What Happened to America Online? [LGR Tech Tales]

In 1997, the explosion of the World Wide Web was changing the nature of human interaction as we knew it. And America Online was at the forefront. With over half of the entire Internet-
connected population of the US using AOL to get online, the monolithic service seemed unstoppable. But other than the occasional story about how
they still have a bizarre number of customers paying out the nose for dial-up these days, you don’t hear much about AOL anymore. And seeing as they once formed the largest
media company in the world with Time Warner, we’re left with the question: What happened? This is LGR Tech Tales, where we take a look at noteworthy stories of technological inspiration, failure, and everything in between. This episode tells the tale of the dial-up
service turned multimedia empire, America Online. The story of AOL picks up in 1988. Quantum Computer Services had been
running their own dial-up online service called Quantum Link. This was a highly ambitious, but only
moderately successful subscription, that was sold to Commodore 64 users, funded directly by Commodore themselves. But Quantum needed more than moderate success, and their exclusive deal with
Commodore just wasn’t cutting it. That’s because before Quantum Link, their only product was a cartridge for the Atari 2600 called the Gameline in 1982, which let users dial into a server and
download games through their console. But it was a huge flop, and cost investors millions of dollars, selling only a small percentage of total units produced. Investors ousted those they
deemed responsible at the company, like the co-founder, Bill Von Meister, and Quantum Link was created
for the Commodore 64 as a result, using similar ideas of online connectivity. But the user base for that system
was decreasing all the time, and Quantum’s cash reserve was dwindling fast and their debts were piling up. Coincidentally, Apple Computer
was also having cash flow problems with their own online service called AppleLink. General Electric’s Information Services, or GEIS, provided the server and
software backend for AppleLink. But since it was so expensive, it was
only available to company employees and select Apple business partners. It wasn’t a public service. Their Head of Support, John Ebbs, saw the potential for decreasing costs and increasing the effectiveness of customer support through an online service available to the public. And there was talk of reconfiguring
AppleLink for this purpose, while also providing online
services similar to Quantum Link. But it was just downright too expensive to pursue, costing $30 million a year to maintain as it was. This led Apple to pursue other options, and it led them to Steve Case, vice president over at Quantum, who had been spearheading
much of the company’s direction since introducing Quantum Link. They reached an agreement to create
a home computer version of AppleLink, based on the protocols provided by Quantum Link. while also borrowing from a graphical
user interface developed by General Electric called Business Talk. While all of this seemed promising, Apple proved to be hard to
get along with from the start. Not only did they drag out development
time by demanding constant changes to make it fit Apple’s strict design language, but they refused Quantum’s suggestions to
bundle the software with new computers. Apple also enforced a particular set of limitations
on how Quantum could advertise the product, an approach that turned out to be costly and not as effective as what Quantum
thought they could do in-house. Eventually, the final result was
AppleLink: Personal Edition, released in May of 1988 at the San Francisco AppleFest. The users that actually bought it
were impressed with it. But due to the lackluster marketing and the fact
that Apple was arguably overcharging for it, at up to $15 an hour to use, AppleLink: Personal Edition
was already being called a flop. And the existence of Tandy PC-Link only added insult to injury from Apple’s point of view. This was a very similar service Quantum had
made for Radio Shack during the same time for Tandy computers and IBM PC compatibles. Apple blamed Quantum for not working hard enough. And in turn, the board of directors
at Quantum blamed Steve Case. They wanted him gone. However, Quantum CEO Jim Kimsey
was not having any of it. Behind the scenes, he had been prepping Steve Case
to take over for him as the head of the company, and he argued that wasting that
$5 million they’d spent on AppleLink, and in turn, Steve Case’s education, would be a huge mistake. The argument worked. Case’s job was saved, and they proceeded to set the
stage for the future in 1989 by working with their Chief
Technology Officer, Mark Seriff, to revisit AppleLink and tweak it into
something that was less associated with Apple. They called it “America Online,” a name meant to imply a larger, more
nationwide service for every American. There was some debate about
the abbreviation, on the other hand. Calling it “A.O.,” as seen in their logo, brought up comparisons to “B.O.” And since no one wanted to
be associated with body odor, an “L” was added to the end, to become “AOL.” That was probably for the best. AOL was still a self-contained service. An online walled garden of curated content. But there was plenty to do,
like instant messaging, chat rooms, and online gaming with fellow AOL users. The other big draw of America Online was their Channel and Keyword system, both of which were proudly displayed in advertising. Before the days of widespread
audio-visually impressive websites, visiting a channel on AOL was a treat for the senses, many of which was unique with complete
branding for whatever their product was. And typing in simple keywords
made it easy to find these channels without having to type in a long address. The program also supported sound and AOL 1.0 was the first time
people heard this when signing on: AOL VOICE:
“Welcome!” “You’ve got mail!” LGR:
Ahh, that friendly voice alone
made getting online worthwhile. It also had a game called
Quantum Space that users could play, which was the first fully automated
play-by-email video game, developed by Stormfront Studios. And after convincing Steve Case
it was technically feasible, Stormfront made another game
exclusively for AOL subscribers in 1991: Neverwinter Nights, co-developed with TSR and SSI, using their Gold Box Engine
for Dungeons & Dragons games. It was the first massively
multiplayer online role-playing game to feature graphics, not just text, and allowed up to 50 players
to play together in each server. Neverwinter Nights paired nicely with the
first version of AOL for MS-DOS PCs in 1991, which is a platform that had quite a large user base, with SSI’s existing Gold Box role-playing games. By 1992, they had over 150,000 subscribers for America Online. And along with the introduction of
the first version of AOL for Windows, they decided to take the company public raising $66 million in the process. Shortly after this, Steve Case
was made the CEO of the company, now named America Online Incorporated, with Jim Kimsey taking the
seat of Chairman the company. Oddly enough, this was the second
time Case had been named CEO, since it happened briefly back in 1991. But he was soon stripped of the title after the board decided he looked too young for a company
about to go public on the stock market. But now that they had tons
of cash, Case was reinstated, and quickly got to work on the next big thing for AOL. And that thing… was a ludicrous number of floppy disks! You see, AOL had a steady cash flow, but they needed new users if they ever hoped to surpass the likes of competing services like Prodigy and CompuServe. Enter Jan Brandt, AOL’s Head of Marketing, starting in April of 1993. The success of the latest release
of the children’s book “Corduroy” was the result of her work at Newfield Publications, where under her direction they had sent out
free copies of the book to prospective customers. It had worked brilliantly and they
made back their money in no time, because people just needed to be made aware of it. So why not try it with America Online? Up to that point, online service
providers sold the software in stores and perhaps bundled it with a new computer purchase. But giving it away completely for free, that was ballsy. Steve Case was hesitant at first, but ended up giving Brandt a budget
of around a quarter-million dollars to try out the idea. And it’s less than it sounds like, too, since the cost of producing
each floppy disk alone was $1.09, and they still had packaging
and postage costs after that. They figured one percent of users trying out the disk from this campaign would be a good result. But when nearly ten percent signed up
as soon as they got the disk in hand, AOL knew they’d struck gold. Before long, AOL floppy disks and CD-ROMs
were showing up absolutely everywhere. Mailboxes, magazines, bookstores, Blockbusters, and even in packages of frozen Omaha Steaks. And, yes, the disks survived being frozen just fine. At their peak, half of all CDs produced
worldwide were for America Online alone. This disc marketing campaign was so successful, that soon multiple suitors were lined up, ready to partner with AOL, including Microsoft’s Bill Gates, who invited Steve Case and Jim Kimsey
out to Redmond to meet with him. There was talk of a partnership,
and even a few murmurs of an acquisition, but Case was adamantly against the idea. The meeting went so badly that
afterward, Gates said to an associate: And so Gates and his team began working
on what would become Internet Explorer and the Microsoft Network instead. And that is a tale for another day. Whatever, this was fine by the folks at AOL because things were really taking off. In 1993, they introduced several new features: personal “@aol.com” email
addresses for every AOL subscriber, access to the vast Usenet
distributed discussion system, and an exciting new network, the World Wide Web. Yes, the Internet was finally available on AOL. Browsers like NCSA Mosaic
and later Netscape Navigator were making Internet usage easier all the time, so it only made sense for AOL
to include their own access. By 1994, they had discontinued
Q-Link and PC-Link entirely to focus on America Online exclusively. And combined with the introduction of
internet advertising within AOL services, making them TONS of cash, it was clear that the Web was the future. AOL.com debuted in 1995, acting as a starting point “web directory” for net surfers everywhere– a vital thing in the days before
widespread search engines. 1996 was also the year that,
with over five million monthly subscribers, they introduced flat-rate
unlimited-use subscription plans, as well as generous amounts of free
hours available if you just signed up. They followed this up by adding Buddy Lists so users could easily find each other, and the iconic Running Man logo, both of which led to the creation of AOL Instant Messenger, or AIM, in 1997. And finally, they got over their differences
and reached an agreement with Microsoft to bundle America Online software in
every copy of Windows for five years. All of this ended up making them so successful so fast, that people were signing up to the service once every six seconds. And users were constantly getting
busy signals when signing in as a result. Remember, this was all still dial-up. So if the local AOL phone line
was used up, then tough luck! You had to try another one or wait it out. But even with thousands of
frustrated cancellations occurring, AOL grew to over ten million users, and the money was coming in
faster than they could spend it. So begins a string of murders and executions– er, mergers and acquisitions, starting by taking out their old rivals. First up was the purchase of eWorld in 1997, a short-lived online service by Apple,
meant to be a replacement for AppleLink. This was followed up with the purchase
of none other than CompuServe in 1998, along with the instant messaging service ICQ– two of the main competitors
to America Online and AIM. MovieFone was another big purchase, once a pioneering automated phone service, that had turned into a huge website for
looking up movie listings and information. And to top it all off, then came the Netscape acquisition, which was absolutely massive at $4.2 billion. Netscape Navigator was the
dominant browser for years, but with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer gaining
so much ground from being part of Windows, they were on the verge of bankruptcy, and were forced to sell. By this point, America Online seemed truly unstoppable. With tens of millions of users internationally, a value of $125 billion, and devouring so much of their competition so quickly, it was only a matter of time before they either
became the biggest company in the world… or imploded in violent fashion. But, hey! Why not both? In the year 2000, AOL made the announcement. They were buying Time Warner and the two giants would merge. In case you’re not familiar,
Time Warner was, and still is, one of the single-biggest media companies around, originally a conglomeration of
Time, Inc. and Warner Communications. Teaming up with America Online created the
largest media company in the world at the time, taking on the name AOL Time Warner. With their powers combined,
it had to be a sure success, right? Well… say hello to the dot-com bubble, a phenomenon that occurred when the web
market grew to such extremes that it had to burst. And burst it did. Right around the time of the AOL Time Warner deal, with billions of dollars being lost
by countless web-based businesses, leading to a major recession
in the United States and Europe. This was also during a time that
websites were getting more advanced, and dial-up remained just as slow. And users were starting to jump ship
to broadband internet services, something that AOL did not yet provide. Combined with fact that the corporate cultures
of AOL and Time Warner just didn’t mesh at all, and online advertising rates were
rapidly falling across the board due to the bubble bursting, and the deal was doomed from the start. AOL Time Warner’s stock price was annihilated by 2002. After reporting the biggest
annual corporate loss in history, falling from $226 billion all the way down to $20 billion, the chief executive of Time Warner resigned, and Steve Case himself followed suit a year later. And as a big, rotten cherry on top, the U.S. Justice Department began an investigation
into America Online during all of this for accounting fraud, accusing them of inflating reported ad revenue. The suit was settled in 2004, and they paid a $510 million penalty for advertising accounting fraud. Somewhat ironically, 2004 was also the year that AOL acquired the website Advertising.com. So that was a thing. With all the hoopla,
another rebranding was long overdue. America Online took on the name AOL, which made sense, seeing as
everyone called them that anyway. And with it came quite a few
changes over the next few years. Like laying off 40 percent of their workforce, and moving their corporate headquarters
from Dulles, Virginia to New York City to be closer to their ad partners. They also made AOL email, Instant Messenger,
and most of their web services free to anyone with an internet connection, since their AOL High Speed
broadband service bundle was a bust, being discontinued in 2004. It had failed to attract customers since AOL relied on local telecom
companies for DSL connections. And since phone and cable companies
often bundled DSL with other services, and undercut AOL, there was little incentive to pay
for their services on top of that. Then in 2008 came another short-sighted decision– in retrospect, at least. Bebo.com. Social media was becoming a big deal, with sites like Friendster and MySpace setting the stage for sites like Bebo. And Bebo was no slouch at the time, surpassing MySpace and Facebook
in total users in certain countries. AOL Time Warner acquired Bebo for $850 million. Which seemed like a bargain compared to the
valuation of MySpace at the time at $15 billion. Suffice to say, the actual value of services like
Bebo would prove to be vastly overestimated, and Bebo filed for Chapter 11
bankruptcy several years later. After all that, it was time to rebrand once more in 2009, this time stylizing AOL as “Aol, period.” Not only that, but Time Warner split, leaving AOL to do their own thing
as an independent company again. And now under the direction
of ex-Googler Tim Armstrong, AOL all but left behind its past
as an Internet service provider, and embraced the new world of new media. They ended up acquiring several
companies and websites in this area, like Patch Media, Weblogs, Inc., TechCrunch, and The Huffington Post, among many others. They also won the affections of
Verizon Communications in 2015, who decided to purchase AOL outright at $50 a share, a deal worth $4.4 billion. Since then, AOL has continued focusing on its
advertising and media production businesses, purchasing Millennial Media in 2015 and virtual reality studio Riot a year later. And in June 2016, Verizon announced its intentions to
purchase the core Internet business of Yahoo, with the plan being to merge AOL and Yahoo together. Aw, it seems kind of appropriate, really. Although there’s no telling how that’ll turn out. As for the company’s patriarchs these days, Mark Seriff retired from AOL in 1996, and went on to direct companies like
IntelliHome and U.S. Online Communications. and also formed the Seriff Foundation
as a philanthropic effort. Jim Kimsey retired from AOL in 1995, going on to serve as Chairman
of Refugees International, while also working with the
private security firm Triple Canopy. He unfortunately passed away on March 1, 2016, at age 76 after a battle with cancer. Steve Case stayed on the Time
Warner board of directors until 2005, when he left to spend more time working
on his investment firm, Revolution, LLC, and is also currently working with
politicians to advance immigration reform with his argument being that immigration is necessary for America’s future economic success. And sadly, the fate of Bill Von Meister is pretty tragic. After being ousted from his company in 1985, just before they introduced Quantum Link, Bill was involved with nine more
startups over the next ten years, but he didn’t stay at any of them
for more than a year or two. He died in 1995 from cancer at the age of 53, broke and in debt, with nothing much to show for
all of his efforts except a plaque at the Palm Restaurant in Washington, D.C. And that was seemingly because he bought
more vintage Scotch there than anyone else. When Steve Case spoke at a
memorial service for Bill, he opened with: Indeed, without a long string
of crazy ideas, huge failures, and total shots in the dark, America Online would’ve never been a thing. It could have been any number of online
services that introduced the masses to the idea of chat rooms, online gaming, cybersex, forwards from Grandma, and free frisbees and drink coasters. But for millions around the world, it was AOL that accomplished all of this and more. Whether you have any nostalgia for them or not, there is no questioning the huge impact that Quantum Link and America Online had on the world of online communication. [music] And if you enjoyed this episode of LGR Tech Tales, be sure to check out the predecessor to this episode, the creation of Quantum Link and all the Gameline stuff. It’s fascinating! And as always, thank you very much for watching.

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100 thoughts on “What Happened to America Online? [LGR Tech Tales]

  1. America Online is AOL…
    America Online Incorporated is AOLI…

    America Online is a butter sauce confirmed

  2. Ever try to get online using an AOL floppy in a 6 disc home stereo system? Turns out floppies aren't compatible with CD players. Older brother's of the mid 90s would get quite pissed when said floppy got stuck and ruined the CD player.

  3. every time i hear "forwards from grandma" i cannot retain my laughter. man you remember all the jokes from the 90's.

  4. Started using BBS and Prodigy and Compuserve going back to around the mid 1980s using it on the old XT and AT clones. I only knew the strictly command line versions until the advent of Windows 3/3.1 Then I used the graphical versions with Windows.

    Then someone introduced me to dialup internet and turned me onto the World Wide Web in the Spring of 1994. I never looked back at the online services. And as AOLCRAP was becoming the big thing in the latter 90s I simply couldn't understand why people were bothering with AOLGARBAGE when dialup internet WAS JUST AS EASY and the "world wide web" was FAR superior………

    Of course I was MUCH younger and simply couldn't comprehend AND UNDERESTIMATED the stupidity of the idiot masses………

  5. I live in Argentina, and I remember we were flooded with these discs too!!! I still have some unopened ones that came with magazines and such.

  6. Am I the only one who never used AOL (except for one day when I was at a friend's house)? My family used this thing called a Web TV. Have you ever heard of that, LGR?

  7. AOL was amazing for its time. It brings back so many memories for me. I remember mid 90s to late 90s using it religiously and then using AIM from 99 to 2003. Me and my dad used the computer a lot back then playing doom, or searching AOL, to talking to buddies on instant messenger. I also remember being on AOL and my dad picking up the phone to make a phone call and not being able to and him yelling to get off the computer… lol such good times. Especially because in school during those days in middle school we had 1988 IBMs with a blue start up screen. And then going home to our mid 90s era CompacQ. We would play war craft all the time together. Now me and my pops are huge apple fans and we have iPhone, iPad, Apple watches, AirPods, MacBooks, iMacs etc. same shit, different era. This video brought back a lot of memories. Shit I remember finding out about Napster at a buddy from schools house and coming home to show my dad and he flipped out in happiness that he didn’t have to spend thousands of dollars on cds any more. And he would buy hundreds of blank cds and make every cd or a mix of songs he ever wanted. Then I introduced him to the iPod and that changed everything. Times today seem so good but today doesn’t even compare to those older days.

  8. Thing is, I never used aol or any of the companys they bought out. Used yahoo once. Used loads of the cds as bird scareres.

  9. Back in the good ol' days where Apple's highest priority was flipping off as many users as possible, and forcing them to fork over more money in using the device then having it.

  10. It would be awesome if you did a LGR tech tales episode on the North American Video game crash of 1983 and the defeat of Atari.

  11. AppleLink is a sort of an intranet (internal employees) and extranet (business partners) at its inception.

  12. 13:52 – That is actually a cable company (TWC, or Time Warner Cable), which also provides Internet access via cable TV.

  13. heh im in Australia, and i even remember the AOL cd's coming out all over the place here back in the day, you would see it a lot on those cd's that were included along with pc magazines, with lots of other free software etc, and dam i used AIM for manyyyy years, classic.

  14. Belonged for 6 months. Swithched to earthlink from pasadena ca, then at&t. Then had a severe thunderstorm and conected to a high end surge protector but it fried the motherboard but HP wouldn't honor warranty so i got disgusted and have not had a pc since 2008 just this phone.

  15. I was on AOL back in those days and I loved seeing that sound message after signing on. I stayed with them and Netscape (I think it was called) until other companies advertised it's browsers and other services entered the market. I wasted plenty of money on telephone bills back then and was glad that I could sign up with local services and pay a flat rate per month and lower my telephone bill down to under $100.00 dollars a month to get on the internet.

  16. I played the 2002/3 whatever, Neverwinter Nights on PC back in the day (the one that went diamond n all) JUST learned that it dated back to the birth of AOL. . . The more you know.

  17. That one thing that is promised since 30 years and that still seems 20 years away: Cybersex 😛 It's the internet's fusion-energy.

  18. AOL punters and "proggies" are what got me into Windows programming and Visual Basic back when I was a kid. I used to study the BAS files that punter makers would release and make my own. That was the moat fun time in internet history. It was so fun to boot your friends off after they'd get home from school and spend 30 minutes trying to get online with busy servers and congested busy hours.

  19. I never really thought about the dotcom bubble. Incidentally, that's when I first really started using the internet, as I didn't have access to it until about that point. 2000-2003 was the best time to be on the internet.

    It seems like all the companies went bust, and the only web pages that were up were fan sites, forums, chat rooms, and various information pages about hobbies and interests. Not to mention the dawn of flash animation. So many good memories of that time.

  20. If AOL had built their core business into the modern era by buying telecom companies and building high speed infrastructure, they would still be a juggernaut. The reason my household left their service was because they were just too slow and congested.

  21. Wow, I hadn’t seen that QuantamLink screen since I was probably 5 or 6…yet immediately recognized it.

  22. I can't believe I watched over 20 mins of this and never heard the nostalgic dial-up noise. LGR I AM DISAPPOINT >:(

    jk luv u

  23. Never heard of bebo lol. But even I used AIM at some point in time here in the EU. But not having broadband offerings from 2000 onwards is just insane.

  24. I would be interested in seeing a video explaining the dot com bubble. What caused it? It's not like people stopped using the internet, right?

  25. You forgot to mention Slingo, I subscribed to AOL Just to play Slingo and would keep threatening to cancle so they would extend my free trial or give me a discount but they eventually caught on so I actually canceled AOL.

  26. my dad was paying for aol until very recently since 2002 when he bought his own pc. i remember it was a compaq desktop he got at walmart.

  27. I remember haveing those disks back in the day. Though at the time I didn't know what they were.
    I formatted the floppies and used them for other purposes.
    And I had no cdrom drive to put a cdrom into. I think that I had a stack of the cdroms.
    But even if I could have used one, I would not have as I distrusted anything that was pushed that hard.
    So all these years later, I get toi find out what those disks were for.

  28. When Marc Serif gets sacked does the company then append the words sans serif to their name, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

  29. do i technically still have AOL? I had AOL dialup. then AOL Cable modem with Time Warner (NOT ROADRUNNER). then and now I have Comcast cable modem. All this time through buyouts and me not changing my account.

  30. ahh the old dialup one of my first gui program was to allow my friends and family to by pass the trial time limits on those guys..hehe.. aol should of jumped on voip they had the servers all over the place already..

  31. I was always irritated by people with AOL. AOL was for those who needed the Internet spoon fed to them. All you really needed was a dial up connection service, a browser like Netscape, and a mail service which usually came with your service provider. Then you were free to explore and bookmark the Internet as you pleased instead of being stuck in a force-fed environment. It got even more ridiculous when people had a cable modem service and were still paying for AOL just to get to their home page and mail.

  32. I used to work at AOL. I worked through the verizon merger, the yahoo merger
    They bought it to give it a proper death, we laid off at least 500 people every 6 months until it was a ghost town. It was the best place to work for 2 years.. I loved working there until my final year. they wanted just people who were drones. Massive difference from people who revolutionized and could contribute. I still have a coat, backpacks, Ipad holders… Pens…. It was a great time!

    During the change to the yahoo network they laid off the dialup update crew and didn't care about losing millions of dollars a year of free money as out west millions of people STILL use AOL Desktop.

  33. loved calling to quit aol and the person would not cancel it unless i gave him a good reason….WTF kind of business practices were that????

  34. I regret I did not cancel my AOL subscription right after I signed up with Earthlink in 1996 a year after I signed up with AOL in 1995. There were a few occasions when I got in trouble with the AOL moderators aka censors when I used to get into online fights with other AOL members on news of the day, politics and dating. Perhaps my one memorable TOS (Terms of Service) violation moment was when I created an AOL username called "HangAndreaYates" when I posted a comment that Andrea Yates deserved to be convicted on five counts of first degree murder for drowning all five of her babies and that she was sentenced to 46 years to life (her convictions were later overturned on appeal and she was found not guilty by reason of insanity in her second trial). I was livid that AOL took issue with my user ID being that what Andrea did was a million times more heinous than what I did. The biggest mistake I made as an AOL subscriber was looking for friends/dates in their chatrooms. There was one particular chatroom I used to hang out in, called "Arizona," because I used to live in Phoenix during much of the late 90s. At that time, I was very naive about what kinds of people hang out in the online world during the Internet's early days in the 90s. It turned out most people met people in chatrooms not for friendship but for CASUAL SEX. Perhaps the most typical people were boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife couples looking for a second woman to join in for a threesome. Most of the people I met in the Arizona chatroom, especially the women, were shallow, self-absorbed and tone-deaf. Granted there were a few people I had interesting conversations with, my favorite person invited me to a MENSA social, that was fun. Unfortunately, such people were few and far between. I swore off the Arizona room forever after concluding I was not a good fit with most of the people, but it was also at a time when I had just gotten fired from a job I held for three years, so my morale was already at an all-time low. Anyway, those are my only memories of AOL and I hope AOL eventually goes completely out of business for good. I understand their subscription service is gone and all they have now is a free @t website/portal, but I want them gone completely. BTW, I eventually dropped AOL in 2005.

  35. Being born from 99-03 is honestly strange like dialup was still a thing, we barely had aol but we still had it. We still had media players with tape players during childhood????????

  36. @12:27
    "…so begins a string of murders and executions, er, merger and acquisitions"
    I couldn't say it any better myself and good thing I didn't subscribe to AOL.

  37. Thanks for the video. However I still don't understand what AOL is. Is it like a browser? If so, how do you actually connect to the internet? Who provides the connection and the modem?

  38. My family still used AOL until around 2006. I'm 16 and the dial up sound as well as "I need the phone" are part of my earliest memories

  39. 2004 waiting almost a hour to download a 3mb song at the same time hoping a phone call didnt come in or else 😭 ….the good old days

  40. I was a community leader, aka Chat Host for MTV. It was great fun, got a free account, kick people offline and an OH (overhead) account.

  41. I remember using AOL early on, when they had about 30 pictures you could download. At $3.50 per four. At 2.4KBps it took a long time to see that picture. There was almost nothing you could actually do on it, but the sight of something new held everyone's attention on it. This was a time when we didn't even have cable, and had maybe 4-5 clear channels to watch on TV.

  42. Imagine in 2019 having to hang up the house phone to use the internet… I haven't even owned a house phone in years.

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