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AOL Finally Owns Up To AIM Issue

I’ve got upwards of 10 accounts across the major IM services. Since I’ve been using Trillian since its early days, this has never really been a problem. I simply defer to my friend or coworkers for which service they prefer to use and give them the appropriate screen name to add to their lists.

All of a sudden, last Friday morning the AIM account I’ve had for ages, DamonDCD, was suspended by AOL. Trillian reported an error code 17, which linked to a webpage on AIM’s site that listed the reasons for suspension - none of the reasons seemed to apply to me. I tried to connect with the real AOL client, still didn’t let me connect.

This was OK, tho, since I had a backup account that had every buddy my DamonDCD account listed. Other than some mild confusion over some of my AIM buddies receiving messages from this long-forgotten account, it was only a disappointment on my part because I lost my DamonDCD account.

Nonetheless, by Sunday, I realized how silly this was. Why had my account been suspended? I only talk to 2-3 people on AIM…none of them would have blocked me or given me some kind of warning. There was no reason my account should be suspended!

I scoured AOL and AIM’s website, looking for some way to contact support and see why they felt my account should be suspended. I read to the FAQ…the only help it offered me was the same message I got when I tried to connect. The only avenue for support, it seemed, was to fill out a bug report. Even tho I could choose “Problem connecting with account” from the list of errors I wished to report, I found I could only submit a report if I checked a box next to the following statement:

Check this checkbox to indicate that you understand this is not a place to get support, and that you will not receive a reply to the information you entered above. You may not submit a bug report unless you check this box. If you need help solving a problem, please visit our FAQ page instead.

So, while I filled out the form, I was pretty certain I could count on getting nothing in response. I managed to track down a live online customer support website - they just referred me back to the same FAQ. I tried calling AOL’s 1-800 support number, only to be read the same information on the website. When I explained I already knew all that information, that I was curious WHY it had been suspended, the account rep just referred me back to the AIM site again.

I removed DamonDCD from my auto-connect list in Trillian and decided that I’d have to wait for the account to expire in a few months, at which time I could recreate it, re-add all of my buddies and move forward.

Then, this morning, I popped up Slashdot and was greeted with this story on the main page, which read, in part:

“According to a story on eWeek, AOL has mistakenly suspended a very large number of AOL Instant Messenger (one of the most widely used IM programs) accounts, by mistake.

I tried reconnecting with DamonDCD and viola!, everything worked just dandy.

I don’t know what was worse…

  • being suspended in the first place
  • being given no notice why it was suspended
  • having no avenue to get the account reactivated when it was obviously a mistake
  • finding no one who would own up to the mistake they made when it was a huge system-wide issue

Comments (1)

Sarah:

One of my accounts has been suspended, does anyone have any insight on how I can activate it? It was never associated with an AOL account that was eventually cancelled.

Thanks.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 10, 2004 9:52 AM in Friends and OfficeCam and Play.

The previous post in this blog was New Data Center Rules.

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