I have been a member of the Internet service provider AOL (America Online) for many years. I have enjoyed its many advantages of bells and whistles with its all singing and all dancing e-mail and especially the facility of AOL Hometown which provided free website space to all members. I spent endless hours over several years constructing my website on AOL Hometown and ended up with a website of which I was really proud, even though I say it myself! Now,at the beginning of this month and completely out of the blue, I received an e-mail informing me that AOL Hometown was closing its doors at the end of October and advising me to download all my files and images from their FTP space as it will no longer be available after the end of October. Not even the courtesy of an explanation for the necessity of this draconian action on their behalf. To add to my turmoil I am now unable to enter the editing suite to retrieve several items of HTML script which I placed on various pages. This is not available in the FTP space to download so I have lost that data. AOL is not even offering the option to transfer the websites to another ISP.
If AOL had a problem with too many people taking up too much web space why on earth did they not opt to impose a charging or payment system for the privilege of having a website on Hometown. I am certain that would have removed the more frivolous sites and freed-up valuable space.
I am now seriously considering leaving AOL altogether because it was the benefit of the free website on AOL Hometown that persuaded me to stay with the company for all these years. I believe AOL has acted in a cavalier way and are not worthy of my continued custom and loyalty. Have any of you bloggers experienced the same fate at the hands of AOL? If so, I would be interested to read of your reactions to their austere implementation of this drastic move.
I have already started to build a new site by purchasing some web space from a UK company at a very reasonable fee for 10 pages with the option to upgrade to unlimited pages if so desired. My new site, which of course is still in its infancy, can be viewed at http://www.david-farley.co.uk
AOL made a lot of money from its Hometown facility by selling advertising space throughout the entire network and so I am at a loss to understand why they have decided to pull the plug on such an important arm of their business model. The product simply will not be the same anymore and I suspect there must be many others sharing my sentiments. Wake up AOL before it is too late and have a change of heart! Most of us would gladly pay a reasonable fee to retain our websites which we have worked extremely hard to develop over many years of membership.
Someone suggested to me that this has all come about since the Carphone Warehouse became a major shareholder in AOL. If that is so shame on them too!
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