No. of Recommendations: 1

I think you've picked one of the classic dilemmas: to AOL or not to AOL. I largely agree with the criticisms of AOL in this thread. I think AOL has been making beds in a burning building these past two years. Many of their actions have been to shore up advertising revenue versus making a better product. Because of this, AOL truly has some annoying features. So why would you even consider it? Because AOL still has some unmatched features that put it squarely ahead of any competition. It just depends on what is important to you.

Those features of AOL that stand out revolve around its content and the community. No one even comes close to the content available in addition to the depth of chat rooms and discussions within its community. Like "NoIDatAll" said, it is a walled garden.

On the downside, AOL has the annoying features which you have read about in this thread which I won't repeat.

To make your decision easier, let me apply a silly (read: somewhat idiotic) example. Are you one of those people who hangs around at a backyard barbeque until the last beer is gone? If the answer is yes, then you probably would enjoy the AOL community and its content. There are plenty of discussion topics and ways to meet people with similar interest. There would be no shortage of discussions in fact. As well, there are plenty of ways to surf to different topics with your "buddies" online with its unmatched depth of content.

On the other hand, if you answered no to my example, then you probably would get annoyed with AOL's features. Getting online for a short five minutes is less appealing on AOL than a low-cost ISP or non-intrusive one like Earthlink. I am in this category. I have a low attention span. If I spend more than 15 minutes in the mall for example, I consider the outing a failure. I apply the same attitude towards the internet. However, I have seen AOL in action and am impressed with its features. It's just not for me.

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