Some AOL message boards shutting down – remaining ones moving to “new platforms”.

4-2-09: Many more AOL message boards closed on March 31st and April 1st, 2009- read about it here.

This is what I get for not checking my backlinks more often: a post that is one month and six days old.

Unbeknownst to me, this blog was mentioned on an AOL message board on Nov. 1st in relation to whether or not AOL is shutting down its message boards. AOL has since deleted the very board that their discussion took place on (oh, the irony), so this is the cache.

AOL user PGroot wrote in response to a message board titled, “Re: AOL closing message boards?”: “Read the response to Alley Insider: “AOL Hit List” Examined“.

AOL user SGW7011, aka “Sharon” replied:

“Well, that’s nice, but she’s only explaining what each is, known statuses on some, that have already had a resolution and guesses on others.

Regarding message boards, it’s just a guess. While probably reasonably accurate, it’s no offical word.

As I mentioned on another board, I emailed someone within aol, that sent my inquiry to someone else, and got this answer from someone somewhat knowledgable with the aol message boards. I’d like to think the response is honest enough, that it’s at least the plan at the moment. We know that aol decisions are not set in stone, they change on a whim.

But this is what I was told:

Hi Sharon — Thanks for your email concerning the Message Boards. AOL is not planning an overall sunset of its Message Boards, but we are taking a critical look at the use and value of the boards. Hundreds of active Message Boards will be migrated to new platforms by the end of the year along with their current content, while boards that experience little or no use will be shut down.

“New platforms” for “active” message boards? “Boards…will be shut down”? AOL is obviously being cryptic – but apparently the AOL message boards, no matter how active they are, will NOT exist in their current form much longer, since we are fast approaching “the end of the year” (just 27 more days until 2009). This is not good news for AOL message board users.

If the person who replied to Sharon – or anyone else in the know at AOL – wants to fill me in I’d be more than glad to post more concise information to clear up any confusion and/or panic, since just the fact that I’m printing this will probably set off a firestorm among AOL message board users.

23 thoughts on “Some AOL message boards shutting down – remaining ones moving to “new platforms”.

  1. AOL Boards
    The AOL boards product (as people see it now), is in a development freeze. The product has been frozen since the last time I wrote about the FDO board product sunsetting.
    While I’m not in a position to comment on specifics, I can share that AOL has a lot of unmaintained, barren, wasteful, boards that are not being inhabited by users. It is good community management for AOL to close for some “old/unused” boards, rather leave them completely abandoned.
    However, I don’t think that’s the case since a group of avid users were affected by a number of boards that were restricted unexpectedly.
    Considering AOL has been promoting Bebo exclusively for Ficlets and circaVie users, I would bet that AOL is moving boards over to Bebo. Remember, AOL Community is known as “People Networks” within the Bebo organization? Read more from Kara Swisher – http://kara.allthingsd.com/20080519/long-live-aols-people-networks-or-better-red-than-dead/
    I would like to suggest to users to migrate their community “experiences” away from AOL, but I know they won’t. If people don’t make a concerted effort to ditch the AOL service, they will only get disappointed when AOL changes whatever they change.
    People’s constant dissatisfaction with AOL will subside in favor of enjoying using the Internet once they make a clean break.
    Just some thoughts.
    –Joe

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  2. Re: AOL Boards
    Hey Joe,
    “While I’m not in a position to comment on specifics, I can share that AOL has a lot of unmaintained, barren, wasteful, boards that are not being inhabited by users.”
    Yeah, I noticed that, too. Just for giggles I visited every AOL board listed on PeopleConnection today before I left for work and one is gone – the Marvel Comics Board. There are also tips via “Steve” on your blog about “some” of the Travel Boards having already been shut down.
    The board quoted in my OP was not shut down but appears it is in some sort of “transition” judging by it’s woeful appearance (which many other AOL boards share of late – much of the CSS styling and all of the graphics are gone) – in fact, AOL simply deleted that particular thread – no doubt to quelch rumors. Too late for that since Google held the cache, probably over continued high click-through. I just wish I’d found it sooner.
    As for AOL migrating message boards to Bebo, I can’t say. Scoured the Web this afternoon and again tonight and can’t find a word about it anywhere. Lately I live on Twitter Search and all the content aggragators out there just trying to pick up tips, rumors, someone speaking on the record/off-the-record – anything.
    If you’ll just give me the Cliff notes on whatever Kara said…I can’t read her blog on AllThingsD; something about her long-winded, overly-cheerful writing style makes my eyes glaze over.

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  3. Re: AOL Boards
    The former head of the community vertical was Marcien Jenckes, later David Liu took over; only to flush staff down the gutter. After Randy Falco foolishly went through with the Bebo deal, Joanna Shields now heads community at AOL.
    From AllThingsD:

    – “As part of the process, it has also created a new business unit, called the People Networks, which will be headed by Bebo President Joanna Shields.
    Her new title is EVP at AOL and President of People Networks and Shields will be reporting to AOL President Ron Grant.”
    – “AOL did squat, as others simply usurped the core consumer concepts it commercialized first.”
    – “But I have to hope that Shields and AOL have some bigger plan in mind than simple combination and cross-marketing that is talked about in their press release.”

    The social media world laughed when AOL bought Bebo. As usual, late for class with the bell ringing. The only winners of the deal are Bebo’s private investors.
    Now, it’s time for AOL to cash the check they wrote and will be systematically shutting down current community applications in favor of their new purchase. The sad thing is, AOL US will suffer and the investors had no voice or proxy vote in the matter. Fuck, I wanted that $850M paid in a dividend. 😉
    ~Joe

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  4. Re: AOL Boards
    Buying Bebo still makes no sense to me. So AOL paid three quarters of one billion dollars for an overseas investment that no one in the US will ever use because it’s completely redundant – we already have MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and a billion other websites/services where we can socially connect, chat, and do whatever. The market is over-saturated for that on this side of the pond. On top of that Bebo has a bad rep in the UK and other European countries for being a chav magnet. What the hell? Then Jeff Bewkes laughs it off – literally laughs it off in a an interview conducted a few months later – and says, “Yeah, we probably did pay too much for Bebo, ha ha, whatevs.” Fucking moron.
    In the meantime AOL’s $850 million dollar investment in this overseas flea circus supposedly compels them to make “cost cuts” that by your own admission are unneeded because the sites and services they are getting rid of are overwhelmingly dirt cheap to maintain. Then AOL cheerleaders scratch their heads (and much worse – I hate tangling with them) when I insist that AOL is mismanaged. They even tell me it’s time is already done and to stop beating their dead horse. So I beat their dead horse that much harder because I can’t get it through their thick heads that AOL wouldn’t be on it’s last fucking legs if they had simply made more sensible choices all along – like not buying Bebo – and like keeping AOL Journals, Ficlets, CircaVie, and other AOL communities and services that some people were strongly attached to, alive. No, it wouldn’t have made them much money, but Bebo is going to be the most expensive – and embarrassingly full-of-fail purchase – AOL has ever made outside of Netscape (which they simply mismanaged and neglected to death) and that will come back to haunt them – sooner than later.

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  5. I’m NOT anti Aol BUT there COULD BE IMPROVEMENTS! Seems that Aol relinquished authority to people who control the boards for their OWN use including to plagerize your writings and using it to promote themselves…this is tantamount to abuse big time…what are WE here for?The news is solatious some dirty and gritty and NOT news worthy sometimes running the same irrelavant words…Aol needs a reality-check….otherwise I DO realize that they are trying very hard to be a good server.

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  6. Re: Good find per usual!
    Marie (and all),
    Looks like AOL closed the gate today, Dec 15th, 2008. I just checked the servers and it looks like they removed all files. I just put a notice on my page about it. I’ll leave my page up in case things change, but I doubt it very much. I’ve also notified Joe Manna. Thanks to you both for your service in helping folks.
    Take care,
    Joe O

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  7. How Long?
    I just came across your blog on a Google search for answers about the AOL message board rumors. For months, message boards (not empty ones, but boards that had been active for years) have been shutting down, one at a time, without notice. When one board I had been a regular at closed down, we tried to find answers. From AOL… nothing. Not so much as an email explaining why we were shut down. Most recently, the popular Rands and Raves board was closed. On the remaining boards many people are acting like we have only days until all of them are shut down altogether. The board members are making an effort to transfer our community out of AOL, but I just wish we could find some answers.

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  8. Re: How Long?
    They closed down Rants & Raves. I can’t believe it. That was a popular board. Maybe this is the end… My recent post on International users losing their non-US email addresses (via a tipster of mine) turns out to be accurate, too (but still officially unconfirmed) – I just haven’t had time to write about it – but it’s the same thing, done the same way but on a more massive scale – with no warning, no media alert, nothing. AOL wants to avoid bad press so they’re flying all this under the radar. Sort of. The Internet seems to make everything they don’t want known news sooner or later.

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  9. As far as I know some of the US message boards, those with heavy use will return but for the UK there appears to be nothing. People are leaving in droves and who can blame them?
    Whoever made this decision I would happily wring their necks.

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  10. Anyone who knows exactly which message boards closed as of today (according to AOL, March 31st was the end of the line for “many” of them) please feel free to post right here or email me with the details.

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  11. AOL Message boards
    3/31/09 the only message boards were in categories for Auto, Black, Sports, Travel, Money & Finance. But then in the evening all were back. Today they are gone again. No news from AOL on what stays and what goes, except “less used boards” will go.
    Some consolidation is OK; we don’t need two boards for spyware and two for virus.
    When AOL removes a board, they do not post a notice.
    It just says “Not available.” If it’s gone for two weeks, it’s probably gone for good.

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  12. ALL of the AOL message boards are gone with the exception of Black Voices which is fully operational. Yesterday the boards shut down, but last night they were back up. Strangest thing I ever saw. Today they are gone again. Anyone who had links saved in their favorites gets directed to a new “main page” which leaves nothing to be desired. What the AOL users have done is simply highjack the Sports boards ***ACC*** and Auto boards ***Free Parking***, 2 of the 5 choices given on the new “main page”. I’ve seen a lot of screw ups in my years on the AOL boards, but this one clearly takes the cake. What a fiasco!

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  13. Just visited. The following message boards are currently up:
    * Sports
    * Auto Enthusiasts
    * Black Voices
    * Money and Finance
    * Travel
    *
    See that last star there? The list is a copy-paste from the message boards home page. Something’s missing (thus the empty list element) and someone forgot to adjust the HTML to hide it…Let me guess…must be…the computers/technology/Internet board(s)?
    I can’t figure one thing out: why did they change the forums from message board style to a comment-page style such as you would see on AOL News?
    It’s awful looking (message boards shouldn’t look like comment pages) and extremely hard to follow since there’s no threading.

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  14. All the UK message boards went PM on March 31st.Someone sent me an Aussie link and I could access the General News board via that. It then disappeared, came back again, went,came back and then finally disappeared. Total chaos.
    Chat rooms are also affected. No access through Chat and Community but access via Chat Essentials and then All Chat Rooms.
    I think AOL have made the decision that they don’t really want customers.

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  15. Re: AOL Message Board closings fiasco: Welcome to the new AOL Message Blogs!
    BTW, I’m moving your comment since it’s not on the relevant page to what we’re discussing, along with my first reply to you.

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  16. Re: How Long?
    I have been desperately searching for any information on a particular board, “Do You Believe?”, and have found nothing. It’s obviously gone now, but I don’t understand what happened. Back when I was a regular on that board about two years ago, it was by far the most popular out of all the message boards. I was intending to revisit my old haunt and see how everyone was doing, but it was just gone. I haven’t been able to find any information about it…I’ve read little hints here and there that the Christians took it over and drove away the atheists, and this caused it to be shut down prior to the other boards, but I haven’t been able to find anything to substantiate this. Please, if anyone reading this has any information, please email me at Celephaith@aol.com. I can’t believe I feel so strongly about a board I left over two years ago…but there it is…I miss it.

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  17. Please, help me, brothers!!!
    Well… I want to get program X-Rumer 5.0 Palladium for free. Have you any url???
    I’m so need this magic program! It’s can break captchas automatically! Activate accounts via email automatically too! Absolutely great software! Help me!
    And did you hear news – price for XRumer 5.0 Palladium will grow up to $540 after 15 may 2009… And XRumer 2.9 and 3.0 – too old versions, it’s cant break modern catpchas and cant break modern anti-bot protections. But XRumer 5.0 Palladium CAN!!!!
    So help me for download this great program for free! Thanks!

    Like

  18. Re: Please, help me, brothers!!!
    Normally I delete such spam and report the IP to LJ and the originating web host and/or ISP but this was so funny I laughed until I almost started crying. Was X-Rumer conceived as an April Fool’s Day joke? You need to take your deep longing for this software (if it even exists – which I highly doubt) to 4chan where it belongs (unless that’s where it was conceived, of course) where they’ll really get a kick out of silly, goofy ol’ you.

    Like

  19. Pingback: “AOL Hit List” Examined « Anti-AOL -An InTooLate Production

  20. Pingback: AOL Message Boards closing fiasco: Welcome to the AOL “Message Blogs”! « Anti-AOL -An InTooLate Production

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