Category Archives: aol

AIM Will be Discontinued in December

AOL has announced that it will be discontinuing AIM effective December 15, 2017. In a post titled “One Last Away Message”, VP of Communications Product at Oath, Michael Albers, revealed the sad news. The reason for discontinuing AIM is because they way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed.

If you were a 90s kid, chances are there was a point in time when AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) was a huge part of your life. You likely remember the CD, your first screenname, your carefully curated away messages, and how you organized your buddy lists. Right now, you might be reminiscing about how you had to compete for time on the home computer in order to chat with friends outside of school.

The post continues by noting the use of AIM in popular culture, including in “You’ve Got Mail” (starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks) and in the “Sex and the City” TV series. In the late 1990s, the world had never seen anything like AIM. Today, both technology and social media have changed, and so has how we communicate with each other.

On a help page, AOL says it is excited to focus on building the next generation of iconic brands and life-changing products. It also makes it clear that there currently is not a replacement product available for AIM.

Current users of AIM can continue to use it until the morning of December 15, 2017. It is possible to view and save your chat history.

AOL says that in some cases, the ability to do that may depend on whether you previously disabled the option to save a copy of your chats on your computer, or if you or your buddy selected the “Go off the record” option. If you want to save your chat log, you must do it before December 15, 2017. It is not possible to save or export your Buddy List.

Phantom AOL eMail

I’m still getting mail from dead people.  An AOL account belonging to a friend of mine who passed away almost three years ago has been hijacked and sends me at least one spammy email a day.  I tried to block her emails using my spam blocker, but some still get through.  She had three or four AOL email addresses, and all of them send me spam email.

Now I’m getting spam email from a mechanic I used a few years ago.  The same type of spam email, and I’ve tried to call him, but he appears to be out of business.

But good old AOL, they aren’t out of business, and they never delete email addresses in their system, so I’m destined to get multiple emails a day from these defunct accounts.  And seriously, mail from the dead is just creepy!  AOL doesn’t seem to be responsive to requests to shut down these accounts (I’ve tried that) and they don’t even want to talk to you unless you have an AOL ID to sign on with.  There is no way I want to sign up for an AOL account just so I can complain about another AOL account.

Short of turning on blocking, spam filtering, etc., what is the solution?  How many of millions of AOL (or Yahoo, or Hotmail) email addresses are really defunct, but still sending out spam email because they’ve been hacked?  And why does it seem so hard for these emails to get turned off or deleted?  I sure wish I knew the answer.

The Survival of AOL

Time-Warner announced today that they are spinning off troublesome AOL into its own company once again.  Time-Warner’s purchase of AOL in 2000 left a lot of people shaking their heads.  Ten years ago, AOL was already a declining product as people were moving toward broadband and not using AOL dial-up service, which was the core of their business.  It seemed like a very unprofitable thing for Time-Warner to acquire AOL.

AOLYet, they did, and managed to maintain the brand for the last ten years.  The fact is, AOL is continuing its decline, and I believe Time-Warner’s planned spinoff of AOL into its own company by the end of this year is an effort to off-load a poorly performing division.  What Time-Warner failed to do was capitalize on the global reach of AOL by melding together old media with what AOL could have offered in new media.  If AOL had been left to its own devices, it is possible that it would have found its own way to renewed profitability.  Instead, Time-Warner’s business model likely held back any innovation that AOL once had.

In its time, AOL was a monster online machine.  It provided a way for those without tech savvy a way to access the incredible resources of the Internet, at a time when so few were tech savvy.  While most geeks avoided AOL like the plague, others (like geeks’ mothers, grandmothers, and non-geeky friends) flocked to a service that got them online with a minimum of fuss, giving them ready access to email, news, games, and a place to store photographs.  It was the ideal product for a quickly-developing but fledgeling industry that was growing more quickly than most people could keep up with.  I, myself, signed my mother up to an AOL account on her Mac, and she was one happy camper.  A click and she was connected, and everything she wanted, from email to news, was just a click or two away.  Using a simple “keyword” she could type in, she would get access to web pages for her favorite shows (Oprah) or information on products.  She loved it, and as much as I avoided it, I knew the value it had for her.

Can AOL survive at all at this point?  When was the last time you heard a commercial say “keyword _____ on AOL”?  Time-Warner states in their press release that spinning of f AOL will create “a standalone public company positions AOL to strengthen its core businesses, deliver new and innovative products and services, and enhance our strategic options.”  Sounds more like Time-Warner is cutting its losses.  But I’m willing to bet that new AOL head Tim Armstrong, recently acquired from Google, will have a few new ideas to take AOL forward.  They have some catching up to do, but with the right incentive, AOL can still have a future in the online community.

Jason Calacanis reportedly has left AOL

Seeing the buzz around this I am pretty sure that the rumors are true then indeed this is a pretty amazing turn of events. The question to be asked is what’s next Jason? I know that he is doing a podcast over on Podtech and that makes me wonder if he is going to get more heavily involved in that space or will he try something else.

But regardless what he does, whether it be a new startup, lead another company or just take some time off I am sure that he will continue to be a major force in the new media online space. [TechCrunch]

GNC-2006-08-11 #195

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AOL giving out free domain names…still not enough to lure me over

I want to start out this article by saying that AOL is in trouble. Calacanis admits it, Ted doesn’t admit it quite so easily, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. It seems to me like AOL is going to have to do something miraculous to save itself this time…

Well, they started trying to save themselves by giving away 5GB of free storage. Now they are saying that they are going to give away free domain names to anyone who asks. What’s the catch you ask? Well the catch is that you won’t actually own the domain – AOL will.

Message to AOL: I admire you greatly for trying to save your company, I really do. But you’ve got some major problems that you’re going to need to fix before I will come close to AOL. Good try, AOL, but not good enough to lure me to the dark side.

AOL gives out free .com domains to anyone who asks | | CNET

AOL Compromises User Data Integrity Providing Search Terms!

Well if you’re one of 500,000 randomly selected users on AOL, you may be surprised to know that they’ve released your search terms. Yes, every search term that you have typed in over a period of time is now available to be downloaded over the Internet.

Considering how personal some searches can be I can only attest that this is quite shocking, it would not take a rocket scientist very long at all to figure out who was conducting the searches. Are you and AOL user and how do you feel about this? []