I started off on prodigy paying about $8 an hour. Then when AOL offered flat rate Internet access, me, and millions more, switched. And thats why AOL is #1. They were the first. They started getting tons of subscribers. And before the other services could do the same AOL had already cornered the market. It was a very good business move.
AOL also now owns Compuserve, ICQ, and Netscape among other things. It markets Compuserve to business users and whatnot. It saved Netscape for backruptcy, then then formed a strategic relationship with SUN to basically combat Microsoft. And then of course they have ICQ. Personally ICQ is too cluttered for me, I prefer AIM.
So, I still use AOL, am I a newbie? I've been online longer than alot of you could ride a bike. I'm not trying to offend any of you but saying everyone who uses AOL is a newbie is just wrong.
And those commercial are right, AOL 6.0 is really nice.
I actually pay an extra $10 a month to use AOL. I don't use their dial-up lines unless I am out of town (yes, another benefit, if you're travelling you can have a local dial-up node anywhere) so my cost is only $10 a month. I have a cable modem. So sign on to AOL. Maybe an ad pops up, maybe not, but I don't really care its only 1. I click no thanks. A window pops up with channels, I close it, and then the main window pops up and the buddy window does. I can see who of my friends are online. I can see any breaking news stories, maybe there is a fun poll or survey I could take. I can go click on a button on my customized toolbar and see how my stocks are doing. Its all built in nicely.
I don't use AOLs browser (which is basically IE) to browse. I agree with you on that, it does suck. But you're wrong if you think AOL forces people to use it. Even if you're dialing up using their lines you can still open up your browser separate from AOL.
So, the alternative? First I gotta tell everyone my new email address. Then I need to use something like Outlook for my email, problem is Outlook is prone to viruses like melissa and the love bug. If I want to see news I can go to cnn.com, if I want to see my stocks... I don't know some stock site. If I want to see my buddies I need to load up AIM. I could do all that and more, or just load up AOL.
So, I like AOL better than the alternative. Its simply easier to use.
And it is very important to all of us. AOL is easy to use, so your grandma can go online, and that computer illiterate teacher you had in middle school can go online, and your crazy Aunt Sue can go online. And the more people who are online the more business is done online, and the more business is done online, the more businesses want websites built, and the more websites that need to be built the more money in our pockets.
So, don't make fun of AOL.