Adios AOL, Hola Problema

What's in a name? A fight, if your name is America Online.

AOL's que-sera-sera treatment of frustrates Kuhn. " even has an AOL logo, and its site is definitely derogatory."

In an initial response to AOL, Kuhn's attorney brought up and also pointed out a number of other Web sites that use AOL in their names. What Kuhn and his lawyer didn't realize was that some on the list were in the same predicament as AdiosAOL, while others already belonged to America Online--either the company itself had registered the names, or it had assimilated them from other companies.

And though Kuhn claims his site demonstrated no ill will toward AOL, the company may have reason to be offended by the AdiosAOL name, since it makes it sound like subscribers are leaving the company, a touchy subject within the Internet industry. Analysts and investors pay close attention to Internet service providers' "churn rates" (the percentage of customers who leave a service). Although a company may be quite good at registering a large volume of customers, it also needs to keep them. AOL doesn't release numbers but claims that its churn rate is at an all-time low. With its 14 million subscribers, however, even a small churn rate translates into a large number of users who have left the service and need a place to leave a forwarding address.

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