MSN Announces Plan to Acquire AOL Customers, 60% of AOL Customers Plan to Leave, DoubleClick Settles Class-Action Lawsuit

When you combine the first two news stories today, a very interesting picture emerges. First, MSN got coverage on Monday when they announced a grand new plan to acquire AOL customers. Then on Tuesday, an investment and research firm called ChangeWave got coverage for a poll they did with AOL users where they determined that nearly 60% of them are planning to leave AOL for another service. The fact that 60% of AOL users say they are planning to leave the service isn’t too surprising. Many companies are directly marketing against AOL using ads that promise fewer pop-ups, faster service, easier access, etc. These companies don’t mention AOL directly, but the reference is obvious.

ChangeWave reports that the 60% number is the highest dissatisfaction rating they have yet to find in any of their industry surveys. Now consider MSN’s plan. MSN has teamed up with a company called TrueSwitch to enable AOL users to easily transfer all their information from their AOL mailbox, address book, and calendar services to the new MSN services. That eliminates one of the biggest barriers to exit for AOL users. MSN is also offering free forwarding of AOL email for 30 days and will give a $50.00 rebate to defectors when they sign up for 3 months of MSN service.

According to David J. Durham, Sr. Vice President at ChangeWave, there is abolutely no relationship between MSN and ChangeWave. MSN did not have advance news of the ChangeWave report. MSN did not even buy the report. The timing is uncanny. It just goes to show you once again that Microsoft is a smart machine.

In other news, DoubleClick has reportedly reached a settlement over their class-action privacy law suit. They are being required to purge certain data files, rewrite their privacy policy, and conduct a public information campaign to educate Internet users about Internet privacy.

MSN tempts AOL users to switch
By Jim Hu
Special to ZDNet News
May 20, 2002, 3:55 PM PT

Poll: Nearly 60 Pct of Web Surfers Plan to Quit AOL
May 21, 2002 12:20 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters)
Page No Longer Available

DoubleClick able to settle privacy suits
By Gwendolyn Mariano
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
May 21, 2002, 5:10 PM PT

Internet Marketing, Internet Privacy,