Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Remove AOL Free Email Advertising

Good ol’ AOL keeps finding ways to piss me off. The current executive team has found another way to insult paying customers in their desperate attempts to make a profit.  After all the blood, sweat and love that we put into the original America Online is saddens me to see users treated this way.

Last night I noticed that when I send Email from AOL, a footnote is automatically added to MY email.

“AOL now offers free email to everyone. Find out more about what's free from AOL at“

I’m sorry but this is just plain wrong.  I’m not using free Email from AOL.  I pay a monthly fee for my AOL account and I don’t want my correspondence and personal Email to include advertising.  If I didn’t care, I would have created an Email account with Yahoo or GMail years ago.

How long will it be before this AOL ad is replaced with some kind of advertisement for a mortgage company, credit card or HBO special.

Naturally, I quickly came up with a work around that I can use while I still have my AOL account.  Here’s what you can do.

Click on the “Write” email icon.
You’ll see a “Signatures” button and select “Set Up Signatures”
What you can do is create a signature that is made up of 50 -100 lines with just a blank space.  Or Edit your existing signature and add the blanks to the end of it.  You’ll need at least one blank space in each line or it won’t work.
AOL will continue to put their advertisement at the end of your Email, but your recipients will have to scroll down to the end if they want to see it.

Hmmm…   I wonder if anyone would be interested in bidding on my or the plain screen name that I still have.

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Blogger Dossy Shiobara said...

The phishing opportunities for "" is tremendous. I'm surprised anyone was allowed to have it.

2:06 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Well, when I created the screen name Bill, the term phishing didn't exist.

I was also a trusted employee at the time. I'm still someone who can be trusted but obviously no longer an employee. Things like this weren't allowed when I was with AOL.


2:12 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I did get an Email which pointed out one flaw in my plan. If someone prints out your Email, they'll likely get a few blank pages and one blank page with only the ad.
But, at least the ad still won't be on the page they print.


12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Use an email client. It's a better work around:)


12:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mail sent from Gmail accounts do not contain any advertising. They never have and hopefully never will.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill, since you used to work at AOL, do you have some e-mail contacts? I'd like to protest this horrible intrusion into my e-mail as a PAYING customer. I have spoken to lower-end people at AOl, but I'd like to complain on an executive level. I want my voice heard. I'm very unhappy with this new ad signature. Especially since we are paying for our AOL.

5:27 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Jacquelynn,

I'm sorry to say most of the folks I knew at AOL have since retired. My last contact at AOL, my daughter Erica worked on AOL Video, but she just left the company.

I do have Steve Case's Email address. He used to be on the TW board but he is currently working on a site to help folks get medical care.

5:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your advice. I tell people when they print off one of my emails to copy and paste it into another email before they do so. That eliminates the extra blank pages.
About a year ago AOL did insert ads in the bottom of emails both those I sent and received! They were the same size and type that appear at the bottom of the email box!!! VERY ANNOYING and they are the reason I left as a paying AOL customer. To eliminate them I had to uninstall and reinstall AOL and it removed them.
Being with AOL requires constant being on guard.

6:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Did anything ever come of this?

I was so furious about this, I wrote my friend David Lawrence, who is still the voice of AOL on their phone tree. He had me on his show to talk about that and some other things, but I never got any response from AOL. Of course, I wrote dozens of emails to everyone I could think of at AOL, and chatted online with a couple of people at AOL, all to no avail.

Every time I see it, I'm furious that I'm still spending the ridiculous money I'm spending each month with AOL...but I need features like AOL by phone and other features AOL provides, so I've been living with it.

Any word from AOL on any of this?


-Craig Burnett

6:25 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hey Craig,

Sony, but there's isn't a lot of good news fum AOL. I'm actually working on an AOL story that will be posted later today,


7:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad I found your site. I totally agree about the AOL email advertisement. I've been a member since 1996 and as paying AOL customers, we deserve advertisement-free emails. It's like buying a car, I don't wanna be driving around with the license plate frame saying this is where I bought my car. That's why we have the freedom to remove it with a frame of choice. I think what AOL should do is to at least give us an option to remove their email advertisements.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is absolutely appalling that AOL would do this. Not only do I not want ads going out with my email but emails containing ads and links are often being tag as spam by many filters. So many of your emails may not even get through. I encourage all my customers to dump AOL. I have…

7:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad to find other people who are as offended at this undignified, sleazy and greedy practice as I am. GOOD NEWS: This practice caused me to DUMP several paying AOL accounts which we've been paying for for YEARS. NOW ALL our accounts are FREE, costing AOL hundreds of dollars per year. EVERYONE: PROTEST this by DUMPING AOL PAYING ACCOUNTS and use their FREE accounts. What's the difference? No tech support! WHO CARES? Now as a NON-PAYING customer I don't mind their sleazy ads and if I want a DIGNIFIED CLEAN email I have sever other servers I can send from.

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you can keep your AOL screen names and get free email from AOL..just dont delete your screen names before canceling your AOL account. After you cancel the account, you can go to "" and sign in using your screen name. you can send and receive mail from the site. SO,reinstate any names you want available prior to canceling, or they wont be available via

7:03 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I know I can keep my name but I want to keep using the AOL client software.

I don't want web email.


7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the answer to removing advertisements from my e-mails. I have a business and it is so unprofessional to send out e-mails that shill for whatever product AOL tacks onto my correspondence.

11:36 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I came across this post while looking to see if there was a way to remove the ad footers entirely. I could handle them until I started sending emails with "The Famous, the Infamous, the Lame - in your browser. Get the TMZ Toolbar Now!" to my professional contacts. Awesome, AOL, thanks for making your customers look idiotic.

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for that info! I created a signature with just blanks and it worked. I was also furious prior to me searching the web with this concern. I called AOL and the rep told me this advertising can only be deleted if I sign up for a paying account wil AOL. However from reading your copmments it appears that even paying customers experience this problem. Thanks Again!! I am currently job searching and it's embarassing when I realized that when I sent my resume this advertising was below it.

11:39 PM  
Blogger Bill Dakota said...

I suppose that since AOL is free with a Roadrunner account, they did this so they can make money from the ads. Always a gimmick. AOL is getting to be the pits. I often cannot get online and stay online so I use Firefox.

7:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To remove the Advertising Footer at the bottom of AOL Email:
Go to Keyword:
Type in: footer
A page saying Message Footer appears. It says:
The message footer appears below each email that you send and allows your contacts to learn about different AOL products and content.
[] Show the message footer at the bottom of each email you send.
UNCHECK the box and click on save.
THAT should end the aggravation.

4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just went to Keyword and typed in footer and it said "We're sorry, Access not allowed. They said that right..they are sorry. I guess because I get my aol free through road runner, I can't change it that way. I tried the other way but I'm not sure I understand what you mean by typing in blanks. Do you mean just hit the space bar over and over? I tried that and sent myself an test e-mail and it appeared to drop the advertisement down a little bit but not very far down. Did I do it wrong? I too just sent a customer an e-mail today and they thought I was trying to solicit them with that junk. Thanks a lot aol :-(

12:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best way is to remove yourself from AOL. I use my cable provider's email service and love it. Comcast will not encroach in your privacy.
Have you tried to follow one of AOL news links? they will kill you with ads before you can get the whole story. I have not used AOL since gmail.
If we all act, we get results.

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you SO much, Lissa, for the "keyword footers" info.
It appears to have worked in removing the ads. I use my AOL email for business, too; and after many years with them, those _____ ads almost forced me out.
SO unprofessional.
And yes, I do realize I should STILL get away from AOL asap, but...
Thanks again for the tip.

9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree 100% that aol placing ads in personal emails is a sleazy disgusting practice..... today I got an email from a friend who is a paying customer with aol, and saw her email riddled with ads! It was horrendous!

Then I got to thinking about voicing my attitude to the CEOs of AOL... owners, what have you..... and I got to thinking.

I pay $100 a month for cablevision... and I get ads?
Is it no different? Im not at all on the side of AOL. I switched from them ages ago... but really is it no different than cable charging extreme prices and airing their frigging ads?
There really is no difference... I think in a lawsuit the customer would once again get screwed. Its a losing battle.
The best one can do is cancel aol all together.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous said...

I have had AOL since it began!
Then I went Comcast for my both my TV & computer 6 months ago.
BUT: I now have approximately 1,700 emails in my account:
I kept my aol email as everyone I know oversees & state-wide uses it and remembers it.
BUT: How do I get rid of these
excess emails without destroying my AOL account? I am 80 yrs old
& find this all confusing!
Any info would be helpful. Irene.

9:39 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

If you want to delete all your Email just press Ctrl-A to select all and press delete

9:46 AM  

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