I complained to AOL about their malfunctioning “Back to Classic” link. Here’s their response.

After writing about AOL’s “Back to Classic” link malfunctioning, I shot a complaint off to AOL saying that if they want users to see the Classic AOL look, then they shouldn’t provide a “Back to Classic” link that doesn’t work.

As a mostly unwilling beta tester, I submit feedback to AOL fairly often, but I never get a response (I often curse out whatever product I’m “discussing” before I’m done – I guess that scares them?) but this time AOL’s data-mining software must have bounced me to a human support person or something fairly humanoid (perhaps a reply bot?).

According to AOL, there are four ways to restore the Classic look (but as I said in my last article, if you delete your cookies after applying these changes, you will have to restore the Classic look all over again). After I read AOL’s reply, I saw that the broken “Back to Classic” link on AOL.com has also been fixed.

Reverting to the Classic look does not restore the Classic AOL.com home page – the colors are off (it’s not the same shade of blue that I recall, for instance) and the logo behind the name “AOL” in the upper left-hand corner cannot be killed with anything except the AdBlockPlus add-on (which is only available to us lucky Firefox users). But I guess it’s close enough.

Why AOL can’t just make the Classic look a permanent setting via Options once you’re logged in is probably the next thing I will complain to them about.

To sum up, there are four ways to restore the Classic look:

  • Click this link for the blue theme
  • Click this link for the classic theme in 7 colors, including blue
  • Look for the Classic theme logo in the “theme strip”, on the far right, at position #10 (I must correct AOL’s word on this: it’s in the row of logos along the top of the page, and in the tiny little thumbnails above those; both are at position #10).
  • Find it in the “More” link next to the theme strip (I must correct AOL on this, too: I do not see and cannot find the “More” link.)
  • Lastly (this idea was not included in AOL’s email to me) you could just sign into AOL from http://netscape.aol.com/. That page did not get the themes update, so it’s still in the generic, dark grey/medium blue Netscape theme, with the same content and the same links to your email as AOL.com.

In order to completely return to the Classic look, you will need to kill the logo strip that runs across the top of the page. The “Back to Classic” link at the bottom of the AOL.com home page and the options listed above will not remove the logos for you.

Hide AOL logos per visit

To turn off the logos, look in the top upper right-hand corner of the AOL.com home page. You’ll see a strip of tiny thumbnail images. There’s a link to the right of them that says Close. Just click it and the logos will disappear. You’ll have to keep cookies enabled or the logos will come back each time you re-open your browser and/or refresh the page.

AOL’s Reply to My Complaint

Feedback Reply: New WS

We want to thank you for your recent feedback about the AOL homepage. December 10th was a big day for AOL! We officially became an independent Internet company once more, and the unveiling of our new logo and visual identity was tied to that major event.

We really appreciate you taking the time to let us know your thoughts on our new look. We know that it may have been a surprise at first, but we hope that in time you will embrace the new look and feel of the site. Please do know that we are looking closely at all of the feedback received and determining what additional improvements we can make.

We will be adding new themes in the very near future, and many of them will be shaped around requests we’ve received. While we have retired most of the older themes from AOL.com and Enhanced AOL Welcome Screen, we have still kept the classic blue theme available. If you are looking for something right now which is a little darker than our new set of themes, we recommend you try the classic blue theme. You can apply that theme right now by clicking here. (Please note, once you click that link, the blue theme will automatically become your set theme.) You can also find it in the theme strip in the upper-right corner of the page in the far right position (#10) as well as in our theme chooser (if you click on the “More” link in that same space). It will say “Click here for the Blue Classic theme” when you hover over it. All you have to do is click once to set it.

For more info and FAQs on our new look, please visit our homepage blog.

If you prefer to return to the “regular” Welcome page, the Classic page, please use this link: http://www.aol.com/?src=classic

Please check back soon for more new themes! And please continue to use the Help & Feedback link any time you’d like to get in touch with us with suggestions.

Thank you so much!

The AOL Homepage Team