First of all, let me get one thing out of the way: I’m a member of AOL and I know that will make some people regard me as some kind of cybertwit. Sneer if you must, but at the time I signed up I had some good reasons.
Now, then. AOL advises people who get spam from other AOL accounts to forward them to a special email account (TOSSpam@aol.com). Well, I did that faithfully for about two months, sending along approximately 150 of the darn things. They continued to arrive at the same rate.
Clearly, people were signing up trial accounts, blasting out a torrent of spam, and then going away. So complaining about a particular instance of spamming would not yield results in the long term, because the culprit is long gone by the time his account is deleted.
So on two occasions I wrote a letter to the TOSSpam@aol.com email box, with a simple solution to the problem: put a maximum of 100 emails per day on all accounts. Also, give people a way to have that limit raised. Those who did ask would simply have their sign-up facts checked and given a higher limit, no other questions asked.
Well, AOL never even replied to my idea and they never implemented it, even though it would have instantly eliminated the entire spam problem from AOL.
I was discussing this matter with a friend of mine and he said that, in his opinion, AOL likes people to sign up for frivolous reasons. The reason? Well, it lets them honestly say that they have umpteen zillion users, which makes for really good ad copy.
I think he’s being a bit cynical, but I have to admit that I can’t think of any reason why they don’t adopt my suggestion. Is there something unworkable about my idea?
If you do think my idea is a good one, and you’re an AOLer who is also annoyed by the vast amounts of spam we get, can you think of some way we could exert pressure on AOL to implement this measure?