How do I cancel my AOL account but keep my screen name for AIM purposes?
November 10, 2005 2:20 PM   Subscribe

I've been an AOL customer for too many years now, and I want to cancel my account. Is there a way for me to do this but KEEP MY SCREEN NAME SO I CAN USE IT ON AIM?
posted by JudgeBork to Computers & Internet (18 answers total)
 
Other than continually trying to sign up for it in hopes you are the first to grab it once AOL releases it back into the public pool (after about six months), no.
posted by deadfather at 2:23 PM on November 10, 2005


No.

But if you call up and tell them you want to cancel, they'll probably give you a few months free.

Alternatively, if you know anyone who has Road Runner cable Internet and doesn't have an AOL account, you can associate your AOL account with their Road Runner, and it'll be free. (Road Runner includes AOL.)
posted by kindall at 2:24 PM on November 10, 2005


Road Runner also, a few years back, were trying desperately to bundle all RR accounts with Yahoo!. So they wanted anyone that already had both Yahoo! and RR accounts to merge them--but, as it is, my Yahoo! account is free and lifetime and I'd face the problem you have if I were to ever (as I actually did) leave RR. I don't know that there's any way you can convince them to let you do this. There is no incentive for them to allow it, and possibly no documented way to do it. It might or might not be technically easy, but it's hard to imagine that they'd go to the troube for a departing customer. But it can't hurt to ask. Just don't get your hopes up.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:42 PM on November 10, 2005


When I cancelled my AOL account many years ago, I was able to use the screen name in AIM, and still am. Does this no longer work?
posted by bDiddy at 2:53 PM on November 10, 2005


but, as it is, my Yahoo! account is free and lifetime and I'd face the problem you have if I were to ever (as I actually did) leave RR.

holy crap I didn't even think about this when I signed up for SBC/yahoo. Maybe it's time to slowly move my main point of contact over to gmail.
posted by fishfucker at 3:08 PM on November 10, 2005


Why don't you get every name on your contact list, and notify them?
posted by Dean Keaton at 3:19 PM on November 10, 2005


Alternatively, if you know anyone who has Road Runner cable Internet and doesn't have an AOL account, you can associate your AOL account with their Road Runner, and it'll be free. (Road Runner includes AOL.)

What??

We've had the "Bring Your Own Access" plan with AOL (no, I've tried to get rid of it - someone insists) and RoadRunner for years. Are you saying I can somehow eliminate this fee? Who do I call?
posted by odinsdream at 3:24 PM on November 10, 2005


You know, bDiddy, I had the same thought. Then I realized I had the MrMoonPie name before signing up with them, and had to choose some variant when I joined. I used the MrMoonPie name for IM, but I seem to remember my offical AOL email (which I never used, in favor of yahoo) was, like, MrMoonPi, or something.
posted by MrMoonPie at 3:26 PM on November 10, 2005


>but, as it is, my Yahoo! account is free and lifetime and I'd face the problem you have if I were to ever (as I actually did) leave RR.

>>holy crap I didn't even think about this when I signed up for SBC/yahoo. Maybe it's time to slowly move my main point of contact over to gmail.


Actually, I think there's a way to get your previous Yahoo ID back when you finish with SBC DSL. At least I seem to remember that there was some language to that effect and that was the main reason why I associated my Yahoo ID with my account. I'll have to check the help section later to see if I can confirm this.
posted by MsMolly at 4:01 PM on November 10, 2005


Ah yes, here are the instructions for unmerging your Yahoo ID from SBC DSL. Sorry this doesn't help the original poster, though.
posted by MsMolly at 4:15 PM on November 10, 2005


Yes. Your IM screen name is yours to keep.

AOL may not be clear about the answer, but according to other ISPs the answer is yes, you keep your im screen name, even after cancelling aol. I guess not being clear about that fact lets AOL keep a hold on some of their customers.

from msn:
What will happen to my AOL buddy list if I cancel AOL?
You can still access your AOL buddy list by downloading the free AOL Instant Messenger client from the America Online Web site.


from charter:
Instant Messenger, Buddy Lists, & Chat Rooms

When you double click on AOL and launch as your browser, you still have access to your Buddy List and use of AOL Instant Messenger™ and AOL's chat rooms.

Even after you leave AOL, you still can have access to instant messaging.

Your AOL Instant Messenger works whether AOL is your ISP or you use Charter High-Speed™. So you can continue chatting as usual. If you've deleted the program from your computer, you can get the latest version at http://www.tucows.com, as well as other great instant messaging tools such as Yahoo! Instant Messenger, and PowWow™.


oh boy, powwow™! Anyhoo, cancel away without worry.
posted by neda at 4:18 PM on November 10, 2005


Crap, I was wrong. MSN & Charter were the sneaky ones. They're saying you still have access to IM (well, duh), but never explicitly say you have access to your old screen name. Cause you don't. Sorry!
posted by neda at 4:30 PM on November 10, 2005


When I cancelled my AOL account many years ago, I was able to use the screen name in AIM, and still am. Does this no longer work?

Works for me. bDiddy and neda are correct, in my experience. I can still sign on my old AOL s/n from maybe 5-6 years ago using AIM -- I don't, but I have from time to time and never had a problem.

I remember being concerned about the same thing and actually switched to a new AIM screenname before dropping AOL. Turned out I didn't need to, but it was time for a change anyway.

YMMV, though if neda's MSN quote is correct, it probably won't. Double-check this with the person you speak to when cancelling your account -- at least then you'll have it from some sort of authority, even if it is just a guy answering the phone in Delhi.
posted by SuperNova at 4:31 PM on November 10, 2005


Yes, I had the same experience. Cancelled AOL (which was just a backup emergency account for me anyway), continued to use the screenname in AIM -- no problem. It still works to this day. And no, I didn't create the AIM account before the AOL account... the AOL account went back to 1994 or so.
posted by litlnemo at 4:43 PM on November 10, 2005


And I do hope that you check back in to read these answers even though you already marked a "best answer"!
posted by litlnemo at 4:44 PM on November 10, 2005


I had AOL in the mid-late 90s, canceled AOL probably about 5 years ago, continued to use the screen names on AIM and in February, they caught up with me and canceled my screen names.

They did try to offer to get me to PAY for use of my screen names for like $2 each a month. Screw that. I reverted to an old version of my saved buddy list and made a new screen name. The (unique) screen names were supposed to be available at the end of August, but they still haven't "released" them yet.

Save your buddy list regularly and wait it out. If you luck out, they may not catch up with you. If they do, at least you'll have a recent buddy list to load.
posted by jerseygirl at 7:16 PM on November 10, 2005


You definitely keep your screen name after cancelling. Not only can you continue to use AIM, but your aol.com email address will be forwarded to a free aim.com address.

This is part of AOL's recent reorientation toward being a web portal.
posted by Sxyzzx at 9:52 PM on November 10, 2005


We've had the "Bring Your Own Access" plan with AOL (no, I've tried to get rid of it - someone insists) and RoadRunner for years. Are you saying I can somehow eliminate this fee? Who do I call?

When I was recently checking out RoadRunner for my parents, who live in North Carolina, I found this page that indicates that AOL is included. If you already have an AOL account, says the NOTE on that page, they'll link it to your Road Runner account so it becomes free.

I suppose this may not be the case in all Time Warner areas, but I can't imagine a big conglomerate like AOLTW would have radically different offerings.
posted by kindall at 8:03 PM on November 11, 2005


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