PRIVACY, CENSORSHIP AND POLICING
  1. RPA does not censor your activity online.
  2. RPA does not police what you do online.
  3. RPA does not sell your private email or physical address to anyone.
  4. RPA does not bombard you with advertisements or special offers.
  5. AOL has experienced several security breakins, which have allowed hackers to gain access to sensitive account information including customer names, phone numbers and credit card information. RPA has never had a security issue with hackers gaining access to customer credit card information. RPA's billing servers are not accessible from the Internet.
  6. RPA doesn't "automatically gather information about the areas you visit on our service," while AOL does. (AOL Privacy Principle #2)
  7. RPA doesn't have such obscure or baffling rules as the following:
    · Hitting the return key repeatedly is a TOS violation, as is "inputting large images so the screen goes by too fast to read".
    · You will be considered in violation of AOL's Terms of Service if you embarrass another member.
    · "You are required to follow our TOS no matter where you are on the Internet."
    · "AOL reserves the right to treat as public any private chat room whose directory or room name is published or becomes generally known or available."
    · RPA doesn't "block access to sites which they feel are "injurious to RPA."
    · AOL reserves the right to prohibit members from linking to or promoting links to any commercial site outside of AOL Hometown.
    · RPA doesn't read or disclose private communications even "to protect the company's rights and property...."

FEATURES
  1. You don't have to be an AOL member to use AOL Instant Messenger. You can use AOL Instant Messenger with RPA.
  2. You don't have to be an AOL member to use your AIM buddy lists. You can use your AIM buddy lists with RPA.
  3. You can use ICQ with either AOL or RPA.
  4. AOL offers a maximum of seven emailboxes. RPA offers an unlimited number of mailboxes. The first five mailboxes include disk space for personal web pages.
  5. AOL offers 10MB of disk space for email and webpages; RPA offers 20MB of disk space for email and webpages.
  6. You can use Internet chat with either AOL or RPA.
  7. AOL costs $21.95 per month for full Internet access. RPA unlimited access costs as low as $15.95 per month for full featured, unlimited access.
  8. AOL offers no special discounts. RPA offers special discounted monthly rates of $15.95 to the following groups: senior citizens, non-profit organizations, active or retired teachers, nurses, EMTs, police officers and firefighters.
  9. AOL requires you to pay by credit card or debit card. RPA allows you to pay by credit card, debit card, check, money order, or cash.
  10. AOL is nationally owned and does not support local interests. RPA is a locally owned company that supports local organizations and interests.
  11. RPA doesn't force users to stay online:
    · so that we can download advertisements onto their computer.
    · One AOL user attempting to sign-off was told "Due to heavy traffic, this feature is temporarily unavailable." "Many share your interest in this area," the warning continued. "Please try again later."
    · Another AOL user got the following error message when hitting the Close button: "Pardon the delay, this feature is temporarily closed for maintenance or improvements."
    · We don't pop up a timer every 45 minutes to keep your connection active. RPA unlimited accounts are TRULY unlimited -- 24/7, when *you* choose to be online.
  12. They claim "Nationwide access" but go outside a city of 50,000 population and where oh where is the nearest AOL dialup? Long distance! (or 800# V.34 access at $5-10 per hour). RPA offers multiple local access numbers THROUGHOUT the Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse areas.

PRICING/BILLING/REFERRALS

  1. AOL does not credit existing customers for referring new customers to their service. RPA offers one month of FREE unlimited access for each new customer referral.
  2. AOL will not transfer a credit balance to another subscriber. RPA will transfer a credit balance to another subscriber.

EMAIL

  1. AOL conveniently discards your email. AOL has an automatic email filtering system which quietly discards any email that does not meet certain UNSPECIFIED criteria. There is no AOL document which describes or lists these criteria. Since the discards are automatic, there is no error message generated and there is no notification sent, either to the sender or the intended recipient. This means that if you are an AOL member, you may not receive all of the email messages that are sent to you. RPA does not filter your email and throw it out.
  2. AOL is now blocking/dropping direct-to-MX mail from dialup sources as an anti-spam measure. They did not go into detail as to how they determine what is a dialup.
  3. AOL only provides web based email and proprietary email software. You cannot use a regular POP client such as Outlook Express or Netscape to read your AOL email. RPA supports webmail AND POP.
  4. AOL email is automatically converted into an attachment if the text is over 24K. Many find this annoying. RPA email over 24K is not automatically converted into an attachment (because we provide standard POP3 email you can use in a regular email client).
  5. Your AOL emailbox can only have 500 messages in it at a time; any more and new mail will be rejected. RPA allows you to have as much as 20MB or 10,000 2KB messages in your mailbox before any new mail is rejected.
  6. The AOL mail interface can show only 32K of text at a time -- more than that and it will force you to view the message in a word processor. RPA does not force you to view mail messages larger than 32K in a word processor.
  7. AOL limits the size of your email attachments. AOL's email servers will only accept a 2MB attachment from outside AOL, and 16MB from within AOL. RPA does not limit the size of your email attachments.
  8. AOL's spam filtering technologies often remove non-spam messages. RPA offers advanced spam filtering capabilities using RSS, RBL, and DUL technologies.
  9. AOL customers often receive large amounts of unsolicited commercial email (i.e. spam). RPA customers receive less spam than the ordinary ISP customer.
  10. RPA customers can customize their spam filters using Outlook Express, Eudora, etc. AOL uses proprietary software that does not allow the same flexibility as regular email programs.
  11. RPA allows you a better choice of email software than AOL.
  12. AOL does not offer private, uncensored email-only accounts. RPA offers private email-only accounts for $25 a year.
  13. AOL's email software tells you when "You've Got Mail." RPA's email software also tells you when "You've Got Mail."

AOL FORCES YOU

  1. RPA uses standard Internet protocols so that you can communicate with anyone connected to the Internet with any other Internet Service Provider. AOL uses a proprietary online interface that often makes it difficult for its members to communicate with other people on the Internet.
  2. AOL forces its members to use only AOL connection software. RPA allows you to use whatever connection software you want to use.
  3. RPA does not force its member to install software that will make permanent changes to their computers. RPA members DO NOT HAVE TO use a proprietary AOL adapter. Furthermore, some networking software will not work with AOL software, but will work with RPA's connection software.
  4. RPA allows its customers the ability to choose the browser and email program that best suits them.
  5. AOL forces you to use their software to read Internet newsgroups. RPA allows you to use whatever newsgroup reader software you want to use.
  6. AOL customers experience frequent busy signals. RPA customers have not experienced a busy signal for more than a year -- even during peak hours!
  7. AOL censors your use of the Internet and monitors the use of chat rooms. RPA does not censor your use of the Internet and does not monitor your activity.
  8. AOL email service has been known to be unreliable. RPA offers reliable mail and news service.
  9. When you leave AOL, you're forced to pay AOL at least $4.95 per month in order to keep your screen name and email address. When you join RPA, you can keep your email address for life regardless of what provider you use in the future -- for FREE!
  10. The AOL software forces your computer to download "AOL Graphics" onto your computer that take up hard drive space. RPA does not force your computer to download "AOL Graphics."
  11. AOL maintains a "Vulgar Words List" which contains words and phrases you are not allowed to use on the Internet. RPA does not show you vulgar words to add to your vocabulary :-)
  12. AOL has signed deals with telemarketing companies to sell or rent customer names, phone numbers, and credit history. RPA will NEVER sell or rent ANY information about its customers to ANYONE.
  13. AOL has been known to suspend or remove accounts of customers who express written dissatisfaction with its service. RPA values the input of its customers, both positive and negative. We encourage your opinions so that we may continue to improve our services for you!

CUSTOMER SUPPORT

  1. AOL members often have to wait on hold before they can speak with a customer support representative. RPA customer service representatives answer the phone promptly and rarely place members on hold.
  2. RPA answers customer email questions within 24 hours, but usually within only a few hours or minutes. AOL answers questions via email, but usually they take more than a few days.
  3. AOL customer care staff are required to follow strict policies and guidelines. RPA is able to address each customer individually, make decisions quickly, and be flexible in order to make the customer happy.
  4. RPA hires and trains knowledgeable technical support staff. AOL technicians are generally not as savvy.
  5. AOL's customer service quality fluctuates. RPA's customer service quality does not fluctuate with its stock price.

ORGANIZATION STRUCTURE

  1. AOL is a publicly traded corporation. RPA is privately owned and operated.
  2. AOL does not have local offices. RPA is local and maintains offices in downtown Rochester.
  3. AOL cares first about maximizing shareholder profit. RPA cares about its customers first. RPA is privately owned and not privy to the whims of Wall Street.
  4. RPA offers up-front pricing with no hidden charges.
  5. RPA is small enough to care about each customer. AOL cares about retention programs and retention boundaries and incentives.
  6. RPA's management is informed about the customer's needs and each department communicates well with the others.
  7. At RPA, you can speak with the president of the company.

ADDITIONAL SERVICES

  1. RPA offers its members the option of purchasing a static IP address. AOL does not offer static IP addressing.
  2. AOL only offers its members 56K dial-up Internet access. RPA offers 56K dial-up access, as well as WebTV, ISDN, satellite, and DSL service.
  3. AOL does not allow you to bring your computer to their offices for diagnosis or repair. RPA offers you the ability to bring your computer in and have it serviced.
  4. AOL does not make housecalls. RPA makes housecalls for Gold Membership customers if we are unable to resolve your connectivity problem over the phone!
  5. AOL does not offer domain name hosting or virtual domains. RPA offers domain name hosting and virtual domains.
  6. Each month AOL provides a useful drink coaster via postal mail for its members. Each month RPA provides valuable discounts, awards, and prizes for its members.
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