AOL shutting down Xdrive, Bluestring and more…

In AOL’s quest to profit solely from advertising placed on websites, in email and in IM clients, they are slowly but surely dumping almost every subscription-based business they own. The most recent victims are Xdrive, Bluestring, AOL Pictures, AIM World (I can’t find anything on it except this MySpace page so I think AOL might mean they’re shutting down AIM soon) and MyMobile.

MyAOL is also rumored to be “sunsetting” soon and rumors have AOL selling the dial-up subscription business by August, which is only another week from now. We’ll see. In the meantime…

AOL does not offer much of a Plan B to anyone using services that are about to get closed down. The most AOL’s spokespeople will say about the fate of those services is this:

AOL will try to sell Xdrive, AOL Pictures and Bluestring so that existing users of those services will be able to transition to a new provider, but if no buyer is found, the products will be shut down by the end of the year…

If the services are closed, AOL plans to either burn end users’ content into CDs and DVDs and send it to them or walk them through how to save the photos, videos and other media to local hard drives…

Which translates to:

“If we don’t sell these services real soon you had better pray we burn your data to cheap discs and get’m in the mail within 6-8 weeks…and that we get your street address right, while we’re at it.”

Puh-lease. Here’s my advice.

DON’T WAIT for AOL to get off their tushes to do something (stupid) for you. Get your data off of Xdrive, AOL Pictures and Bluestring now.

It will cost AOL a small fortune to burn your data to CDs and DVDs, not to mention I’m unsure if they can do so legally since it requires their employees to enter your account to burn your data and puts your private files on physical media that can be played back by anybody at AOL before it ever gets sent by snail mail to you (yes, I can feel another big AOL data leak coming on – watch out!).

In the meantime, do you have an Xdrive account? If you do sign up for a free or low-cost service like Adrive and transfer your data from AOL to them now. Adrive offers a pretty sweet deal: 50GBs free storage space with all the bells and whistles Xdrive has and more.

Do you use AOL Pictures and/or Bluestring? If you do get a free – or low-cost if you prefer – Photobucket account now. Photobucket handles videos, slideshows, regular pictures, gives you all the embed codes you need, allows you to sort media into albums and galleries and to edit, crop, and tag everything.

Remember that this is me suggesting you move your data and media to these services and that traditionally I am hard to please (and getting harder to please by the day). The fact that I hate almost everything should be enough to convince you that Adrive and Photobucket are good choices.

In other news, a while ago AOL spent almost $850 million to buy Bebo, a social networking site much like MySpace. Yet AOL’s CEO Jeff Bewkes says he wasted AOL’s money on Bebo. He doesn’t really care, he’s “just sayin'”, but most senior AOL managers cared plenty.

That’s just one reason why you the customer will soon go without your Xdrive, Bluestring, and AOL Picture accounts…because AOL has got to pay for Bebo somehow, and the services you actually pay AOL to use aren’t making enough money to cover Bebo’s cost.

It’s a sad day for AOL customers who had faith AOL would do the right thing by them…sorry, but Time Warner is looking to dump AOL to the highest bidder as fast as they can, so free yourself from AOL’s clutches now. It’s not a matter of “if” but “when” – don’t say I didn’t warn you.

6 thoughts on “AOL shutting down Xdrive, Bluestring and more…

  1. I’ve never heard of Bluestring or AOL Pictures. I used to use Xdrive years ago, when Xdrive was actually owned by its creators. I think it’s passed more than one pair of hands. I liked it because it came with a software that I could use to transfer my files. When it passed hands, the site went premium and I was told to save my shit by such and such date. I haven’t really cared for online file storage since. I might use Rapidshare or Megaupload, if I want to pass a large file to my friends, but that’s about it. I wouldn’t even trust ADrive. File storage costs money. 50gb per person, for free? Unless the premium accounts cover their costs, they’re shut down eventually too.
    I can’t see AIM and AOL dialup disappearing. Hoards of internet retarded people will have a freakout if that happens. There’s so many better alternatives, but people seem to like their shitty software.

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  2. Also, what are the statistics on Bebo? I read somewhere they they’re a very popular social network for the younger folk. I have an account but I really don’t care for it.

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  3. Stats: http://www.enn.ie/article/9968050.html
    “Bebo is the sixth most trafficked page in New Zealand, and the twelfth in the UK. According to Alexa, just over one quarter of all Bebo visitors who used Alexa’s Toolbar are Irish, while slightly more than one third are British.”
    A bit off the record: Bebo is unpopular in the US since we already have MySpace and Facebook. Also, many UK folks disdain Bebo because it attracts “chavs” – low-class, loud, obnoxious people.

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  4. I’ve used Adrive without problems. It’s a little slow at times – but so is Xdrive, and Adrive isn’t half as awkward to use overall. As to “not trusting” file storage sites in general, which I think is what you’re getting at, I agree. I’m pretty cautious about what I store online. I always thought people were crazy to use AOL’s Xdrive since it was run by AOL, after all – Kings of the Massive Data leak and other untrustworthy phenomenons. They are the slipperiest company on Earth when it comes to keeping their word, even over simple things like canceling your account, so why anyone would trust them with their treasured private data is beyond me.

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  5. As to “AOL and AIM disappearing”, AOL will be sold very soon – this is without a doubt. If AOL could get anyone to buy the dial-up business it would be gone already – they are, from what I understand, desperate to unload that sucker to the highest bidder. Dial-up subs have declined to ~8 mil in recent months from an all-time high of 21-25 million, depending on whose figures you believe and the less subs AOL has, the more it costs them to upkeep servers, modems, email, and related websites. So dial-up is just one big money pit that TWX wants to start doing without.
    And there is no such thing as “AIM World”. AOL’s spokespeople aren’t so stupid as to get out there and call one of their own products by the wrong name or a non-existent name. That tells me they’re deliberately obscuring the truth by calling AIM something else in the press releases. That won’t soften the blow when AIM’s final moment comes, but it will allow AOL’s reps to say: “Well actually, we announced AIM was being discontinued a month ago, but our silly spokesperson called it by the wrong name.” Yeah. Duh, why didn’t I think of that? Oh, wait…

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  6. Pingback: AOL closing down Xdrive, Bluestring and AOL Pictures by Dec. 31st. « Anti-AOL -An InTooLate Production

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