If you do not hear back from me, please email me from a non-AOL account. AOL's practices have always been horrible, but lately it has gotten completely out of hand, and I may not be able to reply to your email at all, and there is nothing I can do about it. As recently as August 2007 I have received email from AOL accounts, and AOL will not let me respond to them AT ALL.
I almost never get involved with such things, but based on my own experience and having a good friend who used to work for AOL, I would strongly urge you to either abandon AOL completely or supplement it with a free email account. Gmail and Yahoo are among those who offer free email accounts.There is no telling how much mail you are missing from individuals you want to hear from and companies you do business with online because of AOL's idiotic mail practices.
For example, did you know that if someone sends a group email to you, and you write a "reply to all" message, your AOL account may be suspended for violating AOL's Terms of Service Agreement? That happened this week (Jan. '06) to two friends of mine. An innocent email wishing a group of friends Happy New Year resulted in the accounts of AOL people being suspended when they wrote a "reply to all" message. Yes, you read that correctly - they didn't even send the original message, they were recipients!
AOL apparently now considers almost all group email to be spam and they cancelled their accounts without notice, even though this was a group of friends. One of my friends, a lawyer, called AOL and talked to three people about what constitutes spam when emailing more than one person. She got three different answers - from 30 to as few as six people on your email !! Six! And it doesn't matter what the subject line or content of the message is - this one was simply a New Year's greeting. The most frustrating thing is that AOL is not consistent with this practice - sometimes a group email will get to AOL customers without any problem, and sometimes a simple greeting will get your account cancelled. One AOL employee said the maximum in a group email was 30, another employee said 20, and one said 6.
I was not involved in the above situation, but just two weeks ago I had someone contact me from an AOL address, and I couldn't get a message back to them no matter whether I clicked 'reply' or tried composing a new email from any of my email accounts (all non-AOL). I now know that the reason is that once someone is (even wrongly) considered a spammer, AOL blocks all email from that server - which affects possibly hundreds or thousands of innocent users who go through that server. It also explains why I have had several emails to AOL users bounce back with the message that AOL is not accepting email from my server, which happens to be SBC (Southwestern Bell - AT&T).
Anyway - sorry for the soapbox delivery, but this affects my ability to get information to and from you. It could also affect YOU, because, as with my two friends, they received a group email and merely wrote a "reply to all" message to the group and their accounts were cancelled with a violation warning that AOL refuses to reverse.
I've know for years that AOL is evil, but being a nonsubscriber it has not directly affected me - until now. So, before you assume I'm a jerk for not responding to your email, please consider that sometimes I try but cannot get anything to go through to you.
IF THAT ISN'T ENOUGH, below is an email regarding AOL current plan to allow spammers to pay AOL to bypass AOL's spam filters. Get ready for (1) a lot more spam to deal with, and (2) having to pay to send email.
Dear AOL User,
We're writing because you haven't yet signed the petition against AOL's "email tax." Some amazing events happened recently—ever since AOL proposed allowing bulk-emailers to pay to bypass AOL's spam filters.
AOL has seen a big backlash from customers who don't want their inboxes auctioned off—and from hundreds of organizations who would be left with increasingly unreliable email delivery if they didn't pay AOL's "email tax." Over 300,000 people have signed our petition to AOL, each of whom has been given numerous opportunities to contact AOL and help preserve the free and open Internet.
Three weeks ago, the DearAOL.com coalition was formed by 50 organizations—including charities, nonprofits, the political right and left, small businesses, Internet advocates, and small community groups.
Within one week, 400 news outlets across the world reported on our campaign against AOL's "email tax." 50 coalition partners grew to 500—everything from pony clubs and biker clubs to coffee shops and church groups. All of us know that AOL's pay-to-send scheme would harm the free and open Internet which has revolutionized democratic participation, economic innovation, and free speech.
Three additional recent developments have not been good news for AOL:
AOL has actively tried to deceive their customers about the consequences of their proposal. But now the truth is coming out every day.
Excerpt from New York Times Op-Ed by AOL email tax supporter Esther Dyson, Friday, March 5, 2006
Excerpt from San Jose Mercury News Editorial, Sunday, March 5, 2006
It is not correct for the above writer(s) to describe this as a "tax" which would be charged to consumers; AOL's plan is to charge a fee to businesses who want to bypass spam filters in exchange for a promise they aren't really sending spam. The opinions stated above are the credited person/organization's guess as to where that system may lead. For more on this, check snopes.com.
Okay, so you want to take my
advice and cancel your AOL account? You might check this link first. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaaAYVUWP0I