July 14, 2003
U.S. SENATORS PROPOSE BILL TO BAN NEW AOL BLOGS
Citing How USENET Was Ruined When AOL Users Arrived, the Bill Argues AOL Users Not Sophisticated Enough to Be Bloggers
Washington, DC /DenounceNewswire/ -- 14 July 2003 -- Two members of Congress have unveiled a new bill that proposes to bar America Online from releasing blog, or web log, features to its 34 million members later this summer. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, and Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-WA, announced today that the "Blogosphere Purity Act" would in effect ban America Online "from encouraging, facilitating, or otherwise supporting the creation of web logs, or blogs, among its users."
Citing years of complaints from non-AOL users who say AOL users are "clueless" and "unsophisticated," the bill documents how the worldwide USENET newsgroup service "went downhill and never recovered" once AOL users were given access.
Blog use has skyrocketed on the World Wide Web in the past year, and is poised to become a major new business on the Internet. Earlier this year, Google, Inc., purchased privately-held Pyra Labs, makers of the popular Blogger service, a transaction many Wall Street analysts believe is only the beginning of the commercialization of blogs.
AOL, cognizant of the controversy its foray into blogs has generated, is marketing its planned service as "AOL Journals" after its user community told the company they found the term "blog" confusing.
"These people find the word 'word' confusing," says Mort Renfro, president of Clueful Bloggers Against AOL, a Washington pressure group which has been lobbying Congress for six months. "Imagine how low the quality of conversation is going to go if AOL users start blogging all over the place!"
The CBAA organization has also proposed a replacement for RSS (known as the Really Simple Syndication protocol) called ASS (AOL-free Simple Syndication) and threatens to block any AOL-generated RSS feeds if AOL proceeds.
Another group, calling themselves ALBAA (A-List Bloggers Against AOL), has also come out against AOL's plans, citing fears that their fame and celebrity will decrease if the blogosphere grows any bigger. "These AOL bloggers won't even recognize our names," said one ALBAA member who requested not to be identified. "We've worked hard to climb to the top and we're not about to let 34 million bozos change that."
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