I've been using Lycos' free ISP service for two weeks now, and the forced banner advertisements and slow connection speed have been merely annoying up until today, when I log on to discover that their software has silently downloaded a 1.2Mb movie into a hidden directory on my PC and insists on playing it (and frequently crashing my machine) whenever I try to use my modem. I suspect worse is to come.
This is a letter I have just sent to their 'customer feedback' email address, and I am incensed enough to want to share here..
**I would like this message passed up the chain to whoever makes decisions**
Remember when you guys had a meeting deciding how far you could go in terms of forcing advertising upon users of your free ISP? When you were planning strategies to turn a profit on this venture? Well, you've only just started, and already you've gone too far.
I was just about prepared to put up with losing 20% of my screen area to really annoying flashing advertising banners, getting way under the normal bandwidth over my modem connection, having your sucky homepage pressed upon me, not being able to leave anything downloading without having to keep an eye on my machine so your laughable "We need to know you still want to be connected" bullshit (Yeah right; "We need you to click a banner so we get some more money from our advertisers" - you know *PERFECTLY WELL* when I'm receiving data) doesn't drop the connection, knowing that you're very probably monitoring my web browing and selling information on my browing habits to the highest bidder, but now you're trying to make me watch an excreable 1.2Mb Washington Mutual video (downloaded *without asking me* while I was trying to use the web and wondering why it was so slow) every time I log on, regularly crashing my machine (which is a totally clean Win98 install, by the way) and *really* pissing me off by playing 'always on top' video/audio when i'm trying to use my machine.
You know what? You guys are greedy, and you are idiots. Had it occurred to you that you should try and be a little subtle about this? That even Joe Redneck has a threshold for this kind of crap and you are _significantly_ overstepping it.
Ok, maybe it's just me, maybe you're going to make a ton of money out of this and people will put up with it, but personally I won't.
If you don't care, then fair enough; it's a free country. If you continue to increase subscribers and advertising revenue, then I guess you have a viable business model (and, more significantly, a viable code of conduct) after all. Who cares what I think?
I know what is important to you, and I can tell you this; money that your advertisers spend with you is going to be money WASTED as far as reaching me and my friends.
Screw you, and screw your 'free' ISP.
After two weeks with you I'm switching my home net connection to an ISP that costs me money, and as long as they don't patronise me, give me reasonable bandwidth, and don't invade my privacy, it'll be money well spent. By now it will not surprise you to read that your company is getting the worst possible word-of-mouth from me and my friends.
Ok, end of rant. Sorry, but this kind of thing really pisses me off. I should have remembered that you get what you pay for