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AOL Hopes to Change Image With Services 197

Posted by Zonk
from the watch-for-low-flying-pigs dept.
Geoffrey writes "'In an effort to earn a new reputation as a leading Internet destination, AOL will open up to a wider audience on the Web through AOL.com. The portal will re-launch in beta form on Tuesday, offering visitors free Web mail, exclusive audio and video content, and access to a number of AOL services previously available only to subscribers,' reports BetaNews. The new AOL.com will highlight news from the blogosphere, offer free access to 15,000 videos, 130 radio stations, and 20 XM stations. In addition, AOL is launching an RSS aggregator that aims to make RSS actually simple for normal Web users. And unlike MSN's RSS endeavor, My AOL will work in Firefox, Safari and other browsers."
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AOL Hopes to Change Image With Services

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  • by coop0030 (263345) * on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @01:27PM (#12873809) Homepage
    Maybe if they didn't make it a bitch to cancel the service, we wouldn't be afraid to try them out again.

    Seriously, after canceling from them (I tried it for free for a month); I will never, ever, ever sign up with any of their services ever again.

    They like to put you on hold, and then keep offering discounts, and finally they will cancel your account...if your nice to them...after about 25 minutes of bantering back and forth.

    That is what ruined it for me. The free CD's don't even bother me.
  • MSN's RSS Endeavor (Score:5, Informative)

    by Carnage4Life (106069) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @01:31PM (#12873859) Homepage Journal
    The article links to the wrong URL for MSN's experimental RSS reader. The right URL is http://www.start.com/myw3b/ [start.com] and it works just fine in Firefox as well as IE.

    If you are interested in the developments of the RSS reader you can check out some of the blogs by the folks working on the reader such as Steve Rider [msn.com] and Sanaz Ahari [msn.com].

    Disclaimer: I work at MSN
  • by yellowbkpk (890493) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @01:46PM (#12874010)
    From their Member Agreement http://legal.web.aol.com/aol/aolpol/memagree.html [aol.com]:

    You can cancel your membership by delivering notice to AOL's Customer Service Department at 1-888-265-8008, by sending your cancellation request via US Mail to: America Online, Inc., PO Box 17100, Jacksonville, FL 32245-7100, or by fax at (904) 232-4879. Cancellation will take effect within 72 hours of receipt of your request, and AOL will send you written confirmation. If you cancel near the end of your billing period and are inadvertently charged for the next month's fee contact AOL at the toll free number above to have the charges reversed. AOL reserves the right to collect fees, surcharges or costs incurred before you cancel your AOL membership. In addition, you are responsible for any charges incurred to third-party vendors or content providers prior to your cancellation.
  • by shic (309152) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @01:54PM (#12874102)
    HERE, HERE!

    I've despised AOL ever since I tried their 28 day "no risk" free trial back in 1994-ish (I was in a bind and needed net access and their trial was the only option open to me.) I went from assuming it would give me net-access at noon to despair at their service at 2pm (having failed to download a 50K file over FTP) to cancelling my trial at 4pm after spending 2 hours on the phone to their customer services waiting in a call queue from hell. I was assured my trial would be terminated automatically if I didn't re-use my logon and password - so destroyed my only copies and forgot about it. A couple of months later I discovered that AOL had been drawing on my bank account WITHOUT MY PERMISSION for the service I had been assured was closed. I contacted AOL who insisted they had no record of billing me, so couldn't stop. I contacted my bank who pointed out that as AOL had taken SWITCH payment and not direct debit (as would have been in line with the bank's code of conduct for customer-absent regular billing) they couldn't help. As far as the bank was concerend either I made the purchase in person (and was liable) or it was criminal transaction - for which I was liable. To make matters worse my bank would not arbitrate the dispute as their policy precluded investigations where each charge is small-value... a fact I suspect AOL were aware. I was forced to declare my switch card stolen and suffer a week without access to my account... my only course of action to recover the stolen money would have been a private civil lawsuit against AOL - which, I'm sad to say, I didn't feel wealthy enough to bring.

    These days I try to warn others that AOL CAN'T BE TRUSTED instead.
  • Re:Sorry AOL (Score:3, Informative)

    by joeljkp (254783) <joeljkparker@nosPaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @02:35PM (#12874578)
    Pack up and go home? A coporation is indebted to its shareholders to maximize whatever value it can squeeze out of the legal side of the market. Companies like AOL should retool and go after something else, not close up shop completely.
  • Re:Sorry AOL (Score:2, Informative)

    by dp619 (893918) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @03:14PM (#12874963)
    You may have this deficit in your knowledge of AOL: They have 109.7 milllion uniques per month. This places AOL second only to Yahoo, which had 118 million uniques as of March 2005. With this audience they do have an opportunity to build a strong Web presence provided they do not screw it up. If you follow the progress of their betas you will notice that they arel istening. The latest example being the removal of AOL browser from AIM 5.9 as a forced install to replace the faceless AIM Today Window. Perception is just that. Look at what they are doing - especially with Search and Triton. SingingFish.com is pretty cool and Triton will be an 'open' platform to build on AIM. However, I would agree that their legecy is being a horrid ISP with a bloated client.

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