“AOL Hit List” Examined

Last updated 12-06-08 concerning which AOL message boards are being shut down.

11-22-08 Just discovered that Joe Manna had the same idea I did and expanded the hit list using information gleaned from years on the inside. Check it out…helps my post make more sense in many respects.

Silicon Alley Insider recently posted an ““AOL Hit List”, saying: “We’ve got an internal list of 50+ projects AOL has shuttered or plans to shutter.” I thought I’d try to break it down more specifically.

The List


Messaging/social platforms/homepages/toolbars/personal media/community

  • Transition US Chinese Portal – AOL made a portal for Chinese speaking Americans in 2006 – it’s still in Beta – over two years later
  • AIM Today – lets you view IMs you’ve sent and received – still open as of this writing
  • ADP-based AOL.com Apps – could be this ancient deal between AOL and ADP, struck in 2000, to let small businesses process payroll on AOL software clients
  • Transition AOL Pictures to Bluestring – this one makes no sense since AOL is scrapping both sites – which makes me wonder if this entire list is out-of-date
  • AOL Hometown – the site is not loading tonight [or the day after] even though it’s not supposed to close down until October 31st
  • ICQ Universe – works like AIM Today – still open as of this writing – and ICQ Labs – works like the AOL Beta site – also still open as of this writing
  • ICQ2Go Java version – the online ICQ web app – still available as of this writing
  • ICQ Pro, ICQ Lite, ICQ 4, ICQ 5, ICQ 5.1 – these are all old versions of ICQ. Current version is version 6
  • Older AIM clients – current version is 6.8
  • Old ICQ Welcome Screen – I guess this one is self-explanatory
  • Journals – same as Hometown – all will be shuttered by Oct. 31st
  • FDO Chat – see “Message Boards” below – this could be the technology embedded into the older IM client included with AOL desktop client software – could also be the old FDO-based online chat rooms – see comment below
  • 10″ Vista Applications – hmmm – could be for the Asus Eee – but that seems to run XP – you have to hack it to run Vista
  • UNPT-based welcome screens – can’t find anything about it online
  • Big Bowl-based AIM dashboard – Big Bowl is the content management system that replaced RAINMAN. It too is considered inadequate by AOL and is being phased out.
  • AOL message boards – Update, 12-6-08:: Some message boards already shut down; any “low-use” or “inactive” board to be scrapped. All message boards “moving to new platforms” by “end of year”. More here. I figured AOL meant discontinued FDO-based message boards which were used only with the AOL client software – FDO boards were phased out and users switched over to the HTML boards about a year ago – but apparently I was wrong.
  • X-Drive Desktop is still available for download as of this writing

Client-side software & safety

  • OpenRide – this desktop client, with the ill-fated “Dynasizer”, was discontinued by 2007; replaced with the still-current AOL Desktop client
  • AOL 8.0 and AOL 8.0+ support* – this desktop client was discontinued by Sept., 2003
  • AOL 9.0 – Bunker Hill support* – this desktop client was discontinued by May, 2004
  • AOL 9.0 Optimized – Thailand support* [“Thailand” is a reference to the version, not the country it was released in] – this desktop client was discontinued by July, 2005
  • Active virus shield (Kaspersky) – discontinued anti-virus software released by AOL for use as a standalone product
  • Free anti-virus (legacy McAfee) – AOL still offers some of this with Virus Scan, but no longer bundles McAfee anti-virus with client software
  • Safe search & surf – could be this Safe Search
  • Computer check-up – scans for and fixes PC problems – still available as of this writing


  • Legacy WAP portal – the old version of the mobile portal
  • WAP 1.0 portal – a discontinued mobile portal – very few web reference besides Desktop Blog’s


  • Old Webmail product and infrastructure (Atlas) – replaced with shiny new stuff
  • AOL Communicator client – a special standalone AOL email/web client – looks like it’s still available (no longer offered by AOL, but available for free on ePreserver’s site)
  • Old mobile mail product and infrastructure (PigeonMail) – this looks like it was discontinued by 2007, but I can’t find reliable web references for it
  • Old calendar product and infrastructure (Tardis) – can’t find any web references to it
  • Old sync infrastructure – no idea – could refer to AIM Sync, or to mobile sync


  • Aim phoneline – make calls with a phone number used with the AIM chat client gone – replaced by AIM Call Out

*Apps still run

Just a little research and my best guesses went into this (on a few items I might as well have thrown a dart blindfolded since all 2 or 3 choices were equally plausible). Do you know more than I do? Let me know in the comments.

5 thoughts on ““AOL Hit List” Examined

  1. FDO Chat
    Whilst there is still some FDO code in the inbuilt IM client, the actual workings have been AIM compatible for some years now, so no reason why the internal client IM/AIM should stop working, and since the classic client isn’t yet scheduled to be discontinued would be a somewhat illogical (I know, AOL and logic don’t mix) move.
    More likely ‘FDO Chat’ refers to the old school chatrooms that AOL so depended on in the 90’s. It’s demise has long been mooted, and now that ‘AIM Chat’ appears to be almost 100% bot ridden, I guess it’s good to come out of beta. Thus classic FDO based AOL chat is likely to slip away sometime soon.
    As for 10″ Vista applications, well I’d be intruiged as to the master plan there too.


  2. Re: FDO Chat
    Yes, I should have been more clear: I’m pretty sure I meant to say the FDO technology for the built-in AIM client could be on the chopping block (or phased out with the last version of built-in IM that had it) but somehow I totally mangled that – since I never meant to suggest that AOL was discontinuing AIM. Thanks for the heads-up.


  3. Hometown gone, but members can’t get their files back
    That particular move–closing Hometown without giving its users a back door to retrieve files for, say, 90 days–was really an amateurish move, and members who lost files went berzerk. As well they should. In the old days of AOL, this sort of stuff didn’t happen–if you were sunsetting something, you had its replacement up and running quietly in test mode (while files between Hometown and PeopleWhatever were synched regularly). Gee, good thing I keep copies of my knitted projects elsewhere and don’t depend on AOL to protect my files, dontcha think?
    A lot of these shutdowns are long overdue–I went to the launch party for AOL 8.0 in 2002, for pity’s sake–and it’s nice to see that the company has become less shy about sunsetting old clients. (Managerial reluctance to sunset clients had to do with–you guessed it–money, namely the $19.95 fee being paid by people with older computers. Sheesh.)


  4. Re: Hometown gone, but members can’t get their files back
    Wait, Kim…here was a back door AOL left open that Joe Manna and I found thanks to Joe O’Brien, a former Hometown user.
    AOL wasn’t going to tell a soul, then JB stumbled upon it and the rest was history – but AOL only left the back door open for about 45 days.
    The sad part was when the back door was closed AOL users were still scrambling around to get their files…some still didn’t know even by that late date that Hometown had closed.


  5. Pingback: Some AOL message boards shutting down – remaining ones moving to “new platforms”. « Anti-AOL -An InTooLate Production

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