Group therapy

Hell hath no fury like an abused Netsurfer. Or perhaps I should put it another way. Some people become totally irrational when they feel they have been even slightly let down by their Internet provider or online service. I've been browsing through forums such as alt.aol.sucks, alt.aol.overbilling, alt.compuserve.sucks and alt.msn.sucks, and they are not friendly places.

In alt.netcom.sucks, a user was complaining about constant busy signals and other service failures. "Your [sic] lucky you live in America where it's legal to rip off your customers. Answer your damn e-mails ... Don't you feel guilty at all? You will rot in the same hell as AOL. When I joined you were truly state of the art. Now your [sic] just living off the people that are too lazy to dump your ass." He ends his posting with: "God, I hate them with a religious zeal!" Another correspondent complained that he couldn't even get through to Netcom on the phone to cancel his account.

But it is AOL that seems to spawn the most deranged fanatics. In alt.aol.sucks, a San Franciscan Netsurfer was calling on people to help his friend assemble an "anti-AOL installation". Obviously, he has plenty of time on his hands. "His plan is to collect as many AOL disks as possible, do something so horrible that I dare not mention it ... in honor of ... all their censorship and wastefulness." You would think he was talking about a totalitarian regime.

Currently, a lot of anger in the AOL groups is directed at its decision to move to a flat monthly charge of $19.95 for unlimited use of its services. But one writer smells a clever conspiracy in the way the company has handled it: "AOL's advantage lies in clouding the issue as much as possible, in moving their under-10-hour-a-month users to $19.95 monthly, in moving as few heavy users as possible to $19.95 flat."

Demon Internet seems to generate more criticism than all the other Internet and online services combined. There were more than 4,800 postings in its demon.service forum recently - far more than you normally see in popular movie star groups. To be fair, many of the critics are fairly sane, but there are quite a few Mr Angrys at work as well. One furious Demon Internet user posted a fake press release in the demon.service newsgroup last month alleging that "Demon Management Admits Complete and Utter Incompetence". It was a spoof of the usual format in Demon announcements: "The engaged tone, provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, is provided free of charge to every user and there are no additional online costs." Incredibly, some correspondents in the forum believed it was genuine.

Miraculously, one Internet service provider seems to have escaped the Net fanatics. In fact, when I visited the Pipex newsgroups, there was not a single comment in any of them. All the other companies must be asking the same question - what's their secret?

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

    £40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

    Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

    £21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

    Day In a Page

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
    Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

    That's a bit rich

    The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
    Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
    Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

    Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

    Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
    A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

    Britain's Atlantis

    Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

    David Starkey's assessment
    Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

    'An enormous privilege and adventure'

    Oliver Sacks writing about his life
    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
    Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

    Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

    Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago