Ive been mistreated long enough. Ive had ex-girlfriends that treat me better
than America Online. At least they answer my phone calls
Never again! Its over!
Im sure theres a local service provider out there somewhere that wants to give
me the kind of love and attention that I need."
thought about leaving AOL yet? Even with previous hourly charges racking up huge bills,
seemingly endless power outages, and chronic busy signals, the idea of parting
company has never crossed your mind? Sounds like youre in denial. You either want to
break up with AOL or are so dumbfounded by its beauty that you just cant bring
yourself to do it. Havent we seen this contradictory behavior played out in dozens
of John Hughes movies? At first everythings great, then the guy treats the girl like
dirt, and then its great again. Cue the closing credits.
Oh sure, I remember falling in love with AOL. It was a simpler time
- a computer, a modem, and one of the hundreds of free disks that came in the mail. Thank
you AOL, I havent bought a blank disk since. And just like your friendly
neighborhood drug dealer, AOL generously offered the first 50 hour hit of online use free
of charge. No problem, until
"Oh no, Im hooked. I gotta get out!"
Not so easy now. Cant get a divorce with just a computer and a modem. Only two ways
out of this relationship. Send a "Dear John" letter or make a phone call
realizing youll have to answer that awkward question, "Why are you leaving
Then there are the masochists who choose to stay in an abusive
online relationship Theyre the ones who had to face the horror of AOLs
notorious Unlimited Use Scare of 97. What started as a casual fling turned into a
torrid long distance romance. Users began hoarding quality time with AOL to the dismay of
ignored family and friends who were cast aside and subsequently shut out from online
nirvana. "I never get to spend any time with you. You never take me anywhere,"
they complained. "Fight back," the little David Horowitzs in their heads
shouted. But as many soon realized, collecting on class action lawsuits and refunds is not
an easy task. Ive had better luck getting sweaters back from ex-girlfriends.
Eight million AOL fans can be wrong.
Can you really trust America Online? Should a relationship be
based on deceit-automatically switching users without consent from a $9.95 a month
plan to a $19.95 unlimited use monthly plan, and neglect-maintaining user-modem
ratios of 1:20 when the industry average is 1:10? Instead of admitting they had a problem
and dealing with it, AOL chose to lavish users with gifts like refunds and credits. Vice
president of product marketing, David Gang, is betting that the novelty of unlimited
service will eventually wear off. Just you watch. Once the honeymoon period is over
itll be back to maintaining crappy modem-user ratios. Dont think this is the
first time, or the last. Remember the outages? Are you beginning to notice a trend? Do you
want to be hurt again? Whether you want to admit it or not, youre a battered
Net user. Get out of this vicious cycle of abuse while you still have your dignity.
Call 1-800-827-6364. Press "1" then "4" to cancel.
Who wants to break up with a beautiful lover like AOL? Reject
fantastic and available sex? Although the physical act is great, theres no real
connection. Sure it looks great and it says 28,800 baud, but because of overcrowded
servers, browsing the web feels like 9600. During AOLs formative years, us early
adopters willingly accepted the difficulties of maintaining connectivity. Although over
time weve begun to expect more out of our online relationship.
It is better to have had AOL and lost, then not to have been online
AOL, the Platos Retreat of the Internet, has been used to sew
online oats. Learn about love, sex and the universe by sleeping around online.
For many, AOL was their first high school crush. She sure was
pretty, but once you really got to know her, you realize how wrong she was for you.
Dont give up hope. Its possible to have the best of both worlds. You know,
have a relationship with a local ISP yet still be free to see AOL. Sound like something
that might interest you? Then listen to this. With the new "bring your own
access" plan, you pay rent to your local ISP and like some prenuptial agreement
youre entitled to invite AOL over anytime to spend the night. Whoah, cool! Open
Those who didnt see the benefits of online
communications("I dont know if I can be with anyone anymore."), or
couldnt even handle AOLs simple interface("Youre too good for
me.") ultimately chose to quit. Out of politeness, these former users let AOL down
gently utilizing classic standards like "Its not you, its me" or
"I know youll make some other online user very happy." Others were not so
kind. They hated the ever popular AOL because its proprietary structure didnt
satisfy their desire for online experimentation. So during AOLs dark weeks in
February, these hackers decided to lash back. At a predetermined time, these hackers
threatened to clear out chat room lobbies and the accounts of anyone online. Can you blame
them? Gee, if the head cheerleader wont go out with you, what option do you have but
to TP her house?
Dont believe AOL takes a break up sitting down. Negative
publicity can tear them apart. Realizing this, AOL went on the offensive and claimed that
increased usage was evidence that people are not leaving or theyre coming back? No,
not the "Im getting back together with my old boyfriend" line. Mimicking a
pimp boasting that all his whores are working, David Gang deflected attention from the
real problem, "The reason were getting busy signals is were obviously
doing something right." Continuing with his diversionary tactics, "Whats
lost in all the publicity is we have 10 million successful connections every day."
Thats so true. Everyone always focuses on the negative. Sure OJ beat and killed his
wife, but he did buy her a really nice house.
Dont blame America Online. Theyre just going through the
same chemical changes that every adolescent multimillion dollar global corporation goes
through. Their voice is cracking. Users, you and all your petty concerns about
"connectivity" are stifling AOLs need to grow. Theyre blossoming.
People are starting to take notice. And in return for their unbridled prosperity,
AOLs taking it out on the people who put them there. Surprise. Become a huge
success, dump the old ugly wife and get yourself a trophy bride. Damn you America Online.
Youve changed. Youre not the same online service I once knew.
© 1997, David Spark