " " "  """"""""""""""""""""   '''''''''''''''''''''  /      \
On 22 July, 1996, at 6:00 pm GMT, everyone in the world     Phoenix-->*_,--._/
just START HUMMING.  Those who don't know will freak.              Tucson-->v

From: radix@pentagon.io.com (())
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Date: 18 Jan 1995 02:16:59 -0600
Organization: Illuminati Online


ObAlt.aol-sucks: Well, I decided to take an advanced psychology class at UT this semester for fun. When I went to the University Co-op last night to buy the text for it, you'll never guess what I found printed on the fucking back. Actually, you probably will... Yup, a fucking AOL advertisement similar to the one on the McDonald's bag...

...On my friggen $65 psychology text!!

Now every damn time I pick up that book I have to look at their stupid advertisement...mother fuckers...FOAD, AOL.

From: bechtel@email.unc.edu Andrew Bechtel at University of North Carolina, Chapel H
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks

The distribution of campus phonebooks was delayed this sememster at UNC-Chapel Hill because each book was shrink-wrapped with an AOL disc. Everyone should have the new directory by Thanksgiving, according to the Daily Tar Heel student newspaper.

Now, why any student or faculty member would want AOL when they have free Internet access thru the university is beyond me...

From: me
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks
Subject: Destroy America Online Finacially
Date: Sat, 08 Jun 1996 12:19:30 -0700
Organization: none

i used to be a member of aol. they constantly ripped me off so thats why im anti-aol. keep on calling there 1800 number and request a software package on cd. the cds cost them atleast$5 per person they send them to. the cds cost them the most money

                        -matt ex-customer since april

From: dpinero@pobox.com (David Pinero)
Newsgroups: alt.aol-sucks,alt.aol.rejects
Subject: Re: Phishers galore!
Date: Tue, 04 Jun 1996 12:34:51 GMT
Organization: Netcom

On Tue, 04 Jun 1996 05:22:40 GMT, herriman@cris.com (Richard Cretan) wrote:

>>Apparently, AOL hasn't solved its phishers problem with its little notes
>>on the bottom of IMs.

Here are some of the Post-Notice Phishings that have been tried:

** If your account is displaying our warning about giving out your password with with distorted punctuation at the end, please enter your password now to correct the problem. (The distorted punctuation, is of course, the emoticion that many newbies are unfamiliar with and which appears at the end of the message).

** Enter your password now to turn on pass-block, which offers protection beyond the simple password warning given below. Pass-block uses national caller-ID and is absolutely free.

** Enter your password to confirm that you understand the warning below.

** Attention, your new AOL password is (fill in the blank). Please go to member services and change your password to (fill in the blank again). If you do not wish to use this password, please enter your current password now to retain it. This message will reappear for your convenience every six months. Also, please note our security reminder below!

** Please help conserve passwords. Receive your next hour on AOL free by volunteering to use the password (fill in the blank). Go to member services. Once your password is changed to (fill in the blank) you will begin receiving free time immediately.

** Just a friendly reminder to never give out your password. To see if your password has been violated this session, enter your password now and wait for results.

....and the list goes on. As you can see, the little warning is not enough when dealing with newbies.

Dave **

                     David Pinero
    dpinero@pobox.com / http://www.pobox.com/~dpinero
 DigiCom, Inc. Web Site http://www.pobox.org.sg/~digicom

From: tdave365@aol.com (David Pinero)
Newsgroups: alt.america.online,alt.aol-sucks
Subject: Officials Surround AOL Compound
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 1996 04:43:42 GMT

APA Newswire -- March 18, 1996

Federal market-influencing authorities surrounded the compound of AOL cult-leader Stephen "Online" Case today in an early morning siege geared at ridding the marketing master of his stronghold, and freeing what authorities call "hostages of knowledge".

"We figure he's got 5 maybe 5 and a half million of'em in there..." said one official at the scene who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The task force, composed of authorities at Compuserve, AT&T, Netscape, Microsoft, and a handful of national internet providers; surprised the compound while henchmen were blissfullly backing up system tapes. Officials who arrived at the scene were first told by brazen system messages to "Return after 7:00 a.m.".

But officials did not retreat.

Just after 10:35 a.m., the following transcript of the hostage negotions with cult leader Case were released to the clammering media:

(Transcript Begins)

Task Force Commander (TFC): Steve Case! Come out with the flat rate! Do it NOW!

Steve Case (SC) (From an isolated window): Up yer ass copper! Make yer move and I'll fry'em all! Ya hear me!

TFC: Don't be stupid Case! Your number's up here! The Internet is too big for you to take on! Come on out now and we'll go easy on ya!

SC: Not a chance, flat foot! We're goin' on wid' "inte-grattion". Ya hear me!? In-ter-graaation! Fuck you all!

(spray of gunfire erupts from the window where Steve Case is shouting from. Heads duck all around.)

TFC: There's no chance in the world, Case! Think of your innocnet members. They have FAMILIES, LOVED ones....

SC: And I've gott'em ALL by the balls, Hoover-Boy! I've gotte'm ALL! So come take yer' best shot and woe this glorious day! My members are prepared to DIE! Woe unto us this glorious daaay!

TFC: Just lower your rates Case! The days of $2.95 an hour are OVER. You can't win this one, just do it and play nice! Don't make us play hard ball!

SC: It is NOT over. Never!

(more spraying of gunfire)

COMPUSERVE: Listen to him Steve! It's inevitable! Look--WE did it. We are your friend, Case. We only want what's best for you!

SC: You were weak! You're ALL weak! Bastards!

COMPUSERVE: No, Case. NO! We were not weak. But it's the future. The Internet is here to stay, and it's bigger and better than ANY of us! Now come out of there before you kill someone with those bytes!

NETSCAPE: It's true Steve! C'mon, -we're- pals aren't we!? GNN and Netscape (crosses fingers to demonstrate a tight bond). GNN and Netscape all the way! Waddya say old boy!?

(there is a long silence between anxious members of the task force and the madman held up inside. Suddenly, there is the faint sound of sobbing, and then a small voice which is that of a blubbering Steve Case)

SC (still sobbing): Netscape?

NETSCAPE: Yeah, Steve. What...what is it?

SC: I--I'm sorry I let Microsoft in.

NETSCAPE (taking deep breath and lowering head): I know you are Steve.

SC: I know Explorer sucks.

NETSCAPE (nodding): I know, Steve. We all know. We'll...we'll make it with GNN, okay?

SC: But, but...but I can't let go of $2.95 an hour. I just CAN'T!

(suddenly an ominous chanting comes from within the walls of AOL. It is described by witnesses as an eerie chant of death)

CHANTING AOL CROWD APPEARING ON ROOFTOP IN HUNDREDS: We want to pay $2.95 an hour...We want to pay $2.95 an hour...We want to pay $2.95 an hour...We want to pay $2.95 an hour...We want to pay $2.95 an hour....

AT&T: You've got'em brainwashed, Steve. You know it and I know it! Set them free Steve! Set them FREE!

(End of transcript)

At that point Case pulled out the holy "TOS", official scripture of AOL, and began reading it to the swelling mass of support from behind him. Authorities readied for an imminent attack upon the defiant leader.

Microsoft officials were later quoted as saying, "Our browser definietely does not suck. Hey, did Windows suck?"

More details will be released as they develop.