Does AOL.com offer anything of value to someone not on AOL?
First of all, I would like to share a screen capture from one of my visits to AOL.com on December 8th, 2002.
Screen capture from 2002.12.08
Basically, and I’m afraid it’s not as clear as one would like, I visited http://www.aol.com/ and received this message. After reading the message, I pulled up the information on my browser (Help -> About Internet Explorer) and took a snapshot (using XnView). Imagine my surprise - well, not really - when I found that the browser I was using was the browser that they wanted me to use, if I wasn't going to use their browser of course... Now, this brings up some problems, which I hope to discuss in another section, at another time, however, I thought I would bring this to people's attention.
Visit the site with your own browser, and see if they let you in :) You never really know until you try, right?
Also, you may want to check and make sure - if you are using a high end browser - that AOL has not added itself, by various means, to your 'Trusted sites'. In Internet Explorer, go to Tools -> Internet Options... Then, click on the 'Security' tab. Selecting 'Trusted sites' and then pressing the button marked 'Sites...' will give you a listing of sites that you trust. For me, I have "http://*.microsoft.com/" and "http://www.doxdesk.com/" as trusted sites. Pressing okay, or cancel if you have made no changes, and selecting 'Restricted sites' this time, you will see your restricted sites. I have "http://*.lop.com/" and "http://free.aol.com/" on this list. Now, when you were in 'Trusted sites', you may have seen http://free.aol.com/ on that list. If you did not put it there, that probably means that a program you downloaded, that would have also probably given you a 'Free AOL' link/icon, put that there. In order to prevent that from happening again, you need to put that link in your 'Restricted sites' list, or not download any programs that may put that in your 'Trusted sites'. Or, you can simply check and make sure, every once in a while, that that site has not snuck in in some way... However, truthfully, there isn't really any reason to visit AOL if you do not have their Internet service, or, actually, any reason to visit if you do have their service (unless you want to cancel of course ;)
For example, if you'd like to do a search, http://www.google.com/ can help you out there (and, in fact, is the service that AOL uses):
Screen capture from 2003.01.19
If you want to get information on news, take a look at http://news.google.com/ or http://www.cnn.com/ (among other sites like ABC, NBC and Fox News...). So, really, what would you want AOL for? I await your emails ;)
As an update, I checked AOL after noticing this article on the old site. I wanted to try AOL.com on Firefox, but I didn’t want AOL to give me any cookies:
Screen capture from 2005.01.26
Once you allow cookies, you can see AOL.com with a Firefox (1.0) browser. Does AOL.com really depend upon cookies that much?
Modified: January 26th 2005
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