TUCoPS :: Truly Miscellaneous :: whyaolsx.txt

Why AOL Sucks

Tim's "Why does AOL Suck?" Compilation

(by Tim Gerchmez)

Last Updated: April 15, 1995


Note: This is not the FAQ for the Usenet newsgroup alt.aol-sucks.

This is a document prepared by me to help newbies to alt.aol-sucks 

understand the venom and flaming that you may see from AOL haters.  This 

venom has spread to many Usenet newsgroups, not just alt.aol-sucks.

The following section consists of posts from former AOL members and

others.  After you read it, you may find yourself beginning to understand

the extreme dislike toward AOL displayed by people on Usenet.  Note that

other online services like Compuserve, GEnie, Delphi and Prodigy are

largely free of this hatred.  That's because AOL is unique among the

Online services in many ways.  For more information, see the FAQ

for alt.aol-sucks (posted at least once monthly).  Also note that the

reposts in this document are unauthorized; please do not contact the 

people listed herein unless you have something important to say.  They 

are busy people like you, and won't appreciate seeing a rash of Email 

appear in their mailboxes asking them questions about this document.  If 

you have questions, you may contact me at future@eskimo.com instead.


From: David Rice <drice@mbnet.mb.ca>

Date: 22 Mar 1995 23:38:12 GMT

After trying out AOL ( I know better now :-)

and their 10 free hour DEAL - from Canada,

I was hit with a $1000 US bill- no amount of eMail,

phone calling or letter writing has got me an invoice

or any explanation- just an AMEX bill for $1500 CAN.

I am refusing to pay until AOL explains-

I would appreciate any advice on fighting back or 

dealing with Card Companies or just hearing of similar

problems with AOL would be helpful.



From: Mimi Kahn <njkahn@hooked.net>

Date: 25 Mar 1995 00:56:41 GMT

Right...and I was hit with a TOS violation for using the word   

"pee."  Little children say "pee," for crying out loud, but the   

Little Old Lady From Pasadena mentality of TPTB at AOL evidently   

don't want to know that people go to the john. 


And I was logged on as my dog at the time...so *she's* in jail. 




From: Mimi Kahn <njkahn@hooked.net>

Date: 25 Mar 1995 03:08:40 GMT

From: destiny@crl.com (David Cassel) 


> A doctor received a TOS warning for using the word "fentanyl"   

> in a chat room. 


I know someone who was TOSsed for using the word "pussyfooting."   

 Any words beyond the limits of the TOS police's vocabulary are   

deemed vulgar, or at least suspect. 


I once posted a quote from Robert Heinlein that referred to   

politeness as the "lubrication" of society.  That post was   

pulled.  I guess some moderator thought "lubrication" was a   

sexual term. 






From: Roger Dietz <rogerd@rahul.net>

Date: 26 Mar 1995 07:00:06 GMT

My daughter has had an internet account with AOL for at least 1 1/2 and

has been trying very hard to cancel.  She had no success in this

endeavor and AOL still keeps drawing money from her bank account.

I've tried sending email to jeanv1 and so far my email has been

ignored.  The bank has no way to stop the debits unless it comes

from AOL (this is stupid).  I am considering a class action suit

against AOL on behalf of my daughter and others who have been

wrongfully charged by AOL after making a good faith attempt to

cancel their accounts.  If you are a potential member of this

class and can document your good faith attempt please let me

know about who you are and where you are located and if you are

willing to be considered a member of this class for this legal

action.  Please keep in mind that I haven't decided to pursue

this yet as a definite course of action but am considering it

and seeking others of like mind.  If I decide not to pursue it

I don't want to hear a lot of whining and crying as it is at

this point my choice whether to proceed or not.  Furthermore I

want to hear from people who can document their efforts not just

from people who say "yeah, I did it too"!  If we proceed you will

be expected to produce your documentation and may have to appear

in court to testify to the accuracy of your claims.

Thank you all for reading this and a special thanks to those who

reply.  Please reply to class@rigel.com not to me directly!



* Necessity is the excuse for every infringement of human freedom. *

*  It is the argument of the TYRANT, and the creed of the slave.   *

*                                                                  *


From: TFXS42A@prodigy.com (D Boucher)

Date: 26 Mar 1995 20:42:01 GMT

Yes...I admit...I did try their 10 free hours offer..... 

But when I tried to cancel at the end...I noticed my crediut card was 

still charged!  For the 'Free Hours'....!!! They continued to bill me for 

the next three months...   The bank also gave me grief when I tried to 

get it taken off...

So in the end...I did *NOT* pay for it...but the grief of trying to get 

it off my statement was not worth trying the 10 free hours.  

AOL seems to LOVE (tongue in cheek) their customers Soooo much that they 

won't let them cancel...  

Kinda like the 'Hotel California'...


A friend who is on AOL said she responded to the gajetguru or something 

like that giving the information that Nuts and Volts magazine had ads 

where you could buy cable tv equipment.  She said the next day she had 

mail from someonw at AOL saying they had to delete her messages because 

they talked about criminal activities!!! What's wrong with this picture? 



From: destiny@crl.com (David Cassel)

Date: 26 Mar 1995 20:52:02 -0800

AOL considers the following words vulgar.


        transsexual - vulgar

        transvestite - vulgar   


Note that in the key, vulgar is defined as "UNCONDITIONALLY vulgar".

A disgruntled AOL employee forwarded a copy of AOL's "TOS" list from last

March to the alt.aol-sucks newsgroup.  Note that this list was NEVER made

available to AOL users.  Chat rooms are shut down and messages pulled 


boards based on vaguely-defined "Guidelines"--yes, they really do say 


your best judgement". 

But it gets more interesting.  There's a poignant story about some people

who wanted to *discuss* crossdressing on AOL.  But as "transvestite" was

considered "unconditionally vulgar", AOL shut down every one of their 


rooms.  They persisted, re-creating every TV chat room.  AOL continued

shutting them down, at the rate of one every five minutes.  TOS Advisors

also sent e-mail to the parties involved, making it a point to use the

real names behind the screen names.  Complaints were met with the 


"AOL has no plans to change their terms of service". 

This is a good time for this excerpt from TOS: 

    America Online is a community oriented service.  As such, our goal is 


    provide a useful and enjoyable place for all members. Using vulgar or

    profane language is not allowed in public areas such as public chat 


    or message boards.  Use your best judgment.  Remember, there are 



But the transvestites were using "member" chat rooms.  AOL has started

removing "member" rooms from the list of rooms, making them secret, 


"private" rooms.  Recent examples of member rooms AOL removed from their

non-public room lists: 


        F2Tutor Wanted

        "Yes Ma'am"

        FBI subpoenas AOL

That last room name is why they're so touchy.  The FBI arrested two men

charged with gathering child pornography from other AOL users, as well as

selling their own. 

"TOS Advisors" sometimes try to dupe their users by not notifying them 


their room has been made "invisible". 


Other words from the list of words not allowed in AOL chat room names:


bound to tease

do me



cross-dressing rooms



gay lovers

gay teens

gay youth

(gay young adult is okay)      


hot videos






men on men









teen shower

teens wanted




"who want"

women on women

youth (if the connotation is too sexual)

Note:  this list is from last March.  The transvestite story has a happy

ending.  Though AOL dug their heels in for months--frightened by this 


of reverence for gender roles, apparently--they eventually started 


so much bad publicity in alternative and mainstream newspapers, that they

backed down, and removed "transvestite" from the list. 

Epilogue:  these are some of the words they considered vulgar in any 


bondage, defecation, douche, feltch, genitalia, horny, masturbation, 


sadomasochism, semen, sexual devices, slut, submissive, urination, 


whips & chains.

  destiny@crl.com   /\                   alt.aol-sucks FTP site

                  /    \        ftp://ftp.crl.com/users/ro/destiny/aol/


From: frankp3897@aol.com (FrankP3897)

Date: 28 Mar 1995 09:32:58 -0500

The Gay Alliance in Ft Worth, TX was attempting to establish some gay 


chat counseling, and thought we could work with AOL. However, you cannot

create a chat room named "GAY TEEN CHAT" but you CAN create "TEEN QUEER



From: pilgrim@teleport.com (Vinyard J. Hrovat)

Date: Tue, 28 Mar 1995 20:06:30 -0800 (PST)

Walter Ian Kaye <boo@primenet.com> wrote:

>You have a brain -- you know what's acceptable and what is not. Don't 



I was censored and threatened with discontinuance of service by America

Online for using the word "urinate" in a discussion on psychopharmacology

in a mental-health related forum. I said that lithium carbonate would 


you urinate more frequently. After complaining i was told that it was ok 


say "urine" but not "urinate" because it is a verb (?!).  I was also told

that the very mention of lithuium could be considered a TOS violation 


though it was the nexus of the topic at hand) because it is a "controlled

substance."  I was supposed to have intuitively know these things, i 



From: Evan Kay <evankay@delphi.com>

Date: Thu, 30 Mar 95 22:10:32 -0500

On 950330

Evan Writes

Two weeks ago my mother sent me an E-mail message which took five days

two arrive.  I note that the AOLers seem to want to chalk this up

as some routine network glitch or old news, but "THE FACTS" are that

it has been my experience that for "mail" the USPS is even

a competitor of America Online.  When I was an AOL customer, I

became so frustrated with the speed of the mail that I would

direct all of my vital correspondence to my free library access.  That is

not to say that all mail was delayed but often enough to be very 




From: chuckie@kincyb.com

Date: Sat, 01 Apr 95 12:00:23 EST

  This is about the fourth, and most recently updated, in a series of

articles I have been posting (previously only on alt.aol) regarding my

inability to even GET THROUGH to an AOL employee to see if I could

re-activate my account via telephone.

  Within the hour I again called the AOL 1-800 Customer Service # and

AGAIN was advised to "call back later" because all the CS reps were

busy. I actually merely wanted to see if things had improved from a

month or so ago when I had last unsuccessfully attempted to speak to

someone to see if I could get the new AOL software and re-activate if I

chose to.

  Once again, I couldn't.

  Based on this miserable record of non-access, how does America

NonLine expect people to subscribe/reactivate?

  Now that the new "Worldgroup" bbs software is being sold, and the fact

that it apparently is an improvement over the AOL windows interface AND

can be bought by any would-be online service operator, I truly hope

some ambitious, CUSTOMER-ORIENTED entrepreneur out there takes advantage

of the atrocious lack of business sense of "the competition," AOL, and

gnaws into America NonLine's customer base.

  Mr. Case, are you reading this?


From: glgreene@cybergate.com (Gary Greene)

Date: 2 Apr 1995 17:18:36 GMT

Your Situation is unique in my experience.  I have been trying to

cancel my account since December.  It is now April.  I went through the 

correct procedures

on line and the next month, Billing Continued!   I called AOL and was 

assured that I would be credited and my account canceled.  BILLING 

CONTINUED!!   I called them again and they told me they would cancel my

account but I will have to wait another month for for the extra month

of service they charged me for to be credited.  BILLING CONTINUES TODAY!!

  This is the second time they have done this to me.  The first time I 

assumed it was just a six month  error and would never happen again.  


not only bill me for six months after cancellation but they repremanded 


for not checking my bills and refused to compensate me for several of the 



   Needless to say, I will never join AOL again and I will do everything 

in my

power to see that my friends don't either!!


From: jdwren@aardvark.ucs.uoknor.edu (Is it weird in here, or is it just 


Date: 7 Apr 95 18:57:55 CDT

        AAAARRRRGH!!! They're fucking me over!!! The damn bastards! Don't

EVER EVER EVER try AOL for their """""""Free""""""" """no risk""" trial

period. They have fucked me around so much it is not at all funny.

        The bastards not only make it virtually impossible to cancel your

trial period, they **WON'T LET YOU**. After a letter to the president, a

call to their cancellation number, and 4 attempts at getting a customer

"service" rep to help me (and being put on hold for 20 min at a time THEN

hung up on), the mother-fuckers send me ***ANOTHER*** bill for $9.95!

        I told my credit card company not to pay the first one and to 


them I wanted to cancel and the BASTARDS sent me another bill! Oh, fuck

these people! They're driving me nuts. If this next attempt doesn't work

I will not only cancel my credit card, but I will begin posting to random

groups how badly AOL SUCKS!!!!!

Jonathan Wren


From: sabercat@gate.net (sabercat)

Date: Sat, 08 Apr 1995 19:12:33

In article <D6qK91.L3M@eskimo.com> Tim Gerchmez wrote:

>This is just getting to be too much.  AOL is destroying Usenet, and I do 

>mean that literally.  If the newsgroups continue to deteriorate, I will 

>eventually quit using Usenet completely.  It just ain't worth the 



Hell, the Binaries groups are so trashed...it's impossible to even 


I used to grab all the files from a days posting and get mostly pictures 


a few requests.

NOW, mostly Me too's and a few Picts.

It has become pathetic.


From: revcoal@pcnet.com (Donna J. Logan)

Date: 9 Apr 1995 12:52:40 -0400

A friend of mine who is on AOL (but actively searching for alternatives), 

emailed me yesterday to let me know that when he had tried to log onto 

his AOL account this past Friday, he got an "Account is No Longer Active" 


After waiting on AOLs 1-800 number for awhile, he finally got a live 

person, explained his problem, and was told that AOL had cancelled his 

AOL account because my friend's credit card had been reported stolen.  My 

friend found this answer extremely surprising, as he was holding said 

credit card in his hand.

AOL is unable to explain HOW this happened, and refused to reactivate my 

friend's account until he provided a NEW credit card number.

So for anyone having problems trying to cancel their AOL accounts and who 

keep finding monthly charges tacked onto their credit cards, maybe they 

should try reporting to AOL that the card was stolen.....

Rev. Donna



From: Scotsman@ix.netcom.com (LdScotsman)

Date: 6 Apr 1995 23:21:21 GMT

I've had AOL in the past, and receiving a $125 bill for using the 

Internet is hardly cool when I can pay $19.95 a month flat for 

everything the internet offers.  How about that AOL web browser?  So, 

has Steve Case pushed that back to July yet?  Talk about service.  Enjoy 

your bill.


From: Gordo@ix.netcom.com (Shorts)

Date: 7 Apr 1995 19:05:10 GMT

I subscribed to AOL for about one year.  The only real entertainment I 

got out of that year was the chat rooms they have.  The AOL chat 

function is good and there are a lot of participants.  Otherwise, the 

experience was largely a waste of money.


From: kenone@ix.netcom.com (Kenneth Madore)

Date: 10 Apr 1995 02:11:36 GMT

AOL is so double-standard it's pathetic!  AOL creates rooms themsleves 

called "Gay & Lesbian"!!  What do they suppose is going to be the topic 

of conversation?.....basket weaving?  Yet, AOL cracks down on 

member-created rooms that have something to do with heterosexuality!  (I 

am not prejudiced against gays or lesbians...to each his/her own...just 

using it as an example)  If all these words AOL has declared to be in 

violation of TOS, why do THEY continue to create these rooms for members 

to enter? BTW, I was kicked off AOL one night for using the term "beat 

off".  One minute I was on, the next kicked!  I was pissed and signed 

right back on the find out why the hell I was booted and not the other 

people who were also using that type of language.  The guide responsible 

for this ignored my IMs!!  I promptly cancelled my account!


From: genyosai@scsn.net (Nicholas Trevino Gallman)

Date: 11 Apr 1995 20:10:44 GMT

I was a member of AOL for 2 years!  Now that I'm accessing the WHOLE

internet....  I see what I was missing!  Using netscape as my Web browser 

kicks the FU@# out of AOL.  Connections to over 1400 news groups with 

countless entries (like this one), IRC (if you AOL kids know what that 

is), etc makes AOL NOTHIN'!  Now... I do pay, but nothing even close to 

AOL.  $35 per month gets me 90 hours per month!  That would be close to 

$300 with AOL!  And I STILL wouldn't have the things I need!  Hell...  

I'm sure AOL gets TONS of its stuff from the NET anyway.

GET IT FROM THE SOURCE.......  THE INTERNET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


From: philly@clam.rutgers.edu (Philip)

Date: 13 Apr 1995 19:47:38 -0400

I had a post deleted for the use of the word "ass."  You can say it on 

TV, but not on AOL, apparently.


From: marty@mindspring.com (Marty Robinson)

Date: Fri, 14 Apr 1995 03:58:12 -0500

I know there have been posts about this before, but for all of you AOLers

and new readers of this newsgroup, here's the deal:

If you really want to know how STUPID some folks from AOL can be, please

refer to the newsgroup "news.groups.questions". There, amongst other

retarded AOL posts, you will find the infamous "SEXXY GIRLES" or "Re:

SEXXY GIRLES" post. Within the past few days, there have been no less 


18 messages added to the thread. I think that may bring the thread up to

near 500 replies from AOL-ers. Please read the thread to enlighten

yourself a little.

That particular newsgroup used to be a helpful place to post if you 


direction to a newsgroup about a particular topic. Now it is full of "me

too" posts, discussions of things that are WAY off topic, and....yes, 


happening...an AOL-er is even attempting to distribute a LAME chain 


in the newsgroup.


From: smsmith@omni.voicenet.com (Steven Smith)

Date: 13 Apr 1995 21:36:00 -0400

>Why not kick the online service habit altogether and get a SLIP/PPP or

>shell account.  That gives the USER the choice to have a text based

>or GUI-based connection to the internet.

Thanks.... I have done just that. I have both my UNIX shell and my 


access... This is much better, faster, and more reliable. And it *works*

as it should. Flies pretty fast too... <VBG>




From: pcrvrjon@aol.com (PCR VR Jon)

Date: 13 Apr 1995 23:55:56 -0400

There are a lot of little AOL vermin running around AOL and the Usenet,

wreaking havoc, and making life difficult for a lot of people, and I'd

imagine TOSEmail gets a *lot* of mail.  I got this message the other day

after I sent off the 3rd MAKE MONEY FAST spam to TOSEmail.  It went

through the 2nd time though...



From: dobrecht@rmc.edu (David Obrecht)

Date: 12 Apr 1995 00:17:54 GMT

AOL SUPER COOL KRAL DESTROYER (kral@aol.com) wrote:








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