Watch how quickly all the other ISPs will leap on this. I always knew the ISP complaints about how bulk e-mail was consuming valuable broadband would be abandoned as soon as the ISPs figured out a way to profit from it. If nothing else, your WIIFM rule’s most usefulness is in predicting human behavior.
—Ed Zuckerman, editor, Government Policy Newslinks, but you may describe me as a notorious and fearless Spammer 🙂
Even in the early days when AOL was mailing disks fast and furious they were alienating subscribers. They could not handle the growth. It was often impossible to get online, so much so that AOL promised subscribers to stop marketing for awhile, which they did not do. That broken promise and the inability to get online unless you dialed and redialed is when subscribers starting leaving. It is the reason I left within the first year of service—never to return.
Congratulations on a great article! It is good to see that someone finally has given credit to Jan Brandt. Perhaps this is not the first time, but it is the first time I’ve seen anyone who understood her contribution to the Internet—not just AOL—accurately describe what and how she did what she did so very effectively. Unlike many of her contemporaries, she did it by following in the customer-centered tradition of Dick Benson et al, not by trying to “fool” the consumer. I have often thought of her—where is she now?
Your column on AOL’s rise and fall was terrific (as was your last column, by the way!). Since so often I’ve written only when I had a bone to pick, I think it appropriate to write today, when you’ve managed to utterly delight and educate me twice in a row. Thank you! You may have discovered that converting AOL e-mail into something you can actually read with other programs (e.g., Outlook Express, Eudora, Thunderbird, or import into a word processor) is nigh on impossible. This is something I hated about AOL starting a long time ago, and it was such a shock when I realized that they alone make the process so difficult. I was using Eudora for several years, up until a few weeks ago, and mail sent that way is easy to move and convert. I’m with Thunderbird now (an add-on to the Mozilla Firefox browser), and it works the same. I guess Outlook Express does too. So ... it takes a bit of hunting, but there are several companies that sell (for $30 to $60) programs that specifically translate AOL e-mail into a more useable form. Your computer guy probably already knows all this, but if not, I hope this hint proves helpful to you. And by the way: have you thought about getting your own name as a domain, as I’ve done? I know of a number of writers who’ve done this. It’s very cheap. I pay about $15 or $20 a year for my domain name and five mailboxes. That’s in addition to paying for Internet access (cable, DSL, or a dial-up service like Earthlink). I’m surprised you haven’t purchased “dennyhatch.com” or “dennyhatch.org.” In any case, thank you again for two great pieces. I’ve duly printed both of them out to circulate to friends and colleagues.