Have you heard about the latest buzz in the dial up internet world? America Online® also known as AOL® software and services, has launched a new CD ROM free trial disk by mail strategy to help support the brand. America Online is encouraging it’s user base to collect AOL free trial disk 1.0 thru 9.0 and display them to the public on their free personal website space or in AOL, Google, MSN and Yahoo user groups. A tribute to those who have stuck with the AOL dial up internet brand through it’s ups and downs.
Not! While researching this AOL buzz we’ve failed to find reference to any award or mail strategy led by AOL to support it’s brand in this manner. We were able to find hundreds of websites proud to display their very own collection of AOL CD ROM free trial disks. In the spirit of buzz, we’ve also decided to display our very own collection of AOL free trial disks, hats, shirts and other memorable stuff created over the years by AOL software and service marketing efforts.
Each AOL free trial disk allows the recipient to open an AOL email account and dial up to the internet from home. Free trial periods vary by disk from 30 days to 90 days. The current America Online CD disk version is AOL 9.0 and carries a 90 day free trial. Additional AOL service benefits include up to 5x faster surfing, spam and pop up blockers, privacy tools, McAfee email and PC virus protection, 200 stations of music, news and sports, the signature @aol.com email address extension, and now each free AOL CD-ROM includes free games.
Kids as young as 10 years old, even juniors and seniors in high school are lapping up the AOL free trial disk by the hundreds in key US cities in anticipation of an online gaming revolution. For those who grew up during the dial up internet heydays with AOL at it’s prime, adding free games, video and music is a step towards comeback for the brand. It’s no secrete that AOL brand US subscribers were cut in half from March 31, 2005 to March 31, 2007. AOL’s loss of subscribers is due to an increase in low cost dial up competition, and $14.95 DSL high speed internet access which became available earlier this year through local telephone service providers.
In hindsight, AOL dial up internet service was relatively slow to provide free and unrestricted access to the internet. Back in 1999 subscribers could only access the internet through AOL’s proprietary dial up and browsing software interface. Eventually, the constant software updates and the call for freedom by subscribers forced AOL to redefine and segment its service to that of dial up internet access, email, instant messenger, and search services more in-line with competitors. Expanding game, video, and music content further expands the freedoms AOL is willing to give future subscribers. But why has AOL discontinued mass free trial disk production and mailings?
Years ago America’s young men and women applauded the development of the first hassle free dial up internet service to seamlessly integrate a web browser with content. AOL also was the first dial up internet service company to introduce the concept of Buddy Lists, leveraging their one-on-one AIM® instant messaging service. So good was the concept that everyone wanted a free trial disk. Soon came mass mailings of CD ROMs in tin and plastic, and now we look back, laugh and make jokes about it.
America Online 4.0 and 5.0 CD ROM with 100 or 250 free hours of dial up internet and email services. Reminds me of the orange Tide washing machine detergent box. AOL’s easiest and best ever Version 6.0 all new with 1000 hours free for 45 days, what’s with those fish? AOL Version 7.0 with 1000 hours free for 45 days, Leopard graphic. I am starting to wonder if the graphics coincide with recent vacation destinations of marketing VPs at AOL. Fish in the Caribbean, Leopards on safari maybe? If so, Version 8.0 must have been a boring year. Somehow there was a 70’s flash back involved. AOL 9.0 CD ROM free trial disk with 1045 hours free or 90 days risk free, is the latest version available on disk. Tweety from Looney Tunes versus the Yellow Page’s walking fingers, or the Best Buy fingers, or is that still the AOL logo? (1st image on post) I’m confused, I vote for Tweety bird on the CD package at least! Road Runner for High Speed, Tweety for Dial Up, why not?
Haven’t seen an AOL disk in your snail mail lately? Well considering that Americans began protesting against AOL in the early 2000’s I’m not surprised. Mass distributions of the once desired dial up internet access software turned into discussions about CD mail pollution and needless burdens on the environment. So instead of encouraging the re-pollution of your environment, please download AOL software for free online. New computer owners simply need to check what special offers are pre-installed on their machine. Whatever you’ve got, use it to download the latest AOL 9.0 software and services (or any other dial up internet free trial download). No plastic trees to cut down and plenty of free online games to make you forget about the past.
*America Online®, AOL® and AIM® software and services are registered trademarks of AOL LLC.
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