Back when the internet was still a new novelty, there was one company that was pretty much the standard to use when you wanted to go online – America Online. They made it so easy – you could hardly walk through a Wal-Mart without tripping over a free America Online disc. One quick installation, and suddenly you were a customer!
Unfortunately, it was TOO easy. AOL created a huge customer base from those early internet users, and a lot of them are still with AOL because they are worried about switching. That is indeed unfortunate. Whenever I talk with someone who is still using AOL, I encourage them to switch to a different internet provider (or at least use a different email address).
Why should you switch away from AOL?
1. Ads – AOL bombards you with them
2. Poor customer service
3. Improper billing – AOL has been sued multiple times for receiving someone’s cancellation notice, and then just not cancelling – so they get a few more months of monthly payments out of someone who wants to leave.
4. Slow internet connection speed – with cable (or FIOS) available to most people, there is no reason to tolerate a slow internet connection.
5. Crowded user interface – if you use the AOL software, you know what I mean – way too many buttons and other junk cluttering up the screen.
6. The image that it gives you – AOL has a really negative reputation for many users on the internet. If someone you don’t know sees your email ending with “@aol.com” it is very likely that they form an opinion about you – and it’s not a positive one. Right or wrong, that’s just the way it is. This is especially true if you use email for business communications – you definitely don’t want your customers (or potential customers) to see you as an AOL user.
The common objection
Whenever I am trying to get someone to switch away from using AOL, I invariably get this response:
But I have used this AOL email address for years –
all of my friends know that address!
My answer is this: so what.
If you think it is a huge hassle to change from your AOL email to a Gmail address, you don’t know what the procedure is. Or how easy it is.
1. Create new email account at www.Gmail.com
2. Import all of your AOL contacts into your new Gmail account
3. Send your contacts an email saying “My old email address was email@example.com. My new email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please use this new address from now on.”
But what about the people that still send email
to my old AOL address? What about them?
My answer is this: you will still get those emails. We can set it up so that any email sent to your old AOL account for the next 30 days will automatically show up in your new Gmail account. So you won’t miss anything important.
And if someone can’t get the hang of sending email to your new email address after a month, my guess is that those emails probably aren’t ones that are critically important anyway.
I would love to help you get away from AOL. Next time you hire me for a computer tune-up/check-up/speed-up, we can include this as part of the process. Make 2012 the year you jump ship from AOL!