- Great Painters
- Accounting
- Fundamentals of Law
- Marketing
- Shorthand
- Concept Cars
- Videogames
- The World of Sports

- Blogs
- Free Software
- Google
- My Computer

- PHP Language and Applications
- Wikipedia
- Windows Vista

- Education
- Masterpieces of English Literature
- American English

- English Dictionaries
- The English Language

- Medical Emergencies
- The Theory of Memory
- The Beatles
- Dances
- Microphones
- Musical Notation
- Music Instruments
- Batteries
- Nanotechnology
- Cosmetics
- Diets
- Vegetarianism and Veganism
- Christmas Traditions
- Animals

- Fruits And Vegetables


  1. Adobe Reader
  2. Adware
  3. Altavista
  4. AOL
  5. Apple Macintosh
  6. Application software
  7. Arrow key
  8. Artificial Intelligence
  9. ASCII
  10. Assembly language
  11. Automatic translation
  12. Avatar
  13. Babylon
  14. Bandwidth
  15. Bit
  16. BitTorrent
  17. Black hat
  18. Blog
  19. Bluetooth
  20. Bulletin board system
  21. Byte
  22. Cache memory
  23. Celeron
  24. Central processing unit
  25. Chat room
  26. Client
  27. Command line interface
  28. Compiler
  29. Computer
  30. Computer bus
  31. Computer card
  32. Computer display
  33. Computer file
  34. Computer games
  35. Computer graphics
  36. Computer hardware
  37. Computer keyboard
  38. Computer networking
  39. Computer printer
  40. Computer program
  41. Computer programmer
  42. Computer science
  43. Computer security
  44. Computer software
  45. Computer storage
  46. Computer system
  47. Computer terminal
  48. Computer virus
  49. Computing
  50. Conference call
  51. Context menu
  52. Creative commons
  53. Creative Commons License
  54. Creative Technology
  55. Cursor
  56. Data
  57. Database
  58. Data storage device
  59. Debuggers
  60. Demo
  61. Desktop computer
  62. Digital divide
  63. Discussion groups
  64. DNS server
  65. Domain name
  66. DOS
  67. Download
  68. Download manager
  69. DVD-ROM
  70. DVD-RW
  71. E-mail
  72. E-mail spam
  73. File Transfer Protocol
  74. Firewall
  75. Firmware
  76. Flash memory
  77. Floppy disk drive
  78. GNU
  79. GNU General Public License
  80. GNU Project
  81. Google
  82. Google AdWords
  83. Google bomb
  84. Graphics
  85. Graphics card
  86. Hacker
  87. Hacker culture
  88. Hard disk
  89. High-level programming language
  90. Home computer
  91. HTML
  92. Hyperlink
  93. IBM
  94. Image processing
  95. Image scanner
  96. Instant messaging
  97. Instruction
  98. Intel
  99. Intel Core 2
  100. Interface
  101. Internet
  102. Internet bot
  103. Internet Explorer
  104. Internet protocols
  105. Internet service provider
  106. Interoperability
  107. IP addresses
  108. IPod
  109. Joystick
  110. JPEG
  111. Keyword
  112. Laptop computer
  113. Linux
  114. Linux kernel
  115. Liquid crystal display
  116. List of file formats
  117. List of Google products
  118. Local area network
  119. Logitech
  120. Machine language
  121. Mac OS X
  122. Macromedia Flash
  123. Mainframe computer
  124. Malware
  125. Media center
  126. Media player
  127. Megabyte
  128. Microsoft
  129. Microsoft Windows
  130. Microsoft Word
  131. Mirror site
  132. Modem
  133. Motherboard
  134. Mouse
  135. Mouse pad
  136. Mozilla Firefox
  137. Mp3
  138. MPEG
  139. MPEG-4
  140. Multimedia
  141. Musical Instrument Digital Interface
  142. Netscape
  143. Network card
  144. News ticker
  145. Office suite
  146. Online auction
  147. Online chat
  148. Open Directory Project
  149. Open source
  150. Open source software
  151. Opera
  152. Operating system
  153. Optical character recognition
  154. Optical disc
  155. output
  156. PageRank
  157. Password
  158. Pay-per-click
  159. PC speaker
  160. Peer-to-peer
  161. Pentium
  162. Peripheral
  163. Personal computer
  164. Personal digital assistant
  165. Phishing
  166. Pirated software
  167. Podcasting
  168. Pointing device
  169. POP3
  170. Programming language
  171. QuickTime
  172. Random access memory
  173. Routers
  174. Safari
  175. Scalability
  176. Scrollbar
  177. Scrolling
  178. Scroll wheel
  179. Search engine
  180. Security cracking
  181. Server
  182. Simple Mail Transfer Protocol
  183. Skype
  184. Social software
  185. Software bug
  186. Software cracker
  187. Software library
  188. Software utility
  189. Solaris Operating Environment
  190. Sound Blaster
  191. Soundcard
  192. Spam
  193. Spamdexing
  194. Spam in blogs
  195. Speech recognition
  196. Spoofing attack
  197. Spreadsheet
  198. Spyware
  199. Streaming media
  200. Supercomputer
  201. Tablet computer
  202. Telecommunications
  203. Text messaging
  204. Trackball
  205. Trojan horse
  206. TV card
  207. Unicode
  208. Uniform Resource Identifier
  209. Unix
  210. URL redirection
  211. USB flash drive
  212. USB port
  213. User interface
  214. Vlog
  215. Voice over IP
  216. Warez
  217. Wearable computer
  218. Web application
  219. Web banner
  220. Web browser
  221. Web crawler
  222. Web directories
  223. Web indexing
  224. Webmail
  225. Web page
  226. Website
  227. Wiki
  228. Wikipedia
  229. WIMP
  230. Windows CE
  231. Windows key
  232. Windows Media Player
  233. Windows Vista
  234. Word processor
  235. World Wide Web
  236. Worm
  237. XML
  238. X Window System
  239. Yahoo
  240. Zombie computer

This article is from:

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License: 


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


AOL LLC (formerly America Online, Inc) is an American online service provider, bulletin board system, and media company operated by Time Warner.

AOL is based in the city of Dulles in Loudoun County, Virginia. With regional branches around the world, the former American "goliath among Internet service providers"[1] once had more than 30 million subscribers[1] on several continents.

In January 2000, AOL and Time Warner announced plans to merge. The terms of the deal negotiated called for AOL shareholders to own 55% of the new, combined company, meaning that, in reality, AOL had actually acquired the world's largest media company. The deal closed on January 11, 2001 after receiving regulatory approval from the FTC, the Federal Communications Commission and the European Union. AOL Time Warner, as the company was then called, was led by executives from both AOL and Time Warner. Gerald Levin, who had served as CEO of Time Warner, was CEO of the new company. Steve Case served as Chairman, J. Michael Kelly (from AOL) was the Chief Financial Officer, Robert W. Pittman (from AOL) and Dick Parsons (from Time Warner) served as Co-Chief Operating Officers. The total value of AOL stock subsequently plummeted from about $226 billion to about $20 billion.[2]

AOL is a company in transition, made evident by discussions of buy-outs and joint ventures during a period of dramatic decline in AOL's subscriber base.[1] News reports in fall 2005 identified companies such as Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Google as candidates for turning AOL into a joint venture;[3] those plans were apparently abandoned when it was revealed on December 20, 2005 that Google would purchase a 5% share of AOL for $1 billion.

AOL UK was bought by The Carphone Warehouse in October 2006 to take advantage of their 100,000 LLU's, which makes The Carphone Warehouse the biggest LLU provider in the UK, enabling them to offer broadband at no charge to 90% of their Talk3 customers


Logo used until late 2004.
Logo used until late 2004.


AOL began as a short-lived venture called Control Video Corporation (or CVC), founded by William von Meister. Its sole product was an online service called Gameline for the Atari 2600 video game console after von Meister's idea of buying music on demand was rejected by Warner Brothers. (Klein, 2003) Subscribers bought a modem from the company for $49.95 and paid a one-time $15 setup fee. Gameline permitted subscribers to temporarily download games and keep track of high scores, at a cost of approximately $1 per hour.

In 1983, the company nearly went bankrupt, and an investor in Control Video, Frank Caufield, had a friend of his, Jim Kimsey, brought in as a manufacturing consultant. That same year, Steve Case joined the company as a full-time marketing employee upon the joint recommendations of von Meister and Kimsey. Kimsey went on to become the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the newly renamed Quantum Computer Services in 1985, after von Meister was quietly dropped from the company.

Case himself rose quickly through the ranks; Kimsey promoted him to vice-president of marketing not long after becoming CEO, and later promoted him further to executive vice-president in 1987. Kimsey soon began to groom Case to ascend to the rank of CEO, which he did when Kimsey retired in 1991.

Logo was used in Europe between 2005-2006. Now most European AOL Websites use the same logo as AOL USA and AOL Canada.
Logo was used in Europe between 2005-2006. Now most European AOL Websites use the same logo as AOL USA and AOL Canada.

Kimsey changed the company's strategy, and in 1985 launched a sort of mega-BBS for Commodore 64 and 128 computers, originally called Quantum Link ("Q-Link" for short). The Quantum Link software was licensed from PlayNet, Inc. In May 1988, Quantum and Apple launched AppleLink Personal Edition for Apple II and Macintosh computers. After the two companies parted ways in October 1989, Quantum changed the service's name to America Online.[4][5] In August 1988, Quantum launched PC Link, a service for IBM-compatible PCs developed in a joint venture with the Tandy Corporation.

From the beginning, AOL included online games in its mix of products; many classic and casual games were included in the original PlayNet software system. In the early years of AOL the company introduced many additional innovative online interactive titles and games, including:

  • Graphical chat environments Habitat (1986-1988) and Club Caribe (1988) from LucasArts,
  • The first online interactive fiction series QuantumLink Serial by Tracy Reed (1988),
  • Quantum Space, the first fully automated Play by email game (1989-1991),
  • The original Dungeons & Dragons title Neverwinter Nights from Stormfront Studios (1991-1997), the first Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) to depict the adventure with graphics instead of text (1991) and
  • The first chat room-based text role-playing game Black Bayou (1996-2004), a horror role-playing game from Hecklers Online and ANTAGONIST, Inc.

In February 1991 AOL for DOS was launched using a GeoWorks interface followed a year later by AOL for Windows. In October 1991, Quantum changed its name to America Online. These changes coincided with growth in pay-based BBS services, like Prodigy, CompuServe, and GEnie. AOL discontinued Q-Link and PC Link in the fall of 1994.

Massive growth

Case positioned AOL as the online service for people unfamiliar with computers, in particular contrast to CompuServe, which had long served the technical community. The PlayNet system that AOL licensed was the first online service to require use of proprietary software, rather than a standard terminal program; as a result it was able to offer a graphical user interface (GUI) instead of command lines, and was well ahead of the competition in emphasizing communication among members as a feature.

In particular was the Chat Room concept from PlayNet, as opposed to the previous paradigm of CB-style channels. Chat Rooms allowed a large group of people with similar interests to convene and hold conversations in real time, including:

  • Private rooms — created by any user. Hold up to 27 people.
  • Conference rooms — created with permission of AOL. Hold up to 48 people and often moderated.
  • Auditoriums — created with permission of AOL. Consisted of a stage and an unlimited number of rows. What happened on the stage was viewable by everybody in the auditorium but what happened within individual rows, of up to 27 people, was viewable only by the people within those rows.

There were also text games played in the chat rooms, known as AOL chatroom games.

AOL quickly surpassed GEnie, and by the mid-1990s, it passed Prodigy (which for several years allowed AOL advertising) and CompuServe.

Originally, AOL charged its users an hourly fee, but in 1996 this changed and a flat rate of $19.99 a month was charged. Within three years, AOL's userbase grew to 10 million people. During this time, AOL connections would be flooded with users trying to get on, and many canceled their accounts due to constant busy signals. Also, games which used to be paid for with the hourly fee migrated in droves to the Internet.

AOL was quickly running out of room in 1996 for its network at the Vienna, VA campus and moved to Dulles, VA a short distance away. The move to the Dulles took place in 1997 and provided room for future growth.

AOL was relatively late in providing access to the open Internet. Originally, only some Internet features were accessible through a proprietary interface but eventually it became possible to run other Internet software while logged in through AOL. They were the first online service to seamlessly integrate a web browser into content.[citation needed]

AOL introduced the concept of Buddy Lists, leveraging their one-on-one instant messaging technology.[citation needed]

Change in focus

Since its merger with Time Warner, the value of AOL has dropped from its $200 billion high and it has seen similar losses among its subscription rate. It has since attempted to reposition itself as a content provider similar to companies such as Yahoo! as opposed to an Internet service provider which delivered content only to subscribers in what was termed a "walled garden". In 2005, AOL broadcast the Live 8 concert live over the Internet, and thousands of users downloaded clips of the concert over the following months.

AOL eventually announced plans to offer subscribers classic television programs for free with commercials inserted via its new IN2TV service. At the time of launch, AOL made available Warner Bros. Television's vast library of programs, with Welcome Back Kotter as its marquee offering. Other shows include Scarecrow and Mrs. King, The F.B.I., F Troop, and Growing Pains.

In 2006, AOL informed its American customers that it would be increasing the price of its dial-up access to $25.90. The increase was part of an effort to migrate the service's remaining dial-up users to broadband, as the increased price was the same price they had been charging for monthly DSL access.[6] However, AOL has started offering their services for $9.95 a month for unlimited dial-up access.[7]

On April 3, 2006, AOL announced that the full name "America Online" will be retired, and that the official name of the service is now "AOL".[8]

On August 2, 2006, AOL announced that they will give away e-mail accounts and software previously available only to its paying customers in a strategy shift likely to accelerate the decline in its core Internet access business. The decision removes the few remaining reasons for many AOL subscribers to keep paying when they already have high-speed Internet access through a cable or phone company. AOL hopes that by making services free, it can draw Internet users to its ad-supported Web sites and keep them from defecting to Microsoft and Yahoo!, which have offered free e-mail for years.

CD-ROM distribution

See also: AOL disk collecting

AOL was able to rapidly bolster its growth by mailing out sign-up diskettes and CD-ROMs containing free trials to hundreds of millions of households. Once offering only a few hours of free service, the discs now include up to a month's worth of free subscription time.

This long and relentless campaign has produced a backlash, however. One program, called No More AOL CDs, seeks to gather one million unwanted AOL CDs and dump them at AOL headquarters. Other organizations have objected upon both environmental and privacy grounds; for example, many environmentalists say that AOL's CDs are largely unwanted and result in massive non-biodegradable plastic waste.

Others view AOL disks as valuable collectible items due to the vast number of CD-ROM design variations.


AOL has been involved in many controversies.

Community Leaders

Prior to mid 2005, AOL used volunteers called Community Leaders, or CLs, to monitor chatrooms, message boards, and libraries. Some community leaders were recruited for content design and maintenance using a proprietary language and interface called RAINMAN, although most content maintenance was performed by partner and internal employees.

In 1999, Kelly Hallissey and Brian Williams, former Community Leaders and founders of an anti-AOL website, filed a class action lawsuit against AOL citing violations of U.S. labor laws in its usage of CLs. The Department of Labor investigated but came to no conclusions, closing their investigation in 2001. In light of these events, AOL began drastically reducing the responsibilities and privileges of its volunteers in 2000. The program was eventually ended on June 8, 2005. Current Community Leaders at the time were offered 12 months of credit on their accounts.

Billing disputes

AOL has faced a number of lawsuits over claims that it has been slow to stop billing people after their accounts have been cancelled, either by the company or the user. In addition, AOL changed its method of calculating used minutes in response to a class action lawsuit. Previously, AOL would add fifteen seconds to the time a user was connected to the service and round up to the next whole minute (thus, a person who used the service for 11 minutes and 46 seconds would be charged for 13 minutes). AOL claimed this was to account for sign on/sign off time, but because this practice was not made known to its customers, the plaintiffs won (some also pointed out that signing on and off did not always take 15 seconds, especially when connecting via another ISP). AOL disclosed its connection time calculation methods to all of its customers and credited them with extra free hours. In addition, the AOL software would notify the user of exactly how long they were connected and how many minutes they were being charged.[citation needed]

Account cancellation

In response to approximately 300 consumer complaints, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s office began an inquiry of AOL’s customer service policies. The investigation revealed that the company had an elaborate system for rewarding employees who purported to retain or "save" subscribers who had called to cancel their Internet service. In many instances, such retention was done against subscribers’ wishes, or without their consent.

Under the system, consumer service personnel received bonuses worth tens of thousands of dollars if they could successfully dissuade or "save" half of the people who called to cancel service. For several years, AOL had instituted minimum retention or "save" percentages, which consumer representatives were expected to meet. These bonuses, and the minimum "save" rates accompanying them, had the effect of employees not honoring cancellations, or otherwise making cancellation unduly difficult for consumers.

Many consumers complained that AOL personnel ignored their demands to cancel service and stop billing.

On August 24, 2005, America Online agreed to pay $1.25 million to the state of New York and reformed its customer service procedures. Under the agreement, AOL will no longer require its customer service representatives to meet a minimum quota for customer retention in order to receive a bonus. However, many AOL users outside New York still claim to have problems cancelling their accounts.

On June 13, 2006, a man named Vincent Ferrari documented his account cancellation phone call in a blog post, stating he had switched to broadband years earlier. In the recorded phone call, the AOL representative refused to cancel the account unless the 30-year-old Ferrari explained why AOL hours were still being recorded on it. Ferrari insisted that AOL software was not even installed on the computer. When Ferrari demanded that the account be canceled regardless, the AOL representative asked to speak with Ferrari's father, for whom the account had been set up. The conversation was aired on CNBC. When CNBC reporters tried to have an account on AOL cancelled, they were hung up on immediately and it ultimately took more than 45 minutes to cancel the account. AOL eventually fired the representative who had spoken to Ferrari and issued an apology.[9]

On July 19, 2006, AOL's entire retention manual was released on the Internet. [1] (7MB PDF)

On August 3, 2006, Time Warner announced that the company would be dissolving AOL's retention centers due to its profits hinging on $1 billion in cost cuts. The company estimates that it will lose more than six million subscribers over the next year. [2]


In 2000, AOL was served with an $8 billion lawsuit alleging that its (now dated) AOL 5.0 software caused significant difficulties for users attempting to use third-party Internet service providers. The lawsuit sought damages of up to $1000 for each user that had downloaded the software cited at the time of the lawsuit. AOL later agreed to a settlement of $15 million, without admission of wrongdoing. Now, the AOL software has a feature called AOL Dialer, or AOL Connect on Mac OS X. This feature allows users to connect to the ISP without running the full interface. This allows users to use only the applications they wish to use, especially if they do not favor the AOL Browser.

Usenet newsgroups

When AOL gave clients access to Usenet in 1994, they hid at least one newsgroup in standard list view: AOL did list the newsgroup in the alternative description view, but changed the description to "Flames and complaints about America Online". With AOL clients swarming Usenet newsgroups, the old, existing user base started to develop a strong distaste for both AOL and its clients. The AOL clients got renowned for their one- or two-worded replies, such as "me too", contributing absolutely nothing to the overall discussions. Thus, whenever someone today writes "AOL" in a post, they usually mean "I agree" or some intentionally stupid comment with reference to the early days of AOL clients' access to Usenet. This is frequently written in pseudo-html as "<AOL>intentionally stupid comment</AOL>"

Terms of Service (TOS)

There have been many complaints over rules that govern AOL's members conduct, called the Terms of Service, which apply to everyone who uses AOL, regardless of age, or where an AOL member is on the Internet. Claims are that these rules are too strict to follow and do not allow swearing. TOS is known as COS (conditions of service) in the UK.

Certified e-mail

In early 2005, AOL stated its intention to implement certified e-mail, which will allow companies to send email to users with whom they have pre-existing business relationships, with a visual indication that the email is from a trusted source and without the risk that the email messages might be blocked or stripped by spam filters. This decision has drawn fire from MoveOn, which characterizes the program as an "e-mail tax". Esther Dyson defended the move in a New York Times editorial saying "I hope Goodmail succeeds, and that it has lots of competition. I also think it and its competitors will eventually transform into services that more directly serve the interests of mail recipients. Instead of the fees going to Goodmail and EON, they will also be shared with the individual recipients."[10]

Censorship in mainland China

AOL, along with Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Cisco, Skype, and others, has cooperated with the Chinese government in implementing a system of Internet censorship in mainland China.

Many critics of these corporate policies argue that it is wrong for companies to profit from censorship and restrictions on freedom of the press and freedom of speech.

Human rights advocates such as Human Rights Watch and media groups such as Reporters Without Borders point out that if companies would stop contributing to the authorities' censorship efforts the government could be forced to change.

Search data release

Main article: AOL search data scandal

On August 4, 2006, AOL released a compressed text file on one of its websites containing twenty million search keywords for over 650,000 users over a 3-month period, intended for research purposes. AOL pulled the file from public access by August 7, but not before its wide distribution on the Internet by others.

PC World ranking

Some of the controversies led PC World to brand the AOL client software as the worst technology product of all time in an article in 2006 [3].

Company purchases

As it grew, AOL purchased many other software companies, including:

  • Redgate Communications, in August, 1994, through which Ted Leonsis joined AOL.
  • BookLink bought on December 29, 1994.
  • NaviSoft's NaviServer (later to become AOLserver) on November 30, 1994.
  • Medior in May, 1995, through which Barry Schuler joined the company.
  • Ubique maker of Virtual Places on September 22, 1995.
  • Johnson-Grace, developers of data compression technology, on February 1, 1996
  • iAmaze
  • ImagiNation Network (I.N.N.) from AT&T on August 6, 1996.
  • CompuServe on February 22, 1998.
  • Mirabilis (maker of ICQ) on June 8, 1998.
  • PLS text-search software on November 11, 1998.
  • Nullsoft (maker of Winamp), in 1999 for $86 million
  • Netscape, on March 17, 1999 for $4.2 billion.
  • Moviefone on May 21, 1999 as part of a $525 million stock deal.
  • Tegic on December 1, 1999.
  • Mapquest on July 3, 2000.
  •, a voice-based infrastructure and services company, on August 31, 2000 for $200 million.
  • eVoice, a telecom services company, in 2001.
  • InfoInterActive, a telecom software company, on July 19, 2001.
  • DeadAIM in 2003.
  • Singingfish audio and video search engine, November 2003.
  •, an Internet advertising agency, on August 2, 2004.
  • MailBlocks, a personal, Web-based email service, on August 4, 2004.
  • Xdrive, a leading provider of online storage and file sharing services, on August 4, 2005.
  • Wildseed, a privately held mobile software vendor, on August 8, 2005.
  • Weblogs, Inc., a blogging network that runs such sites as Engadget, Autoblog, Cinematical and TVSquad, on October 6, 2005, for $30 million.
  • MusicNow, an online music service, from Circuit City, on November 3, 2005.
  • Truveo, Inc., a video search company, on December 21, 2005, for $50 million.
  • Lightningcast, Inc a provider of technology that enables broadband audio and video marketing, branding and advertising, in May 2006.
  • Userplane, a social networking software provider, in August 2006.[11]
  • GameDaily, a gaming web site, in August 2006.[12]
  • Relegence, a financial news and information search company, in November 2006.[13]

Company sales

AOL (Time Warner) has sold a number of its sub-companies in Europe.

AOL Europe has six million users, but its subscription base had been steadily declining. In 2005, 287,000 European AOL online users migrated to other service providers.[14]

AOL Germany

In September 2006, AOL Germany (AOL Deutschland) was sold for $863m (€675m) to Telecom Italia.[15]


In October 2006, AOL UK was sold for $688m (£370m) to Carphone Warehouse.[16]

For further details see AOL UK.

AOL France

In October 2006, AOL France was sold for $366m (€288m) to neuf Cegetel.[17]

Notable persons associated with AOL

  • Randy Falco (CEO and board chairman)
  • Jonathon Miller (former CEO and board chairman)
  • Jim Kimsey (former CEO and board chairman)
  • Steve Case (former CEO and board chairman)
  • Jan Brandt (former President of Marketing)
  • Jim Barksdale (former director)
  • Colin Powell (former director)
  • Alexander Haig (former director)
  • John Barnes (former head researcher)
  • Justin Frankel (Nullsoft founder)
  • Ted Leonsis (Vice-Chairman, President AOL Audience Group)
  • Randall Boe (Executive Vice President and General Counsel)
  • Michael Powell (during merging with Time Warner)
  • Marc Andreessen (Netscape co-founder)
  • Jason Smathers (former AOL employee convicted of stealing the Internet provider's entire subscriber list -- over 30 million consumers, and their 92 million screen names -- and selling it to a known spammer.)
  • Jason Calacanis (former CEO of Weblogs, Inc. and former GM of Netscape)
  • Maureen Govern (former CTO)
  • Barry Schuler (internet pioneer and former CEO)
  • Mary Cheney (daughter of Vice-President Dick Cheney and outspoken lesbian)


AOL includes McAfee VirusScan and McAfee Firewall Express for its subscribers. Upon introduction, McAfee VirusScan was 8.0 and Firewall Express was 5.0. Initially, it was only available to subscribers using AOL 8.0 and 9.0 software; but has since become available to anyone using versions as old as 6.0.

AOL Keywords

Keywords are words or phrases that act as shortcuts to AOL areas and Web sites. For example, to view football news and results, you go to AOL Keyword: Football.

Many companies used to pay AOL to have their content featured as an AOL Keyword. One used to see AOL Keywords listed on products or in advertisements in much the same way that Web URLs are used today.

Some AOL keywords at AOL USA, AOL Germany, AOL Canada or AOL UK only work in these countries and cannot be used by AOL customers in other countries (and vice versa). Every other country (where AOL is available) has its own AOL keyword(s).

Free services

On Wednesday August 2, 2006 AOL announced: "We’re in the process of offering all of our content and many of our services for free -- with or without an AOL Internet connection."[18]

Among the announced plans are free email services similar to many 'free' email providers. Chatrooms are included with the free service, however until an unspecified date in Sept. there is no way to verify the age of an account created under the free plan using no credit card. Thus people making new accounts currently experience problems where as those who have simply converted their pay accounts over to the free plan can chat without worry.

Identified as "badware under investigation" by Stopbadware
Identified as "badware under investigation" by Stopbadware

The current version of AOL's software as of August 2006, AOL 9.0, has been identified by Stopbadware as being "under investigation" [4], for installing additional software without disclosure, failing to uninstall completely, and modifying browser preferences, toolbars, and icons.

On October 4, 2006, AOL released its new, free internet suite, AOL OpenRide, which combines a web browser, instant messenger, email client and media player in one program window.

AOL now is giving out personal email addresses. such as [more info and clean up neeed.]


Xdrive is a service offered by AOL which allows users to backup their files over the Internet. The service provides a free 5 GB account (free online storage) to anyone who has, or is willing to sign up for a free AOL screenname.

Xdrive also offers remote backup services or higher levels of storage for monthly fees.

Unfortunately the preponderance of up-to-date user reviews as of this writing (Dec-06) have been full of complaints of software that looks good but does not function well (quirky, problematic), service that is frequently down for long periods, and non-existent support; all of what you might expect for a free service from a big company that is trying to catch up with leaders by giving away what it once charged for.

One problematic issue with many but not all "SHARE" services, free or not and this one included, is the necessity to act like unanticipated viral marketing node: anyone you wish to use the protected "share" feature with must sign up as well, even to effect a simple link download. This fact is almost unacceptable -- all that should be required is a password -- compounded by it not being disclosed clearly, and the following:

A specific problem to this service is the measure taken to prevent the use of the service as a website: there is no common folder designation URL possible -- all folders have a very long random serial number assigned that would be impossible to remember and difficult to even transcribe manually, making site management impossible.

Mitigating the first problem is the use of a public directory to which anyone will have access. And there are an increasing number of free / paid sites. Some work without the noted restrictions (e.g.

Movie studios partnership

On Friday, August 25, 2006, AOL announced that it had signed a deal with several major movie studios to open an online video store allowing users to "download to own" full length movies and television shows. The deal was signed with News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox, Sony Corp.'s Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, NBC Universal's Universal Pictures, and Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group[19]

See also

  • All caps
  • AOHell
  • AOL Explorer
  • Sessions@AOL
  • Eternal September
  • AOL Radio
  • AOL UK - in October 2006, The Carphone Warehouse acquired AOL UK for £370 million.[20]


  1. ^ a b c Holahan, Catherine. "Will Less Be More for AOL?", BusinessWeek, 2006-07-31. Retrieved on 2006-08-01.
  2. ^ Li, Kenneth. "AOL expected to scrap charges", Yahoo!, 2006-07-26. Retrieved on 2006-08-09.
  3. ^ Yang, Catherine. "Has AOL Met Its Match?", BusinessWeek, 2005-11-11. Retrieved on 2006-08-01.
  4. ^ History of Computing Industrial Era (1985-1990). The History of Computing Project (2006-03-20). Retrieved on 2005-09-24.
  5. ^ Apple II history chapter 22 (2002-12-31). Retrieved on 2005-09-24.
  6. ^ Mills, Elinor. AOL hanging up on dial-up customers?. CNET. Retrieved on August 3, 2006.
  7. ^ AOL price plans. Retrieved on October 29, 2006.
  8. ^ "America Online Changes Its Name to AOL", 2006-04-03. Retrieved on 2006-07-24.
  9. ^ Wells, Jane. "How hard can it be to cancel an AOL account?", CNBC, 2006-06-21. Retrieved on 2006-07-24.
  10. ^ Dyson, Esther. "You've Got Goodmail", New York Times, 2006-03-17. Retrieved on 2006-07-24.
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "AOL Germany for sale?", The Register, 2006-04-15. Retrieved on 2006-11-08.
  15. ^ "Telecom Italia buys AOL Germany", 18 September 2006. Retrieved on 2006-11-11.
  16. ^ "Carphone Warehouse to acquire Time Warner's AOL Internet access business in the UK for £370 million", Carphone Warehouse Press Release, 2006-10-11. Retrieved on 2006-10-27.
  17. ^ "Authorities clear neuf purchase of AOL France", 2006-10-27. Retrieved on 2006-11-08.
  18. ^ "AOL Uses Refurbished Software to Woo Customers", The Money Times, 4 October 2006. Retrieved on 2006-11-11.
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Carphone Warehouse buying AOL UK", BBC News, 2006-10-11. Retrieved on 2006-10-11.


  • Klein, Alec (2003). Stealing Time: Steve Case, Jerry Levin, and the Collapse of AOL Time Warner. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-5984-X.
  • Mehta, Stephanie N. & Vogelstein, Fred (Nov. 14, 2005). "AOL: The Relaunch". Fortune, p. 84 – 88.

External links

  • AOL corporate site
  • AOL UK Portal
  • AOL's Worldwide Services
  • Xdrive official site

AOL-Owned Sites and Services

  • AOL Autos - Used Cars, New Cars, and Kelly Blue Book Values
  • AOL Jobs - Job Search and Career Advice
  • AOL Personals - Personals, Love, and Advice
  • AOL Real Estate - Real Estate Listings and Advice
  • AOL Shopping - Shopping & Price Comparison
  • AOL Travel - Airline Tickets, Flights, and Airfare
  • AOL UK TV Guide
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