The article “America Online, while you can” by Bob Woods is all aboutthe hoopla concerning the fact that America Online, or AOL, has not been able toaccommodate its vast amount of customers. This is due to AOL’s new flat rate,which substituted their original hourly deal. Many AOL users experience busysignals when trying to log on. When and if they do get on AOL, the service runsextremely slow because of the overload of users. Woods threatens that AOL willlose many of their customers if they don’t improve their resources. Othercompanies should beef-up their advertising and try to cash in by targeting theunsatisfied AOL users.
In this day and age of internet use, people in any given location canchoose from at least fifteen national companies, such as sprintlink, compuserve,ameritech, erols and so on. Using these services are less expensive than America Online. Per month for unlimited use they average at around $10 to $15dollars as opposed to AOL’s hefty $19.95 a month.
AOLers are paying for theappealing menus, graphics and services AOL uses to drive their customers to theinternet. These same features can be located anywhere else on the net with theaid of any search device, such as infoseek, yahoo, microsoft network or web-crawler. These sites are no harder to use and they provide lots of helpfulmenus and information.
In Wood’s article, he states that he lives in Chicago, and AOL hasseveral different access numbers to try if one is busy. He writes that oftenwhen he has tried to log on using all of the available numbers, and has stillbeen unsuccessful. This is a problem for him because he is dependent on AOL to”do the daily grind of (his) job as a reporter and PM managing editor.” If Iwas not satisfied with the performance of my internet provider, which happens tobe sprintlink, I would not complain to the company.
I would take my moneyelsewhere, especially if my job depended on using the internet. With all of theother options available, wasted time and inevitable frustration using AOL couldbe eliminated. I live in Richmond, Va., which is a fairly big city and have notonce been logged off or gotten a busy signal using sprintlink.And I only haveone access line available with my provider as opposed to AOL’s multiple lines.
I agree with Woods in the fact that people will (in most circumstances) getbetter internet service and customer service with a local, smaller or morespecified company. I think it is safe to say that America Online has done too little toolate. In the internet business, or any commercial mega-cooperation, I believethat you shouldn’t advertise and try to get more clients that you are preparedto handle. AOL most definitely should have put more thought into the responsetheir extensive advertising campaigns were sure to bring. I think thateventually people will realize that many other options exist and break away fromAOL and will find other providers. I think that Compuserve also thought this,by placing an ad during the Super Bowl stating “We have the best internetservice, call 1-800- NOT-BUSY.”
America Online users have recently bannedtogether and filed a class action suit about all this. I don’t see thatnecessary because they could easily find a smaller, localized company that wouldbe more than happy to help out with today’s demand for internet service. I donot understand why the unsatisfied AOL customers have not already taken theirbusiness elsewhere. Well, I can’t make decisions for other people, but thisshould have not been such a big deal.
Throughout my life, I have found that if something is not working outfor you, it is better to evaluate your other options and find something moreadvantageous to you than to complain to the source and ask them to do thechanging. Basically, what I am saying is if you have a problem, fix it yourselfand don’t whine or cry to everyone else about your misfortunes. It would save alot of time, trouble and controversy.