A couple weeks ago, Vermel caught the volunteerism bug from watching Colin Powell on the boob tube. Before I knew what hit me, he had pried me away from some serious Internet research and had me donating plasma and cleaning toilets with my WaterPik at the local Boy's Club.
Colin Powell would probably dump his America Online account now, if the general even has one. I hear from one agent du Skinny that Steve Case and company are getting tight with their volunteers--again. Last year, AOL yanked the free access ride for its band of "community leaders," most of whom volunteer dozens of free hours a week to maintain file libraries and message boards.
Now, AOL has told its volunteers that it's pulling the plug on toll-free 800 number access to the service as of June 2. Needless to say, the move has bunched the collective panties of volunteers who don't have a local dial-up number in their area codes. AOL says community leaders still have 800 number access, but they'll have to pony up a surcharge of ten cents per minute. MSN is looking better every day.
Bill Gates is not a man known for his volunteerism nor for being a good auctioneer, and with good reason. At a recent industry event, the Microsoft chairman apparently presided over an auction of a keyboard he had autographed himself.
Sadly, the highest bid was $5, leading a career-minded Gates sidekick to step in with a $600 offer. The Microsoftie allegedly toted the keyboard home under his arm and added it to the ten others in his closet. Let's hope the same thing never happens to Microsoft stock.
Speaking of stock, I hear business ISP Digex's shares are looking tasty to a number of potential suitors. The word on the street is that telecommunications companies Intermedia Communications and Frontier Communications were serenading Digex with offers to the tune of $13 a share until GE got into the bidding. My moles say to look for a buyout in the $13 to $20 per share range in the first half of June. Buy stock in Skinny Inc. right now! The asking price is one good rumor per share. Email rumors to me now to get vested.