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AOL/Time-Warner Won't Advertise Competition

michael posted more than 13 years ago | from the what-did-you-expect? dept.

America Online 199

mojo-raisin writes: "According to this article on ISPworld, AOL/Time-Warner is refusing to run advertisments for small and medium-sized dial-up and DSL service providers on their cable network. This practice is reported to have begun shortly after the merger announcement last year, and is taking place in New York, Texas and Wisconsin."

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Libertarian indeed... (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#169707)

This is why government should have a firm role in ensuring that large companies are kept under control.

Citizens have rights. Corporations have no rights.

Bush won't do shit. (3)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 13 years ago | (#169708)

He's an oil baron. Asking an oil baron to take action against a monopoly would be like asking Tony Soprano what's up with the garbage industry.

Forget Napster. Why not really break the law?

Re:uh... (2)

Enry (630) | more than 13 years ago | (#169710)

Sorry, thanks for playing.

A corporation is an entity separate from its shareholders (which is why people list companies as defendents of lawsuits and not the shareholders). The shareholders have rights, but no more rights than non-shareholders.

Re:This is why a strong watchdog is needed (1)

Xenophon Fenderson, (1469) | more than 13 years ago | (#169713)

If you're poor, I would assume that meant you didn't have $52.28 to spend buying a piece of paper. As a college student supporting myself and making less than $9K a year, even $10 was a lot of money and not to be squandered.

Rev. Dr. Xenophon Fenderson, the Carbon(d)ated, KSC, DEATH, SubGenius, mhm21x16

It's their network. (1)

gaj (1933) | more than 13 years ago | (#169714)

How is this a bad thing, except for their competitors? The networks are their property, why shouldn't they be able to do what they want with it.


/. really has become "News for whiners, stuff that only makes sense in some bullshit utopian Star Trek world."

If your map and the terrain differ,
trust the terrain.
Unless you're a /.er, of course, in which case you should whine that the terrain should conform to your map, but not actually what is shown on your map, but what you interpret the map to really mean. And if the Earth is so evil as to not conform to your imagined reality, it should be forced to. Because as we all know, freedom is good, unless it's someone else's freedom.

What is wrong with Fox News? (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 13 years ago | (#169715)

What is wrong with Fox News?

Re:This is why a strong watchdog is needed - BS (2)

Genom (3868) | more than 13 years ago | (#169716)

There's a difference.

Let's say you live in a tiny little town in NY State, that gets cable through TimeWarner. There's a good chance that you cannot get *cable* TV through another provider. It's simply not offered.

TimeWarner has a monopoly on cable in your area.

Let's say you just moved there from out-of-state, so you'r not familiar with the area, area businesses, etc...

Now, let's say that AOL/TW doesn't offer broadband services in this small town - only "basic" cable (of course with pay channels, PPV, etc...), and that AOL doesn't have a local dialup to that town.

AOL/TW isn't a valid ISP for your area.

But - they refuse to accept advertizing money from people who *are* valid ISPs for you, even though they're not in direct competition for *your* business. If they can't advertize themselves to you (which they will do anyway, regardless of whether it's available to you) they sure as hell won't advertize competition.

That's illegal use of a monopoly.

That's what this is all about.

As long as you're not a monopoly, you can generally do whatever you want to do - within reason, of course ("reason" being defined by shareholders, normally, not by morality) - but once you become a monopoly, special rules apply to you, because as a monopoly, you have a LOT more power to do the "wrong" things.

Budweiser doesn't have a monopoly on beer (sad day if they did!) =)

AOL/TW does have a monopoly on cable/broadband service in many areas, and dialup ISP service in some.

That's why they're governed by different rules.

Of course, I'm just waiting for AT&T to merge with them...AOL/TW is scary...AOL/AT&T/TW is *much* scarier. Sad thing is, it would make sense, seeing the direction things with AOL/TW are taking. THe first of the super-conglomerates is testing the waters right now - seeing what it can, and can't get away with. With Dubya in office, they've got at least 4 years before something else is done about them (He comes from Big Oil, where monopolies are VERY common - he won't do a damn thing about monopolies abusing their power) - by that time, I have this sinking feeling it'll be too late.

Right or wrong? (1)

Psarchasm (6377) | more than 13 years ago | (#169724)

Either way it just makes them looks daft and insecure. Personally I tend to believe that companies should be allowed to shoot themselves in the foot like this - if the public is aware of their actions. Unfortunately I bet most of this type of thing goes largely unnoticed.

Ahh well... OPENpolicy? All business policies have to be available to the public in electronic form if you run a million dollar+ business a year? Yikes... J/K

Re:So? (1)

CodeMonky (10675) | more than 13 years ago | (#169728)

Actually I can't stand to use AOL and I curse TW everymonth my cable comes. However I think it is the right of the owner of a website to choose what is and what isn't advertised on their websites. From the article is makes it sound as if AOL/TW run websites are not running competing ads and I think that is their right. MSNBC shouldn't be required to run ads for CNN on the msnbc website (I think the article uses the Weather channel as an example).

If I misread the article to say that websites not owned by TW/AOL but that are using TW/AOL backbone are being forced to not accept advertisers that compete with AOL/TW then I think that is wrong.

However the article didn't seem to state that.

So? (2)

CodeMonky (10675) | more than 13 years ago | (#169732)

While I don't like the fact that they appear to be giving people who want to use/resell their cable network I don't see why they should HAVE to run any ad if they don't want to. If they don't want to run an ad for a dsl provider on the weather channels web page than that is their right since it is their site. I hardly think refusing to run ads for the competition should be considered an anti-trust violation.

I wonder if would run an ad for WindowsXP?

Re:Libertarian indeed... (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#169733)

Um, sorry, thanks for playing. Rights are defined by society (or endowed by the Creator, if you lean that way), but they're definitely not a result of paying taxes. If that were the case, then poor people who had no taxes for a year would have no rights for that year.

The argument could be better phrased as: currently society affords corporations some rights, in some cases rights which provide corporations an advantage over ordinary citizens. Does society still believe that this is how things should be?

Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

Re:How about MS (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#169734)

The difference is that VA Linux isn't the only game in town. If you couldn't run your ads on VA Linux properties, you could run them elsewhere. If you can't run your ads on AOL/TW cable, and they have the monopoly in your area, then you can't run them anywhere.

Monopolies have to play by different rules, otherwise they'd end up owning us all.

Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

Property Rights (1)

socratic method (15936) | more than 13 years ago | (#169737)

The issue is not whether or not this hurts AOL/TW's competitors, as it most certainly does. The issue is who has ownership (and thusly control) over AOL/TW's cable network. Should The Washington Post be forced by the policing powers of government to run ads for The Washington Times against their management's will? Of course not. In cases like this, the stakes are high. The government must set a strong precedent. I hope, for the sake of both the American people and the business that they fairly operate, that government takes a back seat to property rights and common sense. sm

Re:This is why a strong watchdog is needed - BS (1)

socratic method (15936) | more than 13 years ago | (#169738)

Bullshit! What we need is for people to take responsibility for their own lives. What is wrong with a corporation deciding how to use its own property? Is Budwiser going to start placing Miller Lite ads on it's beer cans? Of course not. But by your argument, the government should step in and force such things to happen.

It is the government's first and foremost duty to protect the constitutional rights of the individual against the tyranny of the majority. Unfortunately, the government has failed at even this.

"Remember that there is no such dichotomy as "human rights" versus "property rights." No human rights can exist without property rights. Since material goods are produced by the mind and effort of individual men, and are needed to sustain their lives, if the producer does not own the result of his effort, he does not own his life. To deny property rights means to turn men into property owned by the state. Whoever claims the "right" to "redistribute" the wealth produced by others is claiming the "right" to treat human beings as chattel."

Ayn Rand


Re:Bush won't do shit. (1)

Mr. X (17716) | more than 13 years ago | (#169739)

Bush and Cheney sold ALL their oil stocks before taking office. They have no stake in the oil industry anymore.

Monopolies (2)

rbb (18825) | more than 13 years ago | (#169742)

This is exactly the kind of anti-competitive practice that should be attacked right away from the top. Abuse of market power on this level is definately something the government should get involved with.

The FTC should be all over AOL TW again and force them to get these ads run on Time Warner Cable.

Re:Even Dumber..... (2)

kramer (19951) | more than 13 years ago | (#169743)

The same reason why subscription magazines that are mailed to you include those tear out subscription cards. Sure they could tear them out and save on shipping, but what if a friend is reading your magazine and decides he wants a copy?

What if a friend is at your house watching TV and decides he likes the cable service you've got? The point is since they own the service putting in ads of their own costs next to nothing, and if it catches a few extra subscribers more power to them.

Re:Is this for local or national? (1)

Hobaird (20269) | more than 13 years ago | (#169744)

Because some shows have national commercials that will run ANYWHERE.. so if say Earthlink ran that then the cable company can't block it with their own commercial. Now for the spots that the cable company is allowed to fill with their advertising, I don't see a problem with this at all..
Uh, hello? The point is that they're keeping small, local ISPs from advertising. not only couldn't afford tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to advertise nationally, why would they want to? They have no use for people in Baltimore to see the ads, only Texas.

Re:Sounds like a problem (2)

schporto (20516) | more than 13 years ago | (#169745)

Hmmm Catch-22. Are they allowed to? Aren't the companies under some fiduciary liability to make sure their stock holders make as much money as possible? If they report things that make their own stock go down aren't they guilty of wrongdoing to their stockholders? Or even if they reported something good about their company couldn't that be seen as stock manipulation by the SEC?

Re:In the UK... (1)

skribe (26534) | more than 13 years ago | (#169746)

Just recently in Australia the national public broadcaster (ABC) bought $20,000 worth of TV advertising on one of the commercial stations.

The story is here []


Re:Consumer? (1)

macsforever2001 (32278) | more than 13 years ago | (#169749)

What to make signficiant change to the company? Get large groups of people to buy stock in the company, and change the damn company yourselves.

You are forgetting one simple fact, one vote per share. While your idea sounds good in theory, the truth is that the average consumer, even banded together by the 1000s will have zero impact on companies. You can own a few hundred shares at the most, maybe a few thousand if you concentrate your resources. Even if you get 1000 people to do the same who think like you do (good luck!) that's something like 1 million shares (at 1000 shares per person). Well the rich people own far more than that individually and there are a bunch of them. They are called the CEO, the board of directors, the high up execs, etc. I won't even bother to mention the mutual funds and companies which do things like buy a few percent of the company (many millions of shares depending on the company of course). Us non-rich and non-privileged people (speaking for myself of course) don't stand a chance against that.

Re:Sounds like a problem (1)

deacent (32502) | more than 13 years ago | (#169750)

Actually, I'm sure they already do. CNN is a Time/Warner subsidiary.


Re:What is wrong with Fox News? (2)

jmauro (32523) | more than 13 years ago | (#169752)

Controlled by an equally big and dirty company, NEWS Corp.

Re:Why stop there? (2)

jmauro (32523) | more than 13 years ago | (#169753)

Because Cable companies are given a local monopoly, meaning that there are zero other sources for cable. If they are not allowed to advertise on that medium, the local ISP have effectively been cut from the market. It is very anti-competitive. Coca-Cola not shipping Pepsi does nothing to prevent Pepsi from being competitive. Coca-Cola and Pepsi cannot stop each other from advertising on TV or stop a third party say RC Cola from advertising there as well, why should AOL/Compuserve and MSN stop RC ISP from advertising as well. Too bad the FTC is too meak and whipped to do anything about this enfraction.

In the UK... (2)

aug24 (38229) | more than 13 years ago | (#169758)

...there was a similar case a few years ago with regard to TV companies having to accept adverts for their rivals on an equal footing to, say, dogfood.

This is because we have a government watchdog system. Firstly, do you have anything similar in the US? Secondly, I wonder what will happen to trans-national services such as web content prooviders.

Re:It's spreading throughout the huge company. (3)

BrK (39585) | more than 13 years ago | (#169760)

Although the cable company may no longer sponsor your little league team, cable companies *do* pay franchise fees (1%-3% of subscription, typ.) to the community they operate in. DBS/Satellite companies do *not* pay any fees to the communities that subscribe to the service.

So, your community *is* getting money from the cable company that is roughly tied to the size of the subscriber base (if they're not getting this money, then your community employs the most ignorant contract negotiators in the world.)

That being said, I still prefer DBS...

Re:This is why a strong watchdog is needed (3)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 13 years ago | (#169763)

"What's to say that a bunch of poor people can't all buy stock and vote as a block?"

The idea that people shouldn't have to buy power with money. That's why we have governments - to equally represent all people. Poor people would much rather be *feeding* and *clothing* themselves than fighting off mega corporations.

Yeah...? (1)

nite- (57546) | more than 13 years ago | (#169765)

Why would they allow advertising of competition on their networks? You dont see ABC advertising on FOX or CBS. It's a tough business, and AOL having their own very large TV networks is a big boost for them. They'd be stupid to allow it.

Sounds like a problem (3)

cansecofan22 (62618) | more than 13 years ago | (#169766)

This could become a BIG problem. Just think about it. AOL/Time warner have a lot of things under there control. What if they told CNN they could not run stories that made AOL/Time Worner look bad. The effects of this merger are just now being seen but I think they could get A LOT worse than refusing air time to competitors. This is one mega company that we should keep a very close eye on and hope the Bush administration will support the people who are hurt by these type of business practices. Only time will see.

Re:This is logical (2)

fizik (64754) | more than 13 years ago | (#169767)

This has nothing to do with monopolies. It's just the natural and healthy survival of the fittest that has always been the core of capitalism.

While mergers, acquisitions and growth are certainly a healthy component of a capitalist, it is somewhat rash to assume that the consequences of these free market operations are justified simply because of they occur in the free market. The notion of certain industries (especially those with high fixed cost and low marginal cost) shifting toward monopoly is one of which economists have been acutely aware of for decades. The same economists who champion what appears to be your ideal; a "laissez faire" economy, are vigilant in their attempt to maintain a market that is conducive to healthy competition. It is generally agreed that monopolistic practices are one's which preclude market forces from operating in way that benefits the consumer. While the shift toward monopoly may be one which is a cause of natural capitalist tendencies, the emergence of a monopoly works to stifle those tendencies. Herein lies the tension between regulation and allowing markets to operate in as natural a way as possible. Your argument, and this article, both offer an all too lucid demonstration of this tension in operation.

Not true? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 13 years ago | (#169771)

Um, i lived in Rochester NY for about 5 years, and we had time warner cable...and i did see commercials for dsl from the local (small) phone company, Frontier.

Re:Sounds like a problem (2)

selectspec (74651) | more than 13 years ago | (#169772)

The do tell CNN not to run stories that make them look bad. All of the media conglomerates do this and the practice dates back to the newspaper barons.

why would they want to advertise on aol? (1)

xhawk (78101) | more than 13 years ago | (#169773)

why would a high speed cable customer be interested in dial up access in the first place? i think spending money advertising there would be a waste - from a marketing point of view...

Re:Yeah...? (2)

FyreFiend (81607) | more than 13 years ago | (#169774)

But ABC does run ads for all the big movie companies, not just Disney.

Expected (1)

oldstrat (87076) | more than 13 years ago | (#169776)

They shouldn't have been allowed to cross industries. Television is television, and telecom is telecom. I can see AOLTW refusing to run ads for Lay's, Pepsi, Tylenol, whatever... because AOLTW has a stake in a competing product or business. I'm wondering just how much AOLTW has an interest in the publuc interest (remember FCC licences?).

Does nayone have a list of the various components of the AOLTW SuberColumbine.

And... (1)

Ater (87170) | more than 13 years ago | (#169777)

They should be REQUIRED to display ads of their COMPETITION because...

So I assume you also believe that Red Hat should also be forced to display Windows logos all over its retail packages?

uh... (1)

Ater (87170) | more than 13 years ago | (#169778)

Corporations are made up of citizens; and it is this collective group of citizens which does have rights.

Re:So? (2)

Darth Yoshi (91228) | more than 13 years ago | (#169780)

I don't see why they should HAVE to run any ad if they don't want to.

I think it's a matter of degree. In a competitive environment with several roughly equal competitors, yeah, you're right, everything else being equal, they shouldn't have to.

I think the problem is that AOL/Time-Warner is getting so big that if AOL/Time-Warner refuses to run their competitors ads, their competitors are out of business.

In theory, IMO, IANAL, this is where anti-trust laws start to kick in.

Big, Fat, Hairy Deal (1)

artemis67 (93453) | more than 13 years ago | (#169781)

When was the last time you saw a commercial for The O'Reilly Factor on CNN? Or a commercial for Frasier on ABC? When was the last time you saw a full-page spread for the Washington Times in the Washington Post?

Probably never. So why is this such a big deal? If I was CEO of AOL Time Warner, I wouldn't allow my competitors to advertise on my sites, either.

Besides, it's not like there aren't PLENTY of other places to advertise on online. Most major sites that rely on advertising are still having to fill space with in-house ads, up to 30%, so it's not as if you couldn't paste ads all over Yahoo if you wanted to.

You can't claim censorship when AOL only accounts for a tiny fraction of the total websites in cyberspace.

Let me say this..... (2)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 13 years ago | (#169782)

DUH!!! Like this makes sense to me. It really surprises me that people can complain ahout something like this. AOL/Time Warner advertising for other providers is like asking Coke to advertise for Pepsi! I know, AOL/Time Warner is a huge comapany, but so are Coke and Pepsi. Also, if I were a medium sized ISP and I was offered to run ads for a smaller ISP what do you think I'd do? All companies in the same industry, big and small, compete with each other. How do you think that Microsoft was built? Do you think they were that big in one day?? Have you even seen Pirates of the Silicon Valley?? Asking the bigger one to advertise for a smaller one that can one day get as big or bigger then the bigger one would be suicide!

Re:This is why a strong watchdog is needed - BS (2)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 13 years ago | (#169783)

I don't know where you are from, but Time Warner, at least in my area, DOESN'T have a monopoly anymore in my area in broadband or Cable. There's another company in my area called Americast (whose was bought by someone other then Time-Warner). I can choose between those two anywhere in my area. The only exception to this is if you live in a apartment (this may have or will soon change). If your in an apartment, you have to accept whatever the apartment is wired for (be it warner or americast).

Also, Ameritech and several other companies all offer DSL and everywhere in the US can choose from SEVERAL Dss dish vendors.

My point is that AOL/Time-warner have NO monopoly. The only way they do is if you choose NOT to do any research and just accept them. I bet if you got out your phone book and started calling around you can get a all non AOL/Time Warner internet and cable setup.

Is this for local or national? (2)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 13 years ago | (#169787)

Because some shows have national commercials that will run ANYWHERE.. so if say Earthlink ran that then the cable company can't block it with their own commercial.

Now for the spots that the cable company is allowed to fill with their advertising, I don't see a problem with this at all..


Re:Is this for local or national? (2)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 13 years ago | (#169788)

Then I see no problem with what they're doing..

Re:Common Carriage (3)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 13 years ago | (#169789)

Except that an ISP isn't a Cable TV or a telephone service.

This is not illegal, and barely unethical (3)

hexx (108181) | more than 13 years ago | (#169793)

The New York Times does not run ads for the New York Post.

The Mormons do not advertise for the Baptists.

It's common practice to not shoot yourself in the foot.

Yes this leads to biased journalism, but the media has been this way since the old Newspaper Barons.

This is hardly newsworthy.

Don't Expect The Gov To Do Anything (1)

Combuchan (123208) | more than 13 years ago | (#169799)

This is akin to the anticompetitive practices that Microsoft has been pulling for the last several years. And while many of us rightful antitrusters think they can't do that and depend on the government to make it right, nothing happens. How long has the Microsoft trial been going on? How long has Microsoft been doing the kind of thing it's doing? Do you honestly expect the government--especially now that it's run by Republicans to do ANYTHING about it? You're living in a very naieve dream world if you think otherwise.

Government doesn't work. We'll be running in circles if we depend on government for just about anything--especially for anticompetitive practicies. If we don't like this sort of practice, it's up to us, the consumer, to make noise and do something about it--the only thing that can force a corporation to change is something that makes it less money. Boycotts, bad publicity, hecklestorms--you name it.

Let's do this.

this could have big implications ... (1)

Combuchan (123208) | more than 13 years ago | (#169800)

Now that I think about this more, it suddenly occurs to me that this can have some really big implications.

I don't really give a rat's rear-end about the MS monopoly because I use Linux and FreeBSD (and soon Solaris) 100% of the time. I could really care less and would be affectedthe same if MS turned into a thundering titan or a miniscule mouse.

But what I do care about is how big and how bad AOL is--think about it. AOL runs, my favorite news site, they're responsible for Netscape and Mozilla, my browsers, they run AIM and ICQ, my instant mesaging services (when I use them), and they're becoming a menacingly large ISP.

When I hear about AOL abusing their power, I sort of wonder about how far it could go. Their reach and eyeball-power is far beyond Microsoft's and includes just about everyone in the United States--whether they own a computer or not or actually care about what OS or what software it runs. This has far less, uh, "geekpoints" than MS's practices.

So when I'm advertising my DSL service and I talk to TimeWarner and get the parent-company-provides-a-competing-service-and-do esn't-like-the-competition type of response, it's a helluva lot different and a order of magnitude bigger/more important/more anticompetitive than the Simpsons trying to advertise on NBC. Suddenly one company has selective power over which products advertise on an entire service--sort of like disallowing the Simpsons advertising anywhere, fe. I really dislike that.

BTW, this isn't too well known, but Colin Powell, father of FCC chairman Michael Powell, (the guy that more or less allowed the AOL/TW merger to take place) owns I think 1.2 million shares of TimeWarner stock and stood to profit handsomely from the AOL buyout...rather than declare a conflict of interest and abstain like any good FCC chairman would do, he went ahead and allowed it under the condition that AOL open their IM services--has this even happened yet?!

There's government for ya. See previous post for more anti-government views. :)

Re:Consumer? (1)

Combuchan (123208) | more than 13 years ago | (#169801)

Contrary to popular belief, you CANNOT influence a company's decisions as a stockholder

I own stock in a few companies. Here's what I could've voted on for Cendant last year:

  • A vote for ele ction of the following nominees: (4 names) for all/withold all/vote for individuals
  • To ratify and approve the appointment of (some company) as the company's independent auditors. Yes/No
  • To approve the amendment to the 1997 stock option plan. Yes/No
So, just clarify: As a stockholder, all you can do is sit there and buy and sell and hold the company's stock at your leisure. YOU CAN'T VOTE ON SHIT.

Back on topic, decisions like AOL's are good for stockholders--eliminating the competition is a Good Thing if you're a company.

Thank you.

Nothing New (2)

peterdaly (123554) | more than 13 years ago | (#169802)

Time Warner has been doing this in my local market for quite some time (years.) National ISP adds would usually get played, but it was impossible for any ISP who didn't purchase Nationwide "coverage" (if that's what they call it in the TV World.)

Local ISP's have been griping for quite some time that they can only get airtime on the big broadcast stations.

It has happened ever since Time Warner locally rolled out Cable Modems, and started considering local ISP's competition.

While it would be nice to try and tie this practice in with the "merger" (hehe) with AOL, I don't think that's quite justified.


Re:Property Rights (1)

Hoskald (125486) | more than 13 years ago | (#169803)

I would agree with you excpt for one point: they do run competitors ads, ala MSN. In the article it seemed to indicate that they will run national content over local content and this is what shuts out the little guy. I am a free market kinda guy, but this continued squeezing of the little guy really bothers me. Cheers from Dusty Oklahoma Hos

Bush should hit 'em with Antitrust Suits (1)

YIAAL (129110) | more than 13 years ago | (#169804)

In fact, he should hit all the big media companies with AT. They're Democrats anyway, so he should enjoy it! Oh, and it's the right thing to do, too.

Re:Oh dear (1)

enneff (135842) | more than 13 years ago | (#169805)

Hi, I run a milk bar. I refuse to stock curry powder simply because of the fact that it gives me stomach pains. If you don't like it, get the fuck out of my shop.

Now *this* is abuse of monopoly power (2)

jcoleman (139158) | more than 13 years ago | (#169808)

If there was ever a clear cut case for prosecution under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, this is it. The company in question holds near-monopoly power over the dial-up internet service provider industry and is using that power (and extension into other markets) to squeeze out the competition. Let's see them chalk this one up to "innovation."

Re:Libertarian indeed... (1)

uberdood (154108) | more than 13 years ago | (#169810)

If (and last time I check they do) corporations pay taxes, corporations have rights. Time to knock the stuffing out of your noggin.

Re:So? (1)

davep_ub (160466) | more than 13 years ago | (#169816)

Cable networks are usually local monopolies. These monopolies are supposed to be granted in the public interest. It's not in the public interest if DSL providers cannot place legitimate local advertisements in community media.

AOL-TW should either act fairly or lose their cable franchises. It could be fought out at the local level.

Should have expected this... (1)

decesare (167184) | more than 13 years ago | (#169818)

AOL is a bunch of hypocrites. Before the merger with TW, the suits at AOL were whining for equal access to the cable lines of MediaOne (now AT&T), TW, and the other big cable providers. Of course, they went on record as taking this stance not for their own self-interest and bottom line, but to "protect consumer choice". Nice sentiment, but of course, now that they control at least a piece of those cable lines, notice how they're no longer singing that tune.

Considering the story, it's even more annoying how TNT runs those cheesy ads for AOL at least three times an hour. (good thing there's a "Mute" button on the remote)

This is logical (1)

duvel (173522) | more than 13 years ago | (#169819)

It is logical that media put limits on what you are allowed to advertise through them. For example, if a publication is tailored to a specific target audience (like fishermen) then it is logical that they will not publish content that does not support getting more readers. This may be

content that annoys their readers (like articles about the pain that a fish feels when it bites)

or content that affects more directly on the number of readers (like placing ads for other publications with the same audience).

There's even a chance that shareholders might sue a company if it does not try to protect its revenue stream, because that would mean that the company is not working in the shareholders best interest. For OAL the same principle applies: gaining a bigger market share implies trying to minimize other companies' market share. This has nothing to do with monopolies. It's just the natural and healthy survival of the fittest that has always been the core of capitalism.

"Other ISPs are available" (2)

Scorchio (177053) | more than 13 years ago | (#169820)

I remember the arguments from magazine publishers about the BBC - who are funded by the tv licence fees, and run no independent commercials - running adverts for the BBC's own TV listings magazine, "Radio Times", on its own channels. It was resolved by them merely adding the phrase "Other TV listings magazines are available", in small print in the corner of the screen for a few seconds.

Maybe they'll get around this one in a similar way.

Re:So? (1)

zombieking (177383) | more than 13 years ago | (#169822)

The whole point of free world market is that companies can not be monopolistic on advertising rights.

I really don't agree with this. By that rationale, your saying that a local Mom 'n Pop Deli should but an advertisement for Subway up in thier window to comply with a "free world market". I don't buy it.

And yes, I am an AOL hater.


Re:How about MS (1)

WildBeast (189336) | more than 13 years ago | (#169827)

I was talking about the new Windows XP. If you buy Windows, would you like to have AOL, Real, and all kinds of useless apps bundled with it? Of course not. By protecting their users from all those useless programs how could they be abusing of their monopoly?
If Redhat or Mandrake came bundled with AOL, I would definitively look for another distribution.

How about MS (3)

WildBeast (189336) | more than 13 years ago | (#169828)

And if MS refuses to advertise AOL on their Windows desktop, all of a sudden it becomes illegal to do so, they're abusing their monopoly power, antitrust violation, etc.
You think MS is Dr evil? They're just "mini Me" compared to the others.

OT: Re:Oh dear (1)

GlassUser (190787) | more than 13 years ago | (#169829)

WTF's a milk bar? I heard of one in a video game once. What do you do, sit around and drink milk?

What did you expect? (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 13 years ago | (#169830)

We've been sounding the alarm that this sort of thing could happen for a long time now. Now it's happening. What, you thought that the megacorps would play nice and try to get along with everyone?

Re:Bush won't do sh!t. (4)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 13 years ago | (#169833)

No stake except that their golfing buddies and relatives are still heavily invested. Not to mention campaign contributors. Who do you think gave Bush enough money to edge out McCain in the first place? From my informal sense of public opinion, McCain wouldn't have needed the Republican appointees on the Supreme Court to hand him the presidency. He would have handily crushed Al Gore.

If you honestly believe that after years of living with, working with, and hanging out with oil industry moguls and having an immense personal stake (even if it now "sold") in the oil industry that Bush and Cheney are anywhere near approaching objective on the issue of oil, then you are seriously delusional. Of course, as Americans, we all have a stake in the oil industry. Without oil we wouldn't even have server farms to worry about during blackouts, or SUV's, or highway systems to drive them on. Okay, well we might have them, but not at the incredible prices we have them now. I mean a gallon of gas costs less than a gallon of milk-- that's a bargain.

Re:And... (1)

Ando[evilmedic] (199537) | more than 13 years ago | (#169838)

Redhat isn't running ads in the first place. It is a product not a broadcaster.
Way to miss the point completely

- Ando
You are the weakest link, goodbye.

Even Dumber..... (2)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | more than 13 years ago | (#169839)

The Comcast cable service in my area advertises their cable services to current cable subscribers on 'cable' channels such as Sci Fi, TNN, etc. I'm not talking the upgrade services like digital and cable modem access. I'm talking about actual basic cable subscription. These are channels you can only get while subscribed to a pay service such as cable. So why are they advertising their basic service to their subscribers? You won't find Comcast advertising on DirecTV.

It's like if AOL popped up an ad when you log in informing you that you can try AOL for 700 hours FREE!!!

Re:How about MS (2)

david duncan scott (206421) | more than 13 years ago | (#169840)

The only barrier to entry is money.
No it's not. Try advertising liquor on Saturday mornings, phone sex in prime time, or the Nazi Party anytime.

A lot of companies pick and choose their advertisers for a lot of reasons, and not flacking for their competitors is a damned good one.

If, as has been mentioned above, VA Linux chooses to advertise for other competetive companies, I presume that it's based on the idea that a rising Linux tide lifts all boats, not because they find it morally compelling to accept any and all ads.

Re:Don't Expect The Gov To Do Anything (2)

david duncan scott (206421) | more than 13 years ago | (#169841)

Good Lord, you're not suggesting that the American people could influence corporate behaviour through their spending habits, are you? What would Karl Marx say? What would the Green Party do? Where would Ralph Nader go?

Most of all, what would happen to my God-given right to have policemen force my will upon strangers hundreds of miles away?

Re:Earthlink? (2)

vitamino (210402) | more than 13 years ago | (#169849)

It seems like AOL is letting the larger ISPs advertise because they might just buy them at some point in the future.

AOL probably wants to stifle the smaller ISPs because it would be too much trouble to buy all of them up and take their customers, so they suffocate them instead.

I'm assuming that AOL has as its long-term goal to be the only residential ISP in the entire world.

This is why a strong watchdog is needed (4)

flatpack (212454) | more than 13 years ago | (#169853)

Especially when so many huge media corporations are merging and taking each other to form such massive conglomerates, a strong government watchdog is needed to prevent these abuses of power. If AOL/Time Warner are allowed to get away with this, then they are basically being allowed to suppress their competition, and what kind of free market supports this? No kind at all.

The free market ideal that American culture reveres is only possible given a lack of monopolies and informed consumers. Here we have the worst of both worlds - a near-monopoly ensuring that consumers are ill-informed! And since other companies are just as bad, the only place we, the people, can turn to is the government. It is their duty to ensure that our needs are put first, rather than those of the corporate warlords.

Unfortunately, I somehow doubt Bush will see it that way. He's all for corporate power and unaccountability - just look at how so much of America's War on Drugs is now persued by private companies unaccountable to the electorate. Remember - you can vote to change your government, but you can't do anything to change a corporation.

Oh dear (4)

flatpack (212454) | more than 13 years ago | (#169854)

I've been corrected by a Randite drone. How awful.

Bullshit! What we need is for people to take responsibility for their own lives.

Since the government represents the people, that's what I was talking about. Still, nice attempt at a strawman.

What is wrong with a corporation deciding how to use its own property?

When that usage is detrimental to people? Or do you believe that corporations are better than people? Oh wait, you probably do if you're spouting Randite crap at me. So it's alright for corporations to pollute then, because it's "how they use their own property"?

Is Budwiser going to start placing Miller Lite ads on it's beer cans? Of course not. But by your argument, the government should step in and force such things to happen.

*sigh* Strawman. Again. Budweiser is not in the advertising business now is it? Since media corporations have such a huge influence on society, it is only right that government ensures their fairness. Just look at the most respected news source on the planet - the BBC. A publicly-run organisation!

Oh, and you forgot to mention "jack-booted thugs" in your tirade.

It is the government's first and foremost duty to protect the constitutional rights of the individual against the tyranny of the majority. Unfortunately, the government has failed at even this.

And equally so, it is their duty to protect the rights of the majority against the tyranny of the capitalist elite. Because since the US is so profit-driven, majority is defined in terms of monetary value, and the "majority" is actually those who control 5% of the population and over half of its wealth.

And yet, the government has failed in this duty, thanks to fools like you that think "wealth creation" is some kind of sacred goal to be valued above all else, even things like human dignity.

Remember that there is no such dichotomy as "human rights" versus "property rights."

Yup, one is worth fighting for, the other is a byproduct of a capitalist society.

No human rights can exist without property rights.

Translation: if you don't own anything, you have no rights. Those that own more, have more rights to do as they please.

Since material goods are produced by the mind and effort of individual men, and are needed to sustain their lives, if the producer does not own the result of his effort, he does not own his life.

In your ideal society, please explain to me how wage slavery would be prevented.

To deny property rights means to turn men into property owned by the state. Whoever claims the "right" to "redistribute" the wealth produced by others is claiming the "right" to treat human beings as chattel.

No, because people have fundamental rights irrespective of whether or not they own property. Only Randroid nuts like you would think otherwise. By your reckoning the homeless, refugees and hunter-gatherer tribes do not have any rights, such as the right to life. What self-serving bullshit.

It's a great philosophy for people with plenty of resources and a lack of empathy for other people. Thankfully, most people aren't that cold.

Re:So? (1)

while (213516) | more than 13 years ago | (#169855)

Well, VA Linux does run adverts for that other Linux system integrator. I've seen their ads back to back while browsing the comments, then replying to you.

(end comment) */ }

Surprised? (4)

anonicon (215837) | more than 13 years ago | (#169857)

From the article, it's apparent that AOL/Warner is adhering to the letter of the agreement if not the spirit by allowing national ISPs like "EarthLink, Juno Online Services Inc. and High Speed Access Corp. to meet the merger conditions, (but) most small and regional ISPs have felt frozen out of open access." While this is clearly wrong, I don't know if it is illegal since after all it was the FCC who said AOL/TW had to open their lines to competitors and they have done so.

More troublesome is the fact that AOL/TW is blocking content from Joe User because Joe User's sponsor is barred by AOL/TW. "Last fall, Time Warner refused to let Westlake High use one of its channels to rebroadcast football games if Texas.Net continued as an advertiser (for Westlake High). had advertised with Time Warner for several years prior to the fall of 2000 only to be told that Time Warner would not renew Westlake High School's TV contract if was a sponsor."

This seems to be illegal because now AOL/TW are telling User X that their sponsors have to first be subject to AOL/TW approval. Talk about a present and long-term potential abuse of monopoly power. What other roadblocks will AOL/TW impose on people/organizations who want to use their network when they're the only game in town?

All in all, not surprising - is anyone surprised when large companies do this sort of thing?


Really? (1)

briggsb (217215) | more than 13 years ago | (#169858)

This really shouldn't be much of an issue since there aren't any small- or medium-sized DSL providers left.

Bullshit, I see Frontier DSL ads all the time (1)

Hairy_Potter (219096) | more than 13 years ago | (#169860)

on my Time-Warner system, in upstate New York.

Earthlink? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 13 years ago | (#169861)

I thought I saw some Earthlink commercials on CNN or one of their channels. Could be wrong. Anybody know the law on this?

Re:This is why a strong watchdog is needed (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 13 years ago | (#169865)

but you can't do anything to change a corporation.

Hey dumbass, it's called the stock market. And, unlike in gov't elections, you can 'vote' as many times as you want with stock (it's called buying more shares). Think.

Re:Now *this* is abuse of monopoly power (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 13 years ago | (#169866)

"Near Monopoly"? How do you figure? So, now when do I have to quit my local ISP for AOL...?

Re:Consumer? (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 13 years ago | (#169867)

No, I understand that. My point is, people upset with companies seem to think that the way to influence companies is either to band together and vote for one of two gov't parties (not very effective), or to boycott a company (usually, not very effective either). With enough numbers, yes, "consumers" can become "owners" and actually influence the company. If people can be banded together to vote, why can't they be banded together to buy stock? There's virtually no difference between the political parties in the US. Shareholders get to elect the CEO and approve high-level decisions in companes. Which do you think will have more of an impact?

Consumer? (2)

NineNine (235196) | more than 13 years ago | (#169869)

You know, instead of thinking like a 'Consumer', why don't you try thinking like an 'Owner'. As soon as you buy one share of stock, you're a part owner of the company, and you get to vote on all major decisions, and even attend the shareholder meetings. What to make signficiant change to the company? Get large groups of people to buy stock in the company, and change the damn company yourselves.

Re:This is why a strong watchdog is needed (2)

NineNine (235196) | more than 13 years ago | (#169870)

What's to say that a bunch of poor people can't all buy stock and vote as a block? It seems like that'd be a hell of a lot more effective then trying to lobby the government to do a half-assed or militaristic job of fixing things. You want to have a say at an AOL/Time-Warner corporate shareholder's meeting? As of this morning, it'll cost you $52.28.

Monopoly (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 13 years ago | (#169874)

FOX, CBS, and ABC are not monopolies. If you don't like what they have, you can change the channel. If you don't want to have Time Warner cable service in Manhattan, then you can have no cable. You basically have no television in Manhattan without Time Warner cable. It's a monopoly, so restricting advertising might make perfect sense to them, but it's abusively restrictive to others.


Re:Sounds like a problem (2)

hokie93 (249796) | more than 13 years ago | (#169875)


This is the 21st century, journalistic ethics that you speak of where completely lost in the 20th century. Respectable news programs have been released by news entertainment such as NBC's Dateline. Wasn't it Dateline of 20/20 that admitted that they rigged a gas tank to explode on a GM vehicle as part of a "demonstration" of how unsafe the gas tank was? ABC's morning programs had an interview with the sock puppet because their parent company, Disney, owned CNN devoted months to televising OJ Simpson's trial.

My point is that they news on TV has become a big business that exists to feed it's parent company. News that isn't good for the bottom line is unimportant.

AOL/Time-Warner Won't Advertise Competition (1)

dswensen (252552) | more than 13 years ago | (#169876)

Also in the news today: Bear Shits in Woods Pope Catholic Earth Goes Around Sun

Re:Sounds like a problem (1)

tristan f. (259738) | more than 13 years ago | (#169880)

As an (occasional) professional journalist, I think you underestimate the ethical fortitude of the vast majority of working journalists. I can assure you that if such a directive did come down from the corporate ownership, CNN would meet with resignations en masse. I have very little doubt that their news division would be decimated and its quality would quickly fall to the level of, say, Fox News.

In essence, CNN would no longer be an important (or trustworthy) source of news should such a situation come to pass. Think of it as a system of checks on corporate mouthpieces posing as news organizations.

(And I'm not so naive as to believe corporate pressure is never applied -- certainly, I've seen it happen. But it's minimized remarkably well.)

Just my two cents.

Re:How about MS (1)

Fat Casper (260409) | more than 13 years ago | (#169881)

Wow, that hurt my eyes. Cable companies sell advertising. The only barrier to entry is money. Unfortunately, now the cable company is now an ISP. Now your money is no good here. That really helps me, because AOL-TW doesn't offer net access here, and they still won't advertise local ISPs. That is abusing their monopoly.

Microsoft won't advertise AOL on their desktop, eh? I've used '98 and don't remember any banner ads that didn't come through Netscape. MS, however, had a monopoly on the desktop and used it to bundle their browser, so no other browsers were seen. AOL fought that abuse of a monopoly, and managed to get equal access for their browser. Maybe I'm just seeing a parallel that isn't there, I dunno.

Re:How about MS (1)

Fat Casper (260409) | more than 13 years ago | (#169882)

I'm using Mandrake, and it's funny you should mention that. Every Linux distro I've ever seen came with a few million useless apps, and I could choose what to install. If AOL had an open client program that the distros could ship, then more power to them. I want to have the choices.

I don't want to have them jammed down my throat like MS does straight from the factory. That's not about choice, that's about marketing.

It's spreading throughout the huge company. (4)

Fat Casper (260409) | more than 13 years ago | (#169883)

I liked it when Time-Warner bought out our local cable company. It was only a cable company, but they had been very active in the community, sponsoring scholarships and local events. Now that it's owned by a national, we are bombarded with ads claiming that the "cable advantage" is that it's local. So don't go sattelite, because that money doesn't stay local. I don't see them sponsoring anything here anymore, though.

Now to grind my own personal axe. Has anyone seen Headline News since the merger? It used to be a dependable source of real news. Now they have co-anchors, tell me who's having a birthday and spend 5 of their 30 minutes telling me what movies are going to be on TV tonight!!! The other night I saw a tech consultant (you can't pay attention to them, except for entertainment) that I thought they said was from AOL. Maybe we should call Bernard Shaw out of retirement. HE'd never allow this to continue.

Why stop there? (1)

Mupp252 (263650) | more than 13 years ago | (#169885)

Why should they advertise competition? This is just like Coca-Cola putting a can of Pepsi in all of their 6 and 12 packs.

Re:This is getting scary... (1)

tdye (308813) | more than 13 years ago | (#169887)

First off, considering the coverage CNN (Time Warner) gave to the election, I doubt they'll get much sympathy from Bush... they weren't exactly kind to him.

Second, it's a HUGE jump from ads for alternative DSL providers to censoring political speech, and they ALREADY don't show you the news they don't like... it's the job of the news directors and editors at CNN.

Third, AOL has been, off and on, blocking access to competitor's websites since 1996 or so.

Fourth, an exercise: name the last President that was NOT a friend to big business.

Can we apply some critical thought here? Please?

Re:It's spreading throughout the huge company. (1)

tomoe27 (315555) | more than 13 years ago | (#169888)

The last thing I want to do is to support AOL/Time Warner, but here they sponsor community events... If i remember correctly they sponsor a music festival here every summer...

Have they some kind of advertising monopoly? (1)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 13 years ago | (#169889)

Because if they don't have it, it's kind of absurd. You are changing direct advertising revenues for... what? Nothing really, they will advertise in other places. So you are just damaging your own bottom line.

The only way to understand it, is to think in a political way. In this way of thinking advertising is like "supporting", and you cannot support your competitors. But that is simply soft-thinking. A company is not a political party, although that is often forgot in the testosterone-filled fights for supremacy. You are not here for supremacy, you are here to make money. and they way to make money is keeping your clients happy. And from the moment a competitor wants to buy something from you (advertising time), he becomes a client. It's so simple.

Nobody is going to leave you (as a provider) due to some ad, even if seen in you network. They are going to leave you if somebody offers them a better deal. Concentrate on offering the better deal, all else is losing energy and money.


Counter Examples (1)

code-olympus-code (396505) | more than 13 years ago | (#169890)

I have Time Warner Cable and I see advertisments for DSL, and even satalite TV systems. I can't remember if this happens in the time warner exclusive channels.

Anticompetitive, yes...Illegal, maybe not. (1)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 13 years ago | (#169891)

It may be that this major conglomerate is not doing anything strictly illegal, especially if they are abiding by the "letter" of the FTC requirements for their merger.

However, you can bet that this is a monopolistic, anticompetitive practice. If this were M$, you'd see 300 replies to this post within the first 30 seconds. They are undoubtedly using a near monopoly in one area to eliminate competition in another area. I'm fairly certain that if the ISP(s) who are complaining can mount clear evidence, the DOJ could prosecute and win. Of course, since the United States legal system is a joke and a half, it would probably be successfully appealed and the decision reversed.


Re:So? (2)

Blowit (415131) | more than 13 years ago | (#169892)

Well, I guess you are an AOL user/lover.

The whole point of free world market is that companies can not be monopolistic on advertising rights. First, it is bad for business. Second, it shows your true intentions that this merger was meant to ensure ONE and ONLY ONE ISP on TV. And third, shut the competition out and possibly shitting on them on TV.

If you enjoy propaganda TV, then by all means, watch TW... Otherwise, I think those ISPs should bring a Class action lawsuit to TW for not allowing ISPs to advertise themselves. Hope they band together and rip AOLTW a new asshole.

This is getting scary... (3)

ColGraff (454761) | more than 13 years ago | (#169895)

These big corporations are getting way too much power. AOL is the most popular ISP in the nation, and Time-Warner - well, they own everything Disney doesn't. If AOL-Time-Warner starts refusing to allow competitors to advertise, how long will it be before they realize they can also refuse to air any news they don't like? OR ads for politicians they don't like? And what will keep AOL from banning its users from accessing the sites of competitors? Remember, Bush is a very good friend of big business. He'd probably let them get away with this.

This is very disturbing stuff. We have protection against government censorship, but what protection fo we have from corporate censorship?

Re:Sounds like a problem (2)

then, it was nigh (455221) | more than 13 years ago | (#169896)

(And I'm not so naive as to believe corporate pressure is never applied -- certainly, I've seen it happen. But it's minimized remarkably well.)

Have you read FAIR [] 's Fear and Favor 2000 report [] ? It seems to indicate that this sort of thing is a lot more widespread than you think:

In a 2000 Pew Center for the People & the Press poll of 287 reporters, editors and news executives, about one-third of respondents said that news that would "hurt the financial interests" of the media organization or an advertiser goes unreported. Forty-one percent said they themselves have avoided stories, or softened their tone, to benefit their media company's interests.

Apparently not all journalists have your ethical fortitude.
require 6.0;

Common Carriage (3)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 13 years ago | (#169903)

Wouldn't this violate common carriage? I believe the US still has this practice and has applied it to cable TV and telephone service.

What a biased take on this. (1)

Anomolous Cow Herd (457746) | more than 13 years ago | (#169904)

It seems like Michael and the rest of the Slashdot crew just can't get enough of bashing Big Business, to the point where they declare that it is wrong for a business to have control over their own infrastructure, as is the case here.

Honestly, they try to hide behind the shield of "consumer advocacy," but here, it isn't even about the consumer. How many of you pay attention to banner ads anyway? To TV commercials? How are one's rights being taken away when you're chosen ISP only shows you adverts for the companies they choose? The issue here is not that they are taking away your right to learn about other companies, it's about letting them have control over their own network. Wouldn't you be mad if you ran an ISP and a competitor had some kind of say over what kind of content you had to carry?

You are still free to find another ISP in your area, you're just going to have to do some *gasp* research. While phonebooks must be incredibly hard to find, you can always visit your favorite search engine and look for companies there. If you wanted to switch ISPs and go to a smaller, local company, you would probably be doing some research on the subject anyway, to find out where you could get the best price, who supported Linux the best, etc. So it's no major hardship.

I'm just getting really sick of Slashdot editors holding the opinion that no one here has free will and that we're all lemmings who are forced to use MS's OS, MS's browser, and AOL's internet service.

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