Wednesday, July 21, 2004

No more AOL for me

That's it! No more AOL for me forever and ever! I have had nothing but bad experiences with them.

It all started about two years ago when I moved to a new apartment. Remember, back then AOL was still doing pretty well as an ISP and could afford to be arrogant. I had just canceled my DSL after moving and needed an ISP, so I tried AOL's free 45-day dialup trial program. I simply couldn't get connected, even after registering for two different login names. Not wanting to pay for any "service" after the free trial period, I called their tech support to kill the accounts. Initially the guy on the phone was pretty polite when he was canceling my first account, but when I mentioned the second account, he turned nasty as if I was trying to abuse AOL. His remarks were in the line of "we have lots of customers, we don't need you". I did what any guy with dignity would - I vowed never to do business with AOL again, no matter how attractive their offerings are (and trust me, they aren't). Sure, an AOL "manager" called weeks later to apologize and attempt to sell me something, but the damage was permanent.

Fast forward to current time... Because I am using GAIM, I log in to all my instant messaging accounts simultaneously when I go online. AIM (AOL instant messenger) happens to be one of the accounts I log into. A few weeks ago someone started messaging me as if he/she knows me. I ignored the messages thinking it is probably some IM-spammer. Today I was really ticked off and answered the person. Now I don't know how true it is, but apparently a friend of his/her has the same screen name and he thinks I am her. This seemed less absurd when another guy messaged me at the same time believing I am someone else. After some unsuccessful explanation, I logged off AIM and emailed AOL to check if they have two AIM accounts in their systems. While not likely, anything could happen after that recent debacle where an AOL employee sold more than 9 million AOL account data to spammers.

Whether the AIM issue is genuine or not, I have had it with AOL. None of my friends are on AIM anyway. I used it mainly to experiment with, so I can cancel my AIM account without regrets. I will still wait for AOL's response, if any. In the mean time AIM is off my GAIM list.