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<aside>It was bizarrely difficult to find a Netscape download... I kept getting error messages saying I wasn't allowed to access the download pages. Like AOL had it's competitors' dowload sites blocked, or something. I finally found a Netscape download through some strange .edu site back alley directory page...</aside>
The frequency of CD mailings is still much lower today (3.5 years later) than it was before I signed up. I guess they gave up on me. I got a few "come back to AOL" mailers, and then... it's like I dropped off the face of the earth. :)
Yes, they do. I keep an account <"bring your own access" is about 9.95 a month> I use it for backup for when my main connection goes down. Its also helpful to see what 35% of the online market sees on a daily basis. I also use a couple of mailboxes there for catching and dumping confirms and spam from spamnable submissions.(You can open and close a screenname at the drop of a hat, just like a "real" site!)
I agree, its not the "real" web, but even the WWWpurists must admit, it is a little silly to ignore 35% of the market, especially, when SOOO many people start and end at AOL.
I forget where the statistic was, but someone <I know, I know, statistics, damned statistics, etc..> said that AOLers spend more and are an easier sell.