Last updated 12-7-08 with more information on active AOL FTP servers via Joe Manna at DygiScape.
Today Joe at taimantis.com is pointing us to a page he put up for AOL Hometown users who forgot to download their files by Oct. 31st, the day AOL shut down both AOL Hometown and AOL Journals. He also forgot to download his Hometown files by Oct. 31st. When he finally remembered he went to grab them and they were still there – AOL did not delete them. He thinks everyone else who missed the Oct. 31st deadline can still grab their files, too and he even gives you quick, easy steps on how to do it.
AOL is shutting down its user-generated video site, originally known as AOL UnCut but now known as “AOL Video Uploads”, on Dec. 18th. The usual warning follows (this should be old hat to returning visitors): If you don’t download all of the videos you uploaded to AOL by Dec. 17th, they will be deleted – poof! – gone – by that night.
Last updated 12-6-08 with new information on transferring Xdrive files to Elephant Drive.
This post does not change the fact that I’m currently on hiatus from blogging (update: I’m back as of 11-19), but people will stop believing me if AOL doesn’t stop dismantling their entire business.
As part of AOL’s previously mentioned restructuring plan, Xdrive, Bluestring and AOL Pictures will shut down by Dec. 31st.
Any files not removed from these services by Dec. 31st will be deleted, and all links and special online tools (called “APIs”) for displaying them will become unusable.
Here is a reprinted AOL FAQ from the Washington Post that explains what’s going on.
What to do?
The options you’ve been given for preserving your years of writing, photo-swapping and friendship-making on AOL Journals are not all that great: you can either download your files or transfer them to a new web host named Blogger. That’s all.
Not only are your options limited, since AOL put little thought into helping you move elsewhere, some of you are also having problems transferring your files.
This post is about how to capture your data if every other method has failed you.
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.
Hi, J-Land members. Good news for you today – instead of downloading your journals using FTP, a traditional web browser, WGet or Backstreet Browser (methods that all have their drawbacks) as of this morning you can now export (that is, “transfer”) your journal directly to Blogger by following the simple steps on this Blogger Help page. If you want to then export your blog to WordPress, just follow these instructions. As I find more platforms you can export your new Blogger blog to, I will add more links to this post.
Last updated 10-15-2008 with “Copy To” steps.
AOL Hometown and Journals will close down on Oct. 31st. All journals and uploaded content will be deleted, so download your files from AOL’s servers as soon as possible. What follows is a tutorial for Windows users on how to use BackStreet Browser to download your files from AOL.
UPDATE 10-8-2008: Hi, J-Land members. Thanks for stopping by. Good news for you today – instead of downloading your journals using FTP, a traditional web browser, WGet or Backstreet Browser (methods that all have their drawbacks) as of this morning you can now export (that is, “transfer”) your journal directly to Blogger by following the simple steps on this Blogger Help page. If you want to then export your blog to WordPress, just follow these instructions. As I find more platforms you can export your new Blogger blog to, I will add more links to this post.
The best way to back up your AOL Journals and Hometown websites is with an absolutely free website downloader called BackStreet Browser. I tested this downloader on the Magic Smoke Blog at AOL and my own blogs and it worked perfectly. Downloading your files is fast, easy and does not require any action on your part once you set BackStreet Browser up. Let’s get started…
Vish, the Editor of AOL Journals who runs the Magic Smoke blog, has written repeatedly that AOL is working with the people who run Google’s Blogger platform to get all of your content imported to them by Oct. 7th at the earliest. I have no idea if this is true. I’ll try to contact both Vish and other Editor at AOL writers for more details. To quote Vish’s most recent post on it:
To Paul, yes a copy of your journal will be made on Blogger. Your journal will still be available till Nov 1st. Also, the migration will be opened up to Journals users starting on or after Oct. 7th. We will be using this week to iron out any kinks in the process.
To Sherri – I would not worry about the migration too much. It should be fairly straightforward. Blogger will also have a helpdesk that you can send email to, if you have any issues and a live real person will respond and help out. So, all efforts have been made to minimize the pain.
To Yasmin (cayasm) and everybody else – Your journals will be copied over in its ENTIRETY (entries, comments, about me). So, anything else you hear is not true.
10-3-08, an update: Not much of an update, just more information found here concerning the alleged migration of AOL users to Blogger:
AOL has announced that AOL Hometown and Journals are shutting down on Oct. 31st. The first I heard of it was in an email today from “C”:
This morning me and the millions of other AOHell users who have Journals at AOL received an email saying effective Nov. 1, there would not longer be an AOL Journals. Do you know of any blog sites (free or for a fee) that would allow me to transfer my current AOL Journal to their site?
Hope you can help me. Your site is awesome.
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: