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Is Splitting From The Internet-Fiction!
Summary of the eRumor: This
email says that effective April 15, AOL is separating itself from the
Internet and will operate on its own. People will not be able to
send and receive email between AOL and the rest of the Internet and,
according to the email, AOL regards itself as the original Internet
and wants everybody to sign up.
The Truth: This
is a hoax. It was launched on the Internet on April Fool's day,
A real example of the eRumor as it has
appeared on the Internet:
Subject: Fw: AOL new policy
As AOL-Internet Split Approaches, It's All Calm On The Net
It has all the characters in an old western movie: the good, the bad, and the just plain ugly.
Such is the cast of characters as the days count down to the final exclusion of AOL Users from the rest of the Internet.
Effective April 15, 2001, AOL's network will finally become completely separated from the Internet, making for something of a showdown at the AOL corral. It's nothing less than a test of wills on a grander scale than ever imagined.
"I really like AOL. I can shop and get forwarded jokes by e-mail, get virus warnings, all that important stuff. I really don't need the real Internet" said one AOL customer on Friday.
It's exactly that attitude that AOL management hopes will prevail in this test of wills. AOL is counting on the support of its members, asking them to warn their non-AOL family and friends that they will no longer be able to e-mail them after April 15. Some however, shout "monopoly!"
"It's anything but a monopoly. People will still be free to use other Internet services if they choose" said an executive officer of AOL. "Once they realize that they can no longer send mail to, nor get mail from AOL users, we expect most, but certainly not all, of them to switch to AOL. AOL is the Internet, always WAS the Internet, and now, will forever BE the Internet" he added.
Among pioneers of the Internet, who generally saw the 'net as a wild, free, uncensored medium beyond the control of any government- much less a single corporation, views are mixed. Some fear that AOL's gambit will pay off, causing most Internet users- and the masses of websites hosted by other companies- to switch to AOL, thus destroying their dreams of a free, non-corporate Internet. But that feeling is by no means widespread.
"All I ever get from AOL accounts is jokes, massively forwarded e-mails, junk mail, spam, get rich quick schemes, pyramid schemes, and stupid questions. Good RIDDANCE!" said one computer hobbyist with unrestrained joy.
On the flip side, most AOL users tend to view regular Internet users as nerds, geeks, and hackers.
"They think they know everything," said one AOL customer, who says she uses AOL to communicate with her family. "When I send them virus warnings, and warnings about gang initiations and ways to make big money surfing the net, they act like they're too good to be bothered."
FACTS ABOUT THE SWITCHOVER:
SWITCHOVER DATE The switchover will occur on April 15, at 00:01 GMT. It was originally have occurred two weeks earlier, but granted an extension to help people who needed additional time to get IRS information before the tax deadline. The IRS is not an AOL customer, and thus will not be reachable from
AOL on or after April 15. As one AOL executive said, "people who wait till the last day to file, however, are in for a wake up call, and we hope to capitalize on the publicity, albeit negative, that will arise."
E-MAIL No e-mail will be possible in either direction between AOL users and non-AOL users after midnight on April 14. Non-AOL users will not get an error, the e-mail inbound to AOL users will simply be discarded by AOL's mail servers.
websiteS The AOL website ONLY will remain available to non-AOL customers so that they can sign up for service, AOL users can ONLY ACCESS AOL-CUSTOMER WEB PAGES. "No longer will the Internet be such a big, confusing place for our users because navigation within AOL is so easy. You don't even have to think" said an AOL manager.
AIM AOL Instant Messenger will still work for both AOL users and non-AOL users. Only communication between them will not be technically possible.
OTHER AOL SERVICES All AOL services will be available, as normal, to customers.
UPDATES No further announcements or warnings are being issued by AOL. "Management generally believes that surprise will be to our benefit," said one AOL employee, who asked not to be identified.
SWITCHING TO AOL A special rate will be offered for the millions of new AOL subscribers to ensure their smooth transition into AOL. Management is still making final decisions about the changeover, and have asked those with questions to wait until April 15, then call for pricing or other information. Corporate customers seeking to move their websites to AOL's servers will get priority, and all price information will be available on April 15.
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