I whisper your name (ayradyss) wrote,
I whisper your name
ayradyss

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Dear AOL.com:

I am an AIM user. I have been on AOL under various screen names from the time I was a freshman in high school until I had Internet access of my own in college. I am now a second-year graduate student. I recently purchased a PocketPC from Dell. Delighted to find that I could download AIM for my PocketPC to complement my MSN Messenger, I clicked the link.
Imagine my surprise when I was taken to handango.com and told that to purchase AIM, I would have to pay $19.95.
Baffled and bewildered, I began looking at the AIM FAQ. Sure enough, it says that the service is free, but that you might have to pay for access to your ISP. And it doesn't say anything about charging for the AIM client, so I suppose you're allowed to do whatever you like. But I, for one, see no reason to pay $19.95 for a messaging client that is and has always been free everywhere else, just to have it on my PocketPC - especially when I can still use Yahoo! or MSN Messenger for free. To be honest, the fact that AIM is free is the only reason I would use the client at all, when there are so many others available. To charge is not only ridiculous, it's almost imbecilic.
I attempted to find a way to contact you about this problem.. Short of fabricating a support incident, I could find no way to do so. Frustrated, I resigned to go looking for something else.
Thus, I began to search the web, hoping that someone would tell me what to do. Imagine my startlement a second time when I was directed by a helpful comment in a thread to aol.co.uk, where I could download the British version of AIM for PocketPC for free.
Now, perhaps I misunderstand, and you aren't intentionally attempting to gouge your American customers $20 for a piece of software that is available to the rest of the world for free. Perhaps that's the case. If so, you make no persuasive argument to that effect, nor do you make it easy for me to convince myself to use your services.
A shame, that. I hear you're having trouble recently, faced with broadband Internet that doesn't wield your monolithic, heavy-handed, insecure practises. Companies whose users do not have the association that AOL users do in today's Net-savvy society. I don't know how many times I've heard someone complaining about a person they were talking to on a MOO being incapable of actually holding a real conversation: "He can't type out a complete word, can't spell, has no grammar, and uses stupid abbreviations all the time, even when it's completely inappropriate. I think he's an AOL user."
Congratulations. AOL, to most people who have any knowledge of the Internet community at all, is synonymous with abysmal security, worse-than-average connection quality, users who aren't worth wasting time talking to, and a general lack of any redeeming value whatsoever.
AIM is free, though, and it's an easy way to connect with a lot of people who've yet to be weaned of their infantile obsession to the pretty front page of AOL, and it has some cute features. So it gets used - albeit with trepidation and distaste. And now you want to charge.
Are you certain that's a wise decision?
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