How do Dopers like America Online?

I tried AOL for a while; but my brother, who gave me the computer hardware, said I should avoid it and the "1000 free hours’ will be up before I realize it.
The advantage I’ve found to AOL is that I never have the “cannot find server” message I have all the time with Bluelight.
The disadvantages are:
–If you have another browser and click on it, sometimes AOL clicks on, too.
–It’s difficult to log off AOL; it automatically switches itself back on, which is a problem if you’re under a time constraint.
–Until I loaded AOL I rarely had problems with cannot-find-server on Bluelight. In fact, I had successfully downloaded MSDUN13.EXE from Microsoft support, but when I loaded AOL it went out the window (pun).
But I know there are people who are accustomed to AOL and probably have nothad any such problems with it themselves.
So how does AOL rate with the Teeming Millions?

I, personally, do not like AOL at all. I actually got rid of my account recently. I’ve had problems with AOL loading, I wouldn’t get my buddy list or I wouldn’t get access to my mail. I’ve known other people to have these problems, too. You also have to take into account that AOL’s prices are constantly increasing. Personally, as a student it became something that I just didn’t want to pay for anymore. I basically just use hotmail now. But, I am spoiled : I have LAN access when I am at school and I have a cable modem when I am at home, so I don’t need to use a dial up modem. Good luck with whatever you choose.

I think your answer is in the lack of responses to your OP.

I had AOL a long time ago ( I went through 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0) so I’m sure it has changed a lot since my experience with it. I enjoyed the service for a while (found the Straight Dope through AOL), but I constantly had problems with being logged off for “inactivity” (leave it sitting for 10 minutes and “Goodbye”). Then dealing with Customer Service reps who were almost rude did it for me. I quit AOL and used Bell South’s internet service for a couple of years until I could get a cable modem.

I hate it. I do think AIM is the best instant messanger program, though.

there are some positives to AOL:

  1. if you move and havn’t found a real ISP in your area, the AOL free hours can work for awhile (i’ve used AOL for this reason).

  2. I’ve heard the filtering is decent, if you’ve got kids.

  3. it’s much more user-friendly if you’re new to the net

  4. it’s probably already on your computer, so if you don’t already have an ISP, using AOL is a quick fix.

outside of this list, i see no reason to use AOL. it’s expensive, unreliable, and simply too simplistic in my opinion. overall i hate it, but there are reasons people use it.

I don’t understand the “easier” argument. Using IE, Outlook Express, and Windows Dialup Networking is just as easy, in my opinion.

How do I like AOL? Well, it’s pretty good barbequed. Maybe flame roasted. :slight_smile:

I used it for about 3 years when I was younger. The last year and a half was spent trying to persuade my parents to get us a real ISP. It eventually worked, though I was the only one who used it for a while (now my mother is the only one using AOL, and just because of the sheer number of people who have her AOL e-mail address.)

It’s unreliable, the AOL internal browser is completely useless, and all the extra ‘features’ are generally pretty annoying. I really can’t find anything good to say about it.

I guess I’m the only one of AOL’s 33,000,000 users who’s never had a problem. I’ve never experienced any of the above mentioned problems. I had a billing problem once, and, not only did they fix it, they gave me 3 free months. In over 7 years, THAT’S IT!

As for the “free” ISP’s, most only have one local number and it’s usually a slow connection. Yes, I still use a dial up, but I rarely download anything so speed isn’t a problem. DSL is expensive (about $50 a month) and I will never buy a cable modem until my local cable company burns in helll.

My father uses it because my sister sold him on it. My sister uses it because she would rather do anything other than think. Whenever I am called on to help with computer issues, or to help with a net search, I am really vexed by the number of unwanted, unwelcome pop-up advertisements that AOL throws in my path. Someone on this board, I don’t remember who, once made this comment: “Friends don’t let friends use AOL.” I completely agree with that assessment.

I liked it when I had it, because I don’t demand much from an ISP, but thanks to my son I have been BANNED FOR LIFE for something extremely silly, and despite sending me monthly disks asking me to “Try AOL Again”, everytime I call they say, sorry, you’re BANNED FOR LIFE. So I asked them to stop sending disks. They keep coming. I had quite a little collection going until my son threw them away. I do use AIM, though, to keep up with my brother and sister.

Please explain how you do this… it is probably easier than cancelling :smiley: Seriously, how do you get banned from AOL?

Once, I signed up for the free month. Then at then end of the month, I called to cancel. The guy asked why, so I’d say something like, “I can never get connected, the connection was slow, etc.” He’d say they were working on that in my area and I’d get another free month. Got 6 free months that way. That’s the only good thing I have to say about AOL.

I used AOHell for quite a while, started with 3.0 on a 2400 bps modem. Now I have dsl but I travel a ton for business so I keep an aol account since they have numbers all over the country as a service though I would have to say I hate it I hate it I hate it.

Thank you, have a nice day.

The only good thing about AOL is the free-form gaming forum, which has some of the most brilliant and imaginative writers I’ve ever met. However, since they appear to be gearing up to get rid of it, I find absolutely nothing redeeming about AOL at all.

I tried AOSh#t for a while. A “free trial” disc. It screwed up all the office apps on my machine. I couldn’t access anything on the machine except AOSl*me.

My brother is the head of computer security at a major university hospital. He’s good with a cludge. He hates AOWhatever.

Two of the major suppliers of fixed price Internet Access via dialup in the UK are BT Openworld and AOL.

I changed to AOL (V7.0) from BT about two months ago after 7 months of Sheer Purgatory with the Openworld Product.

Marks out of 10:

AOL: 10
BT: - 1

Both products cost £14.99 (about $22.00) per month for unlimited access.

AOL is nearly worthless in nearly every regard, except it has to be about the greatest tool for getting laid online I’ve ever used! I’ve had it for years, with great success.

For example, go to AOL’s member directory, type in your home state, and then something like “swallow,” “oral,”… whatever suits your fancy.

Now that’s $24 a month well spent.

I hate AOHell. Used it temporarily for a couple of weeks when my cable modem got fried in a lightning storm. It kept effing up my TCP/IP stack. I called and cancelled; two months later they started billing me and I am still trying to get the charges straightened out with my credit card company.

Here’s how they feel:

  1. Pissed off.

  2. Irate.

  3. Outraged.

  4. Screwed.

  5. Distraught.

  6. Cheated.

etc.