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Wednesday, August 09, 2006
FREE AOL? (Converting your AIM screenname into a new free AOL account.)
Well, as has been announced, AOL is now free, if you already have internet access. That's great news, I suppose, if only because you can now get into AOL's chat rooms for free, and have that oh-so coveted "@aol.com" after your email screenname.
No, I know it's not that exciting, but the first thing I wanted to do is to see if I could convert my AIM screenname into a free AOL account.
There's no obvious way to do it. Twenty minutes with the Indian customer service representative got me nowhere, either. But, as we all know, where there's a will, there's a way.
So, I now present you with specific steps to creating your free AOL account from your AIM screenname.
At the very bottom of the page, choose the tiny link for "Download Software". It's the tiny link four lines up from the copyright notice.
Don't bother to download their software, yet, anyway. Instead, choose the "register online" button.
Make sure that at the top of the window it says "Start your FREE 50 day trial right now!" Fill out the requested and required information, and click continue.
On the "Create Your Screenname Screen", click on the small link on the bottom left for "Click here to use your AIM Screen Name." (Please note, if you haven't followed the instructions above, there will be no link, and it will not work. Do not continue, unless you want to choose a new screenname and NOT use your AIM screenname.)
You'll be directed to a "Create your screenname using your AOL Instant Messenger Screename" window. Fill out your AIM screenname and password. Click continue.
You'll likely be directed to create a new AOL account password.
The screens should be fairly self explanatory. When asked to enter your credit card information, DO IT. Don't panic. Yes, this will be free. Trust me...
Once the account is created and activated with your free 50 day trial, you're almost done.
Download the AOL software and sign in with your new AOL screenname and password.
Finally, once all the screens are done asking you for security questions, and such, go to the main menubar of the AOL software, and type in keyword "Change Plan."
A lovely message will come on, telling you about how AOL has changed. You'll be given a button to activate your free service. Choose it. Now you'll have AOL for free, with your old AIM screenname!
(Legal disclaimer: This has worked for me, as of the time of this post, and may or may not continue to work. I don't guarantee it'll work, and I don't guarantee that your credit card will not be charged. But, you'd have a compelling case for the credit card company if it did...)