Has AOL Changed Towards Its Gay Patrons?

This thought came to me this morning when I got my mail. I subscribe to The Advocate and Out. Today my latest copy of Out showed up with not only an AOL CD in it, but with an AOL ad emblazoned on the plastic bag that the magazine comes in.

A few years ago, when I was on AOL, bashers often came into the gay chat rooms, not being punished generally for their hatefuil attacks. These bashers could even be using script add-ons to allow them to disconnect people from AOL. Yet… even though the attackers who identified as straight were violating the TOS(Terms of Service), rarely, if ever, was anyone removed.

On the other hand, gay people were chastised, and at times lost their accounts for being graphic(which was a highly subjective accusation) in an adults-only chat room, because it violated TOS, and of course: this was a family service.

Now… this is my first hand experience. To back myself up, I have found cites to substantiate my perspective and concerns about AOL:

The story of how AOL worked ith the Navy to out a serviceman:



Anti-Gay Enforcement of TOS:


AOL Chairman donates $8 million to a school that cures gays:



AOL filter blocks gay content:

There are MANY more examples of this.

So, as to add my other question to this would make things murky, I will put my other question in another thread.

My question for this thread is: is AOL still this way towards its gay patrons, and if so… why would they be on it?

I know some will say convienience… you can log-on across the country, yad-da, yad-da, yad-da.

This is not a condemnation to gay people from the SDMB who are on it(like the charming Esprix), and of course I do know that the SDMB used to be on AOL.

With those caveats in place, my questions still stands. Thoughts, ideas, or at least a biscuit perhaps?

AFAIK, it has gotten slightly better. There are lesbian & gay chatrooms, as well as a section for articles of interest to that community (or at least I think I’ve seen that). The most likely cause, of course, is that they realized isolating that large of a potential market is not so smart.

I have no data to back me up but my gut tells me this is the correct answer to. The almighty dollar speaks. AOHell has grown and grown and probably felt no special need to pander to the gay community and may have even actively pushed them away in the interests of attracting ‘family’ customers. Of course, at some point they get all of the family customers they are likely to get and their new subscription rates start to fall. Some slob sitting in marketing is told to open new markets or invigorate old ones. (S)He starts looking around at the population trying to see who they missed. “Hey look at that! We haven’t been marketing to the gay community.”

There ya go…AOHell cd’s in your magazine.

Oh, please - 1/3 to 1/2 of all member-created chat rooms in Town Square end in “M4M” - Philadelphia regularly had at least 3 running, San Diego has at least 5. If they continued with their anti-gay harassment they’d lose a substantial portion of their customer base. Do they really want us there? No. But they tolerate us, and we tolerate them. I truly think that’s the best we’re going to do. Hearing they’re advertising with the Advocate is surprising, though.


Exactly WHY would a homophobic company HAVE gay patrons?

masochism, maybe?

Well, I worked at AOL for a number of years.

First, AOL had no issues with gay-lesbian people. Hell, my trainer was a lesbian and her SO was a supervisor at the call center I worked at. She was one of my favorite people at the call center.

Second, as Esprix said, a large portion of the member created chat rooms were M4M or W4W.

Third, the first story Hastur listed is not quite correct. What really happened is a military person saw a user profile for the gentleman in question, started an investigation and then duped an AOL employee into giving out information. The Navy guy basically socially-engineered, IE hacked, the info from an AOL rep. I know the rep persoanlly. She was heartbroken about the incident and lost her job over it. At the same time the Bosses at AOL came down hard on personal information privacy. They were pretty hardcore about it to begin with but this just brought the issue to a higher level.

Forth, I was promoted to a job in VA. No one in VA gave a shit about your apperence, religon, sexual preferences or anything else. If you did the job well you were on the team. And I worked daily with VP’s.

Fifth, AOL does not police chatrooms, IM’s or email. (Except kids only rooms). AOL only acts upon reports from members.

Last, I termed (TOS’ed) a lot of people when I was in the call center. The main reason I term’ed people was death threats, cussing and porn. At AOL the only way to get term’ed was if someone reported you. Hell, I cussed out my teammates all the time. It was ok with them so it came down to no harm-no foul. But, most of the people I term’ed sent porn without asking if the other person wanted it.