The article "America Online, while you can" by Bob Woods is all about the hoopla concerning the fact that America Online, or AOL, has not been able to accommodate its vast amount of customers. This is due to AOL's new flat rate, which substituted their original hourly deal. Many AOL users experience busy signals when trying to log on. When and if they do get on AOL, the service runs extremely slow because of the overload of users. Woods threatens that AOL will lose many of their customers if they don't improve their resources. Other companies should beef-up their advertising and try to cash in by targeting the unsatisfied AOL users.
In this day and age of internet use, people in any given location can choose 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 $15 dollars as opposed to AOL's hefty $19.95 a month. AOLers are paying for the appealing menus, graphics and services AOL uses to drive their customers to the internet. These same features can be located anywhere else on the net with the aid 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 helpful menus and information.
In Wood's article, he states that he lives in Chicago, and AOL has several different access numbers to try if one is busy. He writes that often when he has tried to log on using all of the available numbers, and has still been 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 I was not satisfied with the performance of my internet provider, which happens to be sprintlink, I would not complain to the company. I would take my money elsewhere, especially if my job depended on using the internet. With all of the other options available, wasted time and inevitable frustration using AOL could be eliminated. I live in Richmond, Va., which is a fairly big city and have not once been logged off or gotten a busy signal using sprintlink. And I only have one 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) get better internet service and customer service with a local, smaller or more specified company.
I think it is safe to say that America Online has done too little too late. In the internet business, or any commercial mega-cooperation, I believe that you shouldn't advertise and try to get more clients that you are prepared to handle. AOL most definitely should have put more thought into the response their extensive advertising campaigns were sure to bring. I think that eventually people will realize that many other options exist and break away from AOL 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 internet service, call 1-800- NOT-BUSY." America Online users have recently banned together and filed a class action suit about all this. I don't see that necessary because they could easily find a smaller, localized company that would be more than happy to help out with today's demand for internet service. I do not understand why the unsatisfied AOL customers have not already taken their business elsewhere. Well, I can't make decisions for other people, but this should have not been such a big deal.
Throughout my life, I have found that if something is not working out for you, it is better to evaluate your other options and find something more advantageous to you than to complain to the source and ask them to do the changing. Basically, what I am saying is if you have a problem, fix it yourself and don't whine or cry to everyone else about your misfortunes. It would save a lot of time, trouble and controversy.
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