America Online Inc has quietly amended the service agreement for its 8 million subscribers and is about to begin giving out its customers’ telephone numbers to companies wishing to do direct marketing. AOL, which had previously distributed subscribers’ names and addresses, posted the new plan in the low-traffic Terms of Service area on its website and made no other attempts to alert users who, the company says, have the option of removing themselves from telemarketing lists. AOL intends to distribute the numbers to companies with which it has contractual marketing and advertising agreements such as online vendor CUC International Inc, which in June signed a $50m agreement with AOL to gain prominent placement on its network (CI No 3,180). AOL, which has made no secret about wanting to generate its primary revenues from advertising and electronic commerce rather than subscription fees, now seems willing to leverage its customer base in every way possible. Its latest moves may further rankle the many subscribers who were unhappy about massive tie-ups on access lines last winter, and that is something AOL, with a high rate of defection to other service providers (CI No 3,177), can ill afford.