I’ve thought for quite some that AOL was the Darth Sidious of the Internet, but the first part of your article almost had me wishing they could make a comeback. But that recording was Un-buh-lievable. I could feel my blood pressure rise as I listened. I’ve long since quit trying to get the last remnants of AOL off my hard drive. But I may have another go at it just for spite.
Don’t get me started. I figured out America Online was on a slippery downslope a long time ago, even before I unloaded their once high-flying stock which I owned through five splits and gained a quite obscene profit when it came time to say Sayonara. For me, the end was predicted when I read in a newspaper that Steve Case dreamed of returning to his native Hawaii to buy a sugar plantation. And the death knell clanged loudly when the Virginia Legislature passed a bill—surely bought and paid for by AOL—that imposed the most draconian penalties for people who send unsolicited commercial e-mail. about Spam! AOL is the biggest Spammer of all. You can’t open AOL without having to delete two—sometimes three!—uninvited commercial messages just to be able to see the screen. And your signoff is always delayed by yet another unwanted, uninvited and unsolicited commercial message. AOL sets a bad example for ISPs everywhere. Now, they all want to have their cake and eat it, too, by claiming on the one hand that they have the authority to ban certain e-mail based on content and by claiming on the other hand that they are a “common carrier” with no liability for the content of e-mail that goes through their pipe. remember, too, that the Internet belongs to the American people who paid for its invention by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). AOL and the ISPs paid nothing for the Internet’s development, and their complaints are truly an amazing example of chutzpah. such as those in Virginia won’t stand up to constitutional scrutiny, which explains why they’ve never been tested in federal court. ISPs continue to impose their own definition of “Spam” to deny service to e-mailers, and continue to lobby their legislatures for Virginia-like that the Internet is First Amendment-protected territory (see Reno vs. ACLU). More lately, we’ve been astounded by the super-hypocritical spectacle of AOL trying to emulate the Greenway toll road that runs alongside their Taj Mahal-like headquarters campus in Dulles, Va. Just like the Virginia Toll road Authority, they want to provide “express lane” service for Spammers who are willing to pay an extra toll. Under AOL’s plan, the Spam will be allowed to sneak through AOL’s highly vaunted Spam detection that supposedly protects its subscribers from unsolicited commercial e-mail.