• AOL is the largest Internet provider in the world.
• AOL's record reflects a dedication to maximizing profits that has negatively affected consumers and has sparked concerns over future control of the internet.
• AOL has used its power as a communication medium to try and stifle competition and criticism, particularly censoring emails in opposition to its proposed "email tax" which could be detrimental to countless people and organizations.
• Tell AOL to respect the rights of internet users and conduct your business with independent, local, green businesses through Go Green.
-- Profile Updated 06/30/2010
AOL is the largest Internet provider in the world with roughly 26 million subscribers in the US and Europe. The company offers content, communication tools, and online shopping, and its Access unit includes the Compuserve and Netscape services. In 2004 AOL's revenues topped $8.69 billion.
Stop AOL's Email Tax
The DearAOL.com Coalition is calling on consumers to oppose AOL's proposed pay-to-send email system. The concept has been described by AOL as a means to get rid of spam; however, critics say the system will only favor affluent individuals and companies. The coalition argues that those who can't afford to pay AOL's "email tax" cannot be guaranteed that their emails will be delivered. The groups most likely to be adversely affected include charities, small businesses, civic organizations, and even families with mailing lists. Opponents of the pay-to-send system worry that if other companies follow AOL's lead, "the Internet will become permanently divided into two classes of users - those who can afford to pay for guaranteed delivery and everyone else left behind with unreliable service."
There are no known affiliates associated with AOL .
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Ethics and Governance
According to FreePress, AOL was found censoring customer emails that included a link to www.DearAOL.com which encourages action to oppose the company’s proposed “email tax.” (The so-called email tax would require customers to pay AOL a fee in order to guarantee that their messages bypass spam filters.) More than 300 people reported trying to send AOL users messages carrying a link to www.DearAOL.com, but received notification that their email “failed permanently.” When the DearAOL.com Coalition (composed of 600 organizations including Free Press, MoveOn and EFF) contacted the press about AOL's blocking activities, the comany promptly removed the filter for DearAOL.com emails, claiming it was a “software glitch.”'
-- Free Press, 04/14/2006
Source URL: www.freepress.net/news/14960
Top lawyers at the Securities and Exchange Commission argued that an appeals court should allow sharholders of Homestore.com to pursue a lawsuit against AOL. The original lawsuit accused AOL and two other internet companies of helping Homestore inflate earnings in 2000 and 2001 by making it seem as though the internet companies were paying for advertising, when in fact they were trading services for ads. Homestore then restated earnings by $190 million for that period.
-- Washington Post, 10/23/2004
The University of California filed suit against AOL for allegedly inflating earnings prior to its merger with Time Warner. The university claimed that AOL executives tampered with income figures in order to secure $936 million in profits when its company shares were liquidated in the Time Warner union. UC claimed to have lost more than $450 million due to insider trading and overstated earnings on the part of AOL.
-- University of Santa Barbara (93106 News), 04/28/2003
Source URL: none available
In early 2000, AOL customers filed a class-action lawsuit for as much as $8 billion in damages on claims that AOL's version 5.0 Internet software caused problems for people trying to use other Internet providers. Rich D'Amato of AOL insisted the lawsuit had "no basis in fact or law." Company officials argued that customers consented to specific conditions in order to use AOL's version 5.0 software, and that the new software offered better features and a stable Internet environment.
-- CNN, 02/02/2000