AOL is offering free email. Yes, another company offering 2GB storage. The only difference (supposedly) is that paid AOL users see an ad at the bottom and AIM users see an ad at the top.
Screw up #1 – As a paying customer I should see an ad at all.
Screw up #2 – Paid users (when they log in) only have 100MB of storage.
Screw up #3 – There is a bug that AOL members who perhaps canceled their service can not login to the mail system, even though they have an AIM account.
My question is: why bother? The only draw is that people can use their old email accounts, which is why most people hold on to their AOL accounts. Guess what? They aren’t going to hold on to them if AIM users get better benefits than paid members. Paid members lose their email after 27 days. AIM mail will never expire.
The point of this offering is to keep AIM users and stop them from using Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail (loss of ad revenue). If AOL lost 500,000 customers alone in 2005 that’s 500,000 people who can’t access their email because they’re blocked. That’s not a bug, that’s a disaster.
I most likely would have kept my AOL service, even with the email, because it gives me a backup dial-up service in case my broadband goes down. This is just another example of a company that just doesn’t get it.
It’s a shame AOL doesn’t have a blog. Of course, they probably wouldn’t want to do that because of all the negative feedback they’d receive. They should want to hear it, so they can correct it.