Lost In AOL’s Maze

Netscape

Updated 12-31-07.

News of AOL ending support for their once-revered Netscape browser got me taking a year-end trip down Digg.com to review this year’s stories about Netscape: How their social news site was moved to Propeller.com and how Netscape.com would become a portal once again. I came to a startling conclusion: AOL is not just a collection of websites; it’s a sticky, tangled-up maze of redirects.

When you try to visit Netscape.com these days, your browser heads over to Netscape.AOL.com. Instead of a blue Navigator wheel in the tab, you get the AOL Evil Eye™. When you click a story link, your browser finds News.AOL.com – unless you click a link for a political  story – then it rushes away to News.Netscape.com but gets flipped off to News.Propeller.com. For more of this torment, visit WOW.com; it gets amnesia now and thinks it’s at Wowinsider.com.

I’ve tried to find an explanation for these redirects, but I can’t. What are the chances crazy AOL programmers have threatened to quit if they can’t run the servers the way they  want to – and redirect these sites just to piss off everyone else? Maybe they actually hate AOL and want all their traffic to die. (Hey guys, if you’re reading this, you’re doing a great job; page views are way down.) Here, I’ve drawn up a chart just to confuse you even more.

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AOL’s WOW.com Becomes a Paid Search Engine

wow.com search

AOL’s wow.com is a paid advertising search engine as of…right now? Just discovered it this minute.

They’re so desperate for ad money they don’t even link to their own site in search results for “aol”. They link to PC Doctor Error Smart (same thing, I suppose). This search thing is brand-spanking new, considering the lack of results throughout. I can’t believe Michael Arrington hasn’t already gotten a hot tip about it. So much for the tip he received today about it becoming a WOW (World of Warcraft) social network…that isn’t happening, at least for now.

Update: Holy cow, just checked the search engines, and I am the first person to report this… *passes out cold*