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America Online

One Million AOL discs to be returned to AOL 736

nicedream writes "Two guys from California are trying to give AOL a taste of its own medicine. They're asking people to send them AOL discs, and they're going to drop them off at the company's doorstep once they collect 1 million discs. My favorite quote: "We're going to AOL and say, 'You've got mail"." seems like a better taste would be to dial out and use all 1000 free hours. A million people do *that* and I bet they'd stop filling our mailboxes with the landfill of tomorrow.
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One Million AOL discs to be returned to AOL

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  • Old? (Score:3, Informative)

    by no_nicks_available ( 463299 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @10:55AM (#4478967)
    I remember this from a year ago....
  • by bytesmythe ( 58644 ) <[bytesmythe] [at] [gmail.com]> on Friday October 18, 2002 @10:56AM (#4478975)
    It seems like if they're going to go through that much effort, they should send them to countries where there is a desperate shortage of drink coasters.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 18, 2002 @10:56AM (#4478977)
    They pay a lot of money to the post office, and this money helps keep the cost of regular mail, that you and I send, cheaper. If AOL stops, and other companies stop, we'll all end up paying more for our mail. So, I say, keep sending the discs!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      But what about what it costs tax payers for landfills? It's a "pay me now or pay me later" situation. And I, for one, would rather pay a little more postage than the alternative.
    • by AngryPuppy ( 595294 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:15AM (#4479209) Journal
      I can't say definitively that you are wrong, but I don't think the postal service is a greatly profitable industry. I don't think there is a considerable profit margin for waht they mail. AOL ships these things bulk rate which is a reduction from standard mailing. The labor cost to process all these has to eat up a large portion of what they charge. i don't know... I'm not confident is helps the rest of the US population with postal costs. It does keep more postal workers in jobs, however.
      • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @12:46PM (#4480134)
        "I don't think there is a considerable profit margin for waht they mail. AOL ships these things bulk rate which is a reduction from standard mailing."

        The more proper term for "bulk rate" nowadays is "presorted," which is why their postage is cheaper than our one-piece first class mailings (they sort so the USPS doesn't have to).

        That's the only break they get (unless they do drop shipments, which involves mailing them from post offices close to the destination). It's the same break you and I could get if we went to our local post offices and paid $150 for a presorted mail permit.

        "The labor cost to process all these has to eat up a large portion of what they charge."

        AOL is doing a good deal of the Postal Service's labor themselves by presorting it. It's called work sharing, which I've heard (but can't confirm) is something unique to the USPS as compared to other post offices.

        "i don't know... I'm not confident is helps the rest of the US population with postal costs."

        The larger the volume of mail to be moved, the more justification the USPS has for faster but more expensive sorting and delivery equipment. The occasional birthday card to your grandmother is not justification for the USPS to invest in high-speed OCR machines, barcode printers, 18-wheel trucks, airplanes, ships, etc. AOL CDs are.

        And as for postage rates, we live in the third largest country in the world and yet we have amongst the lowest postage rates among industrialized nations. Most Europeans, for example, have to pay the equivalent of $0.50 or $0.60 to mail what what we pay $0.37 for. And that $0.37 will get your letter from Puerto Rico to Guam.

        No, I'm not a postal worker, I've just been learning way too much information as I prepare to print up several thousand letters to voters in my district.
    • by pcardoso ( 132954 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:21AM (#4479282) Homepage
      but how much more expensive will it get? how often do you use regular mail anyway to offset the inconvenience of having your mailbox full of marketing crap?

      in my country we have some special spam-filter stickers provided by the mail service saying "no unsolicited bulk mail" and it is against the law to drop anything not directly mailed to the mail box recipient. In my building most of the mail boxes have these stickers. Some smartasses still leave something there once in a while, but the amount of trash drops to almost nothing. When I go and check the mail I either have something for me or I don't. No more sorting out useless crap.

      And as mentioned in another post, most of these cds will be buried in a landfill or incinerated. Help the environment, help reduce useless crap.
    • by _ph1ux_ ( 216706 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:31AM (#4479378)
      Thats BS.

      Mail was never much more expensive *before* AOL CDs started soming in. If anything it causes more overhead. An increase in volume through the mail system with mail that very vey few people would actually want.

      There would be less overhead if AOL would stop sending out so many CDs. The post office would have that much less to worry about.

      You know what I do everytime I go to the mailbox and there is spam mail in my slot - I stick it in the Outgoing mail slot.

      One time I walked up to the mailbox when the mailman was busy stuffing it full of crap. I asked him if he would please just not put that stuff in my mail box. He said that there is only one way for him to stop putting such mail that is addressed to "So & So OR Current Resident" and other spammings such as the coupon newspapers and pizza offers - get a P.O. Box.

      PMBs are apparently the only thing where there is regulation limiting the unsolicited mailings that are allowed.
      • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @01:35PM (#4480560)
        "Mail was never much more expensive *before* AOL CDs started soming in."

        Perhaps, but I doubt you can argue against the idea that AOL CDs help keep postage rates low. Why else are we able to send an ounce at $0.37 when the average European has to pay closer to $0.60? For mail within a country not much larger than a typical US state?

        Economy of scale is a wonderful thing.

        "If anything it causes more overhead."

        A million AOL CDs mailed at once causes less overhead than a million people sending a greeting card. In order for AOL to take advantage of presorted mail rates, they have to presort their mail. Part of the $0.37 we pay for a first class mail stamp pays for sorting and barcoding as well as delivery, while AOL does most their own sorting and barcoding, mailing the CDs already sorted in their own trays.

        A single CD mailed at first class rates:
        $0.37

        A single CD mailed at presorted rate (which doesn't automatically include features built into first class like "return to sender" or "forward to new address" and doesn't require the stamps to be cancelled as with first class), presorted by area distribution center (pretty much the first two digits of the ZIP code):
        $0.268

        Same as above, only sorted by first three digits of ZIP code:
        $0.248

        Sorted by area distribution center, pre-barcoded and address electronically verified:
        $0.219

        And the prices keep on dropping as AOL does more and more of the labor themselves, all the way down to $0.12 if AOL
        1. sorts by carrier route (ZIP+4, more or less)
        2. verifies the existence of all addresses electronically
        3. barcodes the addresses themselves
        4. mails a copy of the mailing to each and every address on the carrier routes ("postal patron" means they don't have to figure out which boxes get one and which don't)
        5. inserts the CDs into the mail stream at the destination post offices themselves
        Now, then, who has more overhead?

        "An increase in volume through the mail system with mail that very vey few people would actually want."

        An increase that justifies the USPS paying for faster (but more expensive) sorting and delivery equipment. If the only people sending mail were the average person sending a single letter or card a week, there wouldn't be any reason (or money) for the USPS to do anything but manual sorting.

        "I asked him if he would please just not put that stuff in my mail box. He said... get a PO Box"

        What were you expecting? Guess what: the cost of delivering advertising to your mailbox is 100% paid for (by law) by the sender. This isn't e-mail we're talking about here. If the disagreement is between you and the sender, and the sender is the only paying customer between the both of you, why should any business listen to anybody but the person paying them money?

        No, I'm not a postal employee, I'm just learning this as I prepare to send out 11,400+ letters to some of the voters in my district.
    • by suss ( 158993 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:40AM (#4479459)
      Yeah... you wouldn't want to pay a few cents more for your mail to get rid of all this garbage.
      After all, there's probably a spot somewhere that isnt a landfill yet.

      How long does it take for a cd to dissolve anyway?
    • So what you're saying is, we could stop receiving spam in our mailbox forever if we would just pay more for a stamp?

      I'M SOLD!
  • by mrgrey ( 319015 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @10:57AM (#4478986) Homepage Journal
    now they are just going to wrap the CD's back up and mail them out to us again..
    • by Crazy Man on Fire ( 153457 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:02AM (#4479044) Homepage
      From the article:
      McKenna and Lieberman scratch the CDs so they can't be sent out again and then they loop them on string -- giving the unwanted discs the appearance of giant strands of silicon.
      • by Reziac ( 43301 )
        Hey, that gives me a cool idea -- using AOL CDs (with all their nifty colours) to make giant DNA models, or giant pseudo-slinkies, or...

        I've already got a bunch hanging from a tree as a "bird-mobile" (to scare off starlings). Looks pretty neat, actually.

        Tho several years ago I had to rescue one of 'em from my bird-mobile cuz a client needed THAT version, and it was the last one I had..

    • Please read the article. They are scratching each disk so AOL can't send them back again!
    • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:43AM (#4479499) Journal
      now they are just going to wrap the CD's back up and mail them out to us again..

      It is claimed by some that Scientology sent out a bunch of "scouts" to purchase Dianetics to increase its sales ranking on book lists. One bookstore owner where there were a lot of Dianetics sales got suspicious, so he/she put a special mark in the books in his/her store. Sure enough, later new batches of books had some with the mark.

      El Ron and Gates, I wonder if they are not the same person :-)
      • by Leven Valera ( 127099 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:46AM (#4479520) Homepage Journal
        It is claimed by some that Scientology sent out a bunch of "scouts" to purchase Dianetics to increase its sales ranking on book lists.

        This is true. A while back, I was in a Books-A-Million in Lauderdale, and the slightly-spazzed out girl in front of me was having a really hard time with the cashier, because she was told to buy five copies of Dianetics, and the bookstore only had three. She couldn't cope with it.

        Max
  • I called them (Score:5, Informative)

    by Therlin ( 126989 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @10:57AM (#4478990)
    I called AOL and asked them to take me off their mailing list. They thought it was an odd request, and the agent didn't know what to do at first. After being put on hold for a couple of minutes they got down my information and told me that they'd take me off their list.

    To this day I have yet to receive an AOL CD in my mailbox.
    • Re:I called them (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mgessner ( 46612 ) <mgssnr@ g m a il.com> on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:02AM (#4479050) Journal
      On a somewhat related note, my Dad simply writes on the outside of the AOL disk mailer:

      "REFUSED DELIVERY - PLEASE REMOVE FROM MAILING LIST"

      AFAIK he has yet to receive another disk from AOL (he was getting several a *month* at one time).

      He's also dramatically cut down on the number of amount of other junk mail he gets.

    • Me too (Score:3, Funny)

      by Reziac ( 43301 )
      Back in the floppy era (when diskettes cost a buck apiece), whenever we ran out of good reliable disks, we'd call AOL and ask them to send us a set of install disks. Over the next year they'd send us a good double handful of Officially Blank disks. AOL's diskettes were always top quality!

      Now, whenever we run out of nifty DVD cases ... heh heh heh.

      Oh, and the CDs work great to chase away starlings and gophers -- just hang 'em where they'll twirl in the wind. Nice of AOL to print 'em in all those pretty colours.

  • by Junks Jerzey ( 54586 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @10:57AM (#4478994)
    Drop off a million discs in a truckload, and they'll just have someone on the maintenance staff cart them off. End of problem. But if you just mail each disc *back* to AOL, then they'll have to continually weed out all of the discs they get, possibly for years.
    • by yycs ( 514096 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:01AM (#4479036)
      Any by doing this, you help keep down the cost of future postage as you just gave the US Post Office $370,000.
    • by akb ( 39826 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:05AM (#4479078)
      In general this is a good strategy for dealing with junk mail. Individual returns usually get you taken off the mailing list. It costs the post office more to send it back, if a large enough percentage of junk mail gets returned they'll raise the bulk rate for the junkers. And dealing with the returned mail costs the junkers as well. Just throwing junk out keeps their costs down.
    • by alcohollins ( 64804 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:20AM (#4479270)
      Drop off a million discs in a truckload, and they'll just have someone on the maintenance staff cart them off. End of problem. But if you just mail each disc *back* to AOL, then they'll have to continually weed out all of the discs they get, possibly for years.

      Read their FAQ [nomoreaolcds.com]. Here's why:

      4. Why don't we just send our CDs right back to AOL ourselves?

      Quite frankly, AOL is unlikely to change their behavior without a large public demonstration of dissatisfaction. Getting some of their junk mail back each day will have little if any effect. However, receiving several truckloads of their CDs, all at once in broad daylight, with the media in full attendance, will have a larger impact. Note that AOL sends this stuff out as bulk mail - there's no return postage paid, so writing "Return To Sender" and throwing it back in the mail just makes more work for the Post Office (they have to pick them up and sort them out, then toss 'em in the garbage. AOL will not see that CD or pay any additional postage).
    • Logistics (Score:5, Informative)

      by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:55AM (#4479635) Homepage Journal
      CD mass = ~15g.
      1,000,000 x 15g = 15,000 Kg
      15,000 Kg = ~ 16.5 Tons

      CD thickness = ~1mm, width = ~120mm
      1 stack = 1Km high.
      Stacked 3m high = 334 stacks (one with remainer), ~2m to a side

      Assuming I've done my math right, that's not going to fit any mailbox I've ever seen.

  • by Ainu ( 135288 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @10:58AM (#4478997)
    At least the floppies you could use them for something else.. how about a law that says that they can not use cd-r, only allow them to use cd-rw? Free cd-rw for us all!
  • Here's some links (Score:5, Informative)

    by qurob ( 543434 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @10:58AM (#4479000) Homepage

    Various links for Slashdotites pleasure

    Haikus [nomoreaolcds.com]

    No More AOL CD's.com [nomoreaolcds.com]

    Fun things to do with AOL CD's [nomoreaolcds.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 18, 2002 @10:58AM (#4479003)
    1 million disks * 1000 hours each = 1 billion hours free.

    Thats about 10 minutes for everybody on earth.
    • by docbrown42 ( 535974 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:02AM (#4479058) Homepage
      1 million disks * 1000 hours each = 1 billion hours free.

      Thats about 10 minutes for everybody on earth.


      It should be just enough time to close all the pop-up ads.

  • by Erik Fish ( 106896 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:00AM (#4479017) Journal
    Using all 1000 hours you say? Sure, except that AOL has a nasty habit of continuing to charge people after they've cancelled. Of course if EVERY person who used the 1000 hours actually took the time to get their money back this would definitely hurt AOL, but all it takes is a reletively small number of people to either not notice the charge(s) or decide that it isn't worth the trouble to get their money back.
  • Wait... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Zen Mastuh ( 456254 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:00AM (#4479021)

    How is returning the CDs to AOL going to keep the CDs out of the landfill? Isn't AOL going to throw away these scratched CDs? What else could they possibly do with them?

    I think these guys should donate the CDs to some geeks (and I mean that as a term of endearment) who will construct a giant parabolic reflector containing 1,000,000 once-useless CDs, focusing the sun's rays onto a giant water tank, and turning trash into power.

  • right (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheTomcat ( 53158 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:00AM (#4479025) Homepage
    seems like a better taste would be to dial out and use all 1000 free hours. A million people do *that* and I bet they'd stop filling our mailboxes with the landfill of tomorrow.

    Are you kidding? Their marketing drones would definitely consider a million 'hits' on a promo, a huge success.

    S

  • AOL never 'got it' (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ip_vjl ( 410654 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:01AM (#4479028) Homepage
    AOL was always so dumb with the way they sent out their discs. I got some in collector tins (like altoids tins).

    Their problem isn't that somebody just up-and-decides they need internet access. It's in being around when somebody finally decides they do need to get online. Nothing about the AOL discs inspires someone to keep them around.

    What they should have been doing is include some additional content that makes you want to hold onto the disc. They're paired with TimeWarner for goodness sakes, you'd think that would give them compelling content.

    Include a movie trailer (VCD)
    Include audio track(s)

    Include *something* that makes the person who currently has a dialup account to KEEP the disc, so that when his ISP folds, he still has the AOL disc around.

    On the flip side, for the people that couldn't give a rats-butt about AOL, give them content that sells other AOL/TW products.

    The folks in AOLs marketing department are just stupid with the way they spend money on those discs. (not that I'm not thankful for the few free DVD holder cases)

    - vin
    • by Mike Schiraldi ( 18296 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:11AM (#4479165) Homepage Journal
      AOL was always so dumb with the way they sent out their discs.

      You've got to be kidding me. AOL's entire success hinged on their policy of carpet-bombing the nation with free disks .. it was a huge investment, and it paid off many times over. Remember, the theory is that a network's value is proportional to the square of the number of users -- so AOL reached critical mass before Prodigy, Compuserve, Delphi, etc, which is why it's still around and they (for all intents and purposes) aren't. Anyway, lots of people hang on to those disks/discs -- people who were new to computers were thrilled to have something to put in their floppy disk case, and before long became bored with the software their computer came with, and decided to take a look at the AOL disk. Other people had in the back of their mind, "I'd like to get on this Internet i've been hearing about," and when the next AOL disk arrived in the mail, they said, "Today's the day!"
      • by ip_vjl ( 410654 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:19AM (#4479261) Homepage
        I'm not arguing that the 'carpet bombing' wasn't effective. I'm saying they were dumb for not using it to its fullest potential.

        A lot of people just threw out their discs because they didn't need AOL at the time they got the disc. However, if there was some other reason to hold onto the disc, they might have kept it.

        Additionally, even before the AOL/TW thing - I could have seen a lot of companies paying AOL to include a software demo, or audio track, or something on the disc - which would have allowed them to subsidize the cost of mailing the stupid things.

        There's nothing about getting an Altoid-style tin (permanently emblazoned with with AOL logo and copy) that makes me say "gee, I should hold on to this."

  • by xcomputer_man ( 513295 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:01AM (#4479030) Homepage
    I'm sure they could find some neater things to do with those CDs. :)

    Like this [netcomuk.co.uk].

    --
    Ibukun
  • Damn! (Score:4, Funny)

    by floydigus ( 415917 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:01AM (#4479035)
    Now where am I going to get another one from? Mine bust when I tried to stick it in the floppy drive. It had the internet on it, too!
  • by gughunter ( 188183 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:02AM (#4479043) Homepage
    Thank you for taking the time to express your opinion about America Online's _compact_disc marketing_practices_. As a token of our gratitude, please enjoy the enclosed compact disc, which entitles you to 1000 free hours of America Online.
  • No good to use hours (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kphrak ( 230261 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:02AM (#4479046) Homepage

    I don't know if this is still true (the last time I used AOL was about '94), but once you started using the free hours, AOL needed a credit card number. Just in case you, uh, go over the limit. What they didn't tell you is that if you did go over the limit, you wouldn't be notified; they just quietly started billing you. Then it was the devil's own work to try and get them to stop, and especially to get your CC out of their database.

    If this is all still the case, using your "free" hours is shooting yourself in the foot.

    • by GuyMannDude ( 574364 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:45AM (#4479515) Journal

      I don't know if this is still true (the last time I used AOL was about '94), but once you started using the free hours, AOL needed a credit card number. Just in case you, uh, go over the limit. What they didn't tell you is that if you did go over the limit, you wouldn't be notified; they just quietly started billing you.

      Ah, gees, I feel so sorry for you. C'mon! This company is giving you free internet access and now you expect/demand them to send you a curtousy message when you're approaching the magic 1000 hours? I don't see why they are under any obligation to provide this warning service to you. Sure, it would be awfully sweet of them to do so. But, seriously, you should be able to determine after A FEW HOURS if you like the service or not! If you're trying to play some kind of game of getting as close to 1000 hours without going over then I would argue you're really taking advantage of them. Go ahead and do that if you want to 'stick it to the man' but don't be upset when the company doesn't provide warning services to allow you to screw them over more effectively. Gees, how hard is it to write down a log of how many hours on a piece of paper by the computer so you can keep track of this yourself? Accept some responsibility for your actions.

      Looking through the comments here I see a lot of "heh-heh, let's stick it to AOL" messages. Why do people hate AOL? Does anyone have a LEGITIMATE REASON for hating them? And I mean something more important than "I don't like getting those disks in the mail". There are lots of evil entities out there in the tech world. Does AOL really deserve to be place side by side with Microsoft et. al in the Technology Hall of Shame? AOL has been responsible for helping millions of people discover the internet.

      GMD

      • AOL has been responsible for helping millions of people discover the internet.

        Just like Microsoft was responsible for helping millions of people discover PCs. In my opinion, AOL's product sucks, and those millions of people are dumber because of it. There are some good things about their service, but overall I think the internet as a community would be better off if AOL was simply an ISP rather than a content/software/advertising provider.

  • by loggia ( 309962 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:02AM (#4479051)
    On the flip side, there are some strange people who collect the various thousands of different AOL discs, like people collect baseball cards or comic books.

    http://www.kcstar.com/item/pages/local.pat,local /3 accd753.723,.html
  • by Drestin ( 82768 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:02AM (#4479056)
    Why don't articles actually post the URL to the site?!

    http://www.nomoreaolcds.com/
  • The Address (Score:4, Informative)

    by FreshMeat-BWG ( 541411 ) <bengoodwyn@[ ]com ['me.' in gap]> on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:04AM (#4479070) Homepage
    Mail all your unwanted AOL CDs to: No More AOL CDs! 1601 Navellier St. El Cerrito CA, 94530 U.S.A.
  • by starseeker ( 141897 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:05AM (#4479092) Homepage
    Or DVD on the better ones. My physics professor got a bunch of these for some reason, so I just scrape off or cover the annoying stickers and have a high quality cd case. I really think they must be getting the cases from the same place as the DVD people. They're even better than music cd style jewel cases since they don't crack as easily, and they're a heck of a lot better than those thin ones.

    If they really want to make a splash, why not collect the cases, devise some easy and cheap way to get the stickers off, and resell them by the crate? Making a profit off of junk mail - now THAT would be a story :-)
  • Look, they are asking 1 million people to spend upwards of 40 cents each to send a useless CD to them, then they are going to spend how much to deliver the truckload to AOL?

    Think about it, that's at least $400,000 dollars down the drain! Why not ask people to contribute $0.40 towards infrastructure costs in their area for public 802.11b hotspots. Tell them to mark any and all AOL mail "RETURN TO SENDER" and AOL will bear even greater costs, at no cost to the consumer.

    Egad, people, use your brains.

    Besides, AOL is going down the toilet anyway. Their shiny discs aren't going to be very useful to them after a few years as dialup dwindles, especially since broadband doesn't net them nearly as much profit as dialup once did. They're going to change their business model significantly over the next few years - it'll be interesting.

    But seriously, put your effort into providing free net access for everyone.

    -Adam
    • by adamjone ( 412980 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:23AM (#4479296) Homepage
      Tell them to mark any and all AOL mail "RETURN TO SENDER" and AOL will bear even greater costs, at no cost to the consumer.

      Actually, that won't work. The CD's are shipped 4th class mail. If you mark it return to sender, the post office will return it to the earth. They even mention it in the FAQ [nomoreaolcds.com]
      • I realize that. However, if one million people did this the USPS would be none too pleased, and may require AOL to either pay for the additional trash, or use a different rate. It will cost the post office time, money, and space, and they will pass that back to AOL.

        Either way, it would be more trouble and more costly to AOL than delivering a million CDs on convenient string spindles to their doorstep. Chances are they'd mount them somewhere as a tribute to their fans who'd go to so much trouble.

        Now, if they were going to make art out of this then I'd understand, but I still think the same objectives could be accomplished more efficiently and more pointedly through other means.

        -Adam
    • by f97tosc ( 578893 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:24AM (#4479311)
      Why not ask people to contribute $0.40 towards infrastructure costs in their area for public 802.11b hotspots.

      This sort of posts comes up pretty much every time somebody does something creative, funny and totally useless.

      It is entertainment. People like to spend some of their money on having fun, and this is such an example. Yes, it would be great if people stopped spending any money on pleasures and put it all into charities and infrastructure improvements ... or would it?

      I like the 'return to sender' idea, though. It is easier and quicker to do than finding a stamp and the address of these jokers.

      Tor
  • by shoemakc ( 448730 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:06AM (#4479098) Homepage


    Turn those disks into something useful; Purchase the AOL Construction Kit [union.edu]?

    -Chris

  • by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:10AM (#4479145) Homepage Journal

    WAKE UP PEOPLE!
    They are going to use those one thousand free hours from 1 million discs to get themselves 1,000,000,000 free hours of AOL!

    Free AOL for them, their kids, grandkids and great-grandkids.

    I'm on to you bastards...



  • by thumbtack ( 445103 ) <thumbtack.juno@com> on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:13AM (#4479182)
    At least I could get some practical use out of them. A quick reformat and I was set. Ever since they started sending out shiny plastic discs, I have to actually buy a pack of floppys from time to time. (not that use that many). Maybe if they would send the CDs out on CD-RW.........
  • by qurob ( 543434 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:14AM (#4479199) Homepage

    1,000,000 AOL CD's would be a measely 50,000 feet.

    Just think, if they collected 302,860,800,000 AOL CD's they could stack them and it'd touch the moon!
  • by mbourgon ( 186257 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:14AM (#4479200) Homepage
    ...of geeks. I really wish AOL had put these on CD-Rs or CD-RWs... I think that if you make a buttload of them, it's probably doable. If, everytime you got an AOL disk, you knew you could put another 650 meg on it, would you throw it away? (Maybe). But you'd probably keep them around as spares.
  • 1000 Hours (Score:5, Funny)

    by Crazy Man on Fire ( 153457 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:15AM (#4479211) Homepage
    My favorite part of the 1000 free hours campaign was when they were offering 1000 free hours (to be used in one month).

    Hmmm... 31 x 24 = 744

    Wasn't long before they changed to 1000 free hours (to be used in 45 days).

    I guess MA101 isn't required for a Marketing major
  • what I did (Score:5, Funny)

    by GoatPigSheep ( 525460 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:15AM (#4479215) Homepage Journal
    I covered 55 aol disks with fondu fuel and burned them into one mass of metal. I know use it as a paperweight.
  • by a_timid_mouse ( 607237 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:20AM (#4479265)
    I saw an interesting e-mail the other day that proposed a solution to junk snail mail. Lots of companies send you junk mail with a postage-paid reply envelope, right? If you take that envelope and stuff it with unrelated junk mail from a different company, seal it up and send it on it's merry way, the junk mailer pays the postage TWICE (once to you, and again back to them), you force them to sort through their mailbox just like you do, and you help out the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service at the same time.
  • Million Modem march (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bubblegoose ( 473320 ) <bubblegoose@REDHATgmail.com minus distro> on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:24AM (#4479308) Homepage Journal
    "seems like a better taste would be to dial out and use all 1000 free hours. A million people do *that* and I bet they'd stop filling our mailboxes with the landfill of tomorrow."

    How about we follow through on that idea? How about Monday October 28th at 8PM we dial in using the free hours and start downloading huge files, for as long as you can stand tying up your phone line. We can continue every night at 8 PM for the next 2 weeks.

    Do that for two weeks...what do you think that will do to the already floundering AOL?

    I know you must provide a CC # to sign up, we'll just have to ensure that we all cancel service within the first month. Anyone had experience cancelling AOL service? Is it hard?

    I'm sure most of us could find an old machine to do this on.

  • AOL SPAM IS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by _ph1ux_ ( 216706 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:26AM (#4479337)
    Supported by the USPO. My friend just changed his address, and in changing his address the Post Office sends you a "Welcome to your new Address" package thing. Inside of it was an AOL 1000 free hours disk - with "welcome to your new address" or some such slogan printed on it.

    Lame. I dont need the post office advertising my new address to companies (dont knwo if it actually does that though)

    But what if you changed email addresses or ISPs and the new ISP or email provider would then send you a welcome email, and you would also receive a bunch of other spam emails from spammers saying "Welcome to your new Email account. Get a bigger penis free by clicking here"

    I hope AOL eats it.
  • But will it matter? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wls ( 95790 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:27AM (#4479349) Homepage
    As a dumpster diver, let me say that when AOL used to send out floppy diskettes, that when they did a software update they just threw the old labeled and unlabeled media out by the thousands. I have boxes and boxes of rescued AOL floppies that I reformat when I need to pass out a small file over old media.

    Given that they treated reusable media with such discontempt, it only makes sense that they are already accustomed to disposing large quantities of non-reusable media.

    Will this action even be a blip on their radar? Probablly not, unless environmentalists and the media are dragged into the lot.
  • floppies (Score:4, Funny)

    by intermodal ( 534361 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:32AM (#4479390) Homepage Journal
    I liked it when they sent me free floppies...those i could use for something more than my can of coke
  • by camusflage ( 65105 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:35AM (#4479418)
    Craig Shergold is seven years old and suffering from terminal cancer. It is his ambition to be included in the Guinness Book of Records for the largest number of AOL CD's ever collected by one person.
    Craig would be grateful if you could send all of your AOL CD's to the address below and also send the enclosed pages, including one of your own, to another ten companies.
    Obviously, speed is of the essence....
    Craig Shergold
    c/o Steve Case
    22000 AOL Way
    Dulles, VA 20166
  • Another fun thing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BlindSpot ( 512363 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:35AM (#4479419)
    My mom looks after kids during the day. One time she asked me if I knew of any good sun-catchers, and I told her to use AOL CDs.

    The kids seemed to enjoy them! They reflect the light really well, and they're easy for the kids to manipulate. Plus there's certainly no shortage of them!

    Of course, adult supervision is required.
  • The URL? (Score:4, Informative)

    by colerit ( 618632 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:42AM (#4479477)
    Does anyone else think it's funny that this article (published by a subsidiary of AOL) doesn't give the URL of the website that they specifically mentioned?
    Well, I found it - http://www.nomoreaolcds.com

    so there =P
  • by NFW ( 560362 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:42AM (#4479478) Homepage
    If they want to get this done in ten years, they will need to collect over 270 CDs per day, every day, for the next ten years. AOL may send out far more than that, but they will have a hard time getting that many people to play this game.

    I'll wager AOL gives up the CD campaign before they reach their mark, leaving these guys with a really big pile of CDs, and no campaign to protest.

    Don't get me wrong, I do think it's a neat idea, I just think they set their sights a couple orders of magnitude higher than is practical.

  • by phorm ( 591458 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:46AM (#4479534) Journal
    The CD's make decent coasters. If you have some acrylic paint you can paint 'em and they actually look quite cool. Getting a whole crapload of these in a month is annoying though. However, on to use #2

    My last AOL CD came with a rather nice thick plastic black case. This case is similar to the ones used with most DVD's. I wish they'd send me more CD's with these cases, as I tend to have a case shortage (buy my CD-R's in 50-packs) quite often. Take off the logo'ed AOL paper and these are great for putting discs in when I lend them to friends etc.

    AOL disks. The most useful things that AOL used to send. While I rarely use disks anymore, I used to have a small stack of post-AOL formatted diskettes.

    Can anyone tell me where I sign up for more free coasters/cases/disks, I'm running low again?

    p.s. AOL CD-holders were also nice for storing disks that you don't want people to pick up, few people open an AOL CD-case.
  • by anthony_dipierro ( 543308 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @11:50AM (#4479576) Journal
    How can I go about collecting Big Fucking Slashdot Ads so I can return a million of them to the advertisers?
  • by MongooseCN ( 139203 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @12:18PM (#4479839) Homepage
    seems like a better taste would be to dial out and use all 1000 free hours.

    Make a perl script that takes in the account number from the cd and automatically creates an account on AOL and logs in. Then the script should goto Google, search for the letter 'e' and then wget -r the Internet. You might want to send the output to /dev/null
  • CNN (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cr@ckwhore ( 165454 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @12:22PM (#4479880) Homepage
    Does anybody besides me find it odd that this story is being carrried by CNN? Who's going to be there to cover the story when the CDs are delivered? CNN?

    Something smells fishy about this...

  • by bcboy ( 4794 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @01:02PM (#4480287) Homepage
    Seen at the Seventh Sense Fashion Show in Santa Cruz last year:

    http://www.sosaywe.com/cdgirls.htm
  • Bizarre packaging (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fanatic ( 86657 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @01:34PM (#4480548)
    I got my latest AOL coaster (CD) yesterday. It acually came in a metal container. Think of the tins that mints (such as penguin mints or Altoids) come in, but CD sized. I'm not an AOL user. Never have been. Why would they use such a wasteful container? It had to cost 3 times what the CD did - probably more.

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