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New, Convenient Service for Those Fed Up With AOL

Dulles, VA /DenounceNewswire/ -- November 35, 1996 -- Fast on the heels of CompuServe's announcement last week of a new 800-number service (1-800-QUIT-CIS), America Online (NYSE: AOL) announced today its own 800-number service for customers who are mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore.

"Due to the increasing demand for customer cancellations, we're announcing today the opening of our new AOL Exodus Center to streamline the mass defection of our customers," said Steve Case, chairman of AOL, in a prepared statement. "Think of it like Ellis Island in reverse."

To reach the new Exodus Center, customers can call 1-800-QUIT-AOL between the hours of 4:00 to 6:00 am (EST) on days that begin with the letter F. "I know it's a challenge, but we're really striving to have completed subscription cancellations within sixty minutes of placing the call," says Case. "If you're still on the line after sixty minutes, well, all of our operators are busy or resting, and you'll just have to wait." Case figures AOL customers are used to waiting so he doesn't anticipate any problems.

AOL claims that it can generate a tidy sum of cash for each departing customer, by selling survey results to competitors. "We will make at least $500 for each person who quits," Case says. "Our competitors are more than willing to pay us for our customers' demographic data, and we're more than willing to sell it to them. It cost us $200 to get the customer in the first place, and we're making $500 as they go out the door. That's a net of $300 per customer."

After the announcement, AOL's stock lept to a six-month high of $35 per share. "Fewer customers mean fewer expenses, and that means higher profits," says one stock analyst who follows AOL, who added, "and the $300 per customer exit-revenue is just icing on the cake."

Asked how long the AOL Exodus Center will be in operation, Case replied, "We'll keep it open until each and every AOL customer has quit, or we've gone out of business, whichever comes first."

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