“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

Video/radio/Winamp

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Bluestring – this one makes no sense since AOL is scrapping both sites – which makes me wonder if this entire list is out-of-date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

Mobile

  • 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

Email

  • 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

Voice

  • 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.