Posted on Sun, Nov. 10, 2002
Pair want to return 1 million America Online CDs to Internet giant
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Two California men rebelling against a sea of America Online promotional compact discs have got mail like never before.
People around the world have sent Jim McKenna and John Lieberman more than 80,000 CDs offering trial subscriptions to AOL's Internet services. They say when they collect a million, they'll go to the company's front door in Virginia to say, ``You've got mail.''
``Basically, we'll enlist the help of volunteers who are willing to take a pickup load and drive back to AOL headquarters with us,'' McKenna said. ``We will be as obvious as possible and very polite.''
Promotional CDs offering Internet service are common in the industry, but AOL, the largest Internet service provider, uses them most pervasively. Their discs appear in magazines, at the post office, at movie theaters and, of course, in mailboxes.
McKenna and Lieberman have requested the CDs through a Web site devoted to complaining about the discs. The site features pictures of alternative uses for the CDs (mobile, ceiling covering, chew toy) and even includes haiku by disgruntled recipients.
The El Cerrito men, who are in their 30s and work in information technology, are building an international alliance for their cause, with partners in France, Germany, Australia and the United Kingdom serving as CD receiving points.
``People find this action very cool and the ecology aspect is very loved in France,'' said Aziz Ridouan of Stop CD France, which has accumulated about 1,600 CDs for the men so far.
McKenna and Lieberman say they have nothing against AOL, but see the discs as a waste of resources and have found a creative way to ask the Internet giant to stop making and sending them.
AOL is responding by offering to help.
``If they reach their goal ... I'd be happy to give them directions and greet them at the door,'' company spokesman Nicholas Graham said. ``We would make a contribution ourselves to put them over the top.''
He said, however, that the company still believes the promotional CDs are the best way for it to reach potential customers, and added that overall, people have responded well to the discs.
Graham wouldn't say how many discs AOL distributes each year but noted that anyone can return unwanted discs for the company to recycle. He added that if anyone is unhappy about getting the CDs they can call the company and ask to not receive them.
On the Net:
No More AOL CDs: http://www.nomoreaolcds.com
America Online: http://www.aol.com
Stop CD France: http://www.stopcd.org
Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition: http://www.svtc.org
I say go for it!!! I get 10 of these these a month at least.