America Online is a great place to be entertained. If you want to chat or mingle with other people, this is the place to be. Nothing else is even close.

This ISP grew way too fast and had lots of problems as a result. Their dialup server, quite frankly, sucked. Busy signals, disconnects and performance issues plagued the server for years.

aol browserPersonally, I tried to cancel my AOL service twice due to these issues. On both occasions my teenager screamed so loud that he was loosing his friends that I recommended the service. The second time I got smart and signed up with the “bring your own access” service, which essentially allows me to access AOL across the internet instead of across a dialup.

All of the issues with reliability went away after that, and my teenager was happy. The newer interface is slick and quick, and the feeling of belonging to a community is very high, and, I must admit, very satisfying.

There are some issues with AOL that you must be aware of at all times.

  • AOL is by far the most spammed service on the internet. Since AOL has a habit of selling it’s email lists to the world, you will be spammed by everything. This is most annoying especially because much of the spam is hardcore pornography. You can block emails, but the blocking is awkward and, unless you block everything, largely ineffective.
  • I’ve never seen any service with so many scams. Attempts to get passwords, credit card numbers and other data proliferate everywhere. A good rule to follow is don’t trust any email or instant message on AOL to anything sensitive.