You can call the author of this blog many things, but please don’t call her “unaware”. Call her, rather, “Incapable of seizing the moment”. Why? Because TechCrunch broke a story that even wound up in the Washington Post about Chinese AOL coming up in Firefox as a possible attack site/forgery (that’s right, a phishing website) on Feb. 13th, but they were not the first to learn the perfectly jaw-dropping news. In fact, I was.
I was fixing dead links on this blog on Feb. 10th when I got to my AOL Hit List and clicked through to Chinese AOL out of sheer curiosity. At that point, I was met with the same warning page that you didn’t find screen shots of on TechCrunch until 3 days later.
My screen shot shows that I could’ve broken this story (without the help of Mike’s tipsters) 3 days before TC did. It would’ve done wondrous things for this blog’s stats. It’s no one’s fault but my own, but I admit I’m extremely sore now about passing on the story, and shocked at just how large it became.
The “new” AOL UK home page (same old page, if you use AOL.com) soft-launched May 14th. AOL was so pumped they added a direct link to it from their Corporate press release. That’s right: they couldn’t wait for UK mums to gasp as kids viewed naked women in seductive poses on AOL UK. No other web company would feature nudity on a home page viewed by millions of people each day but this is AOL we’re talking about – anything for an ad dollar, I suppose.
Terribly indecent for the AOL UK home page, don’t you think?
Click image for full-size uncensored version – possibly NSFW.
I wouldn’t want my kids looking at that – would you?
After I got done today responding to Joe Manna on this issue, I started answering my email for the first time in weeks, and one of my reader’s questions about AOL’s email storage policies brought me to Wikipedia’s page on AOL. That wouldn’t normally reveal the answer to something going on at AOL that it seems nobody has the answer for, but lo and behold the page was updated recently (run-on paragraphs abound; the italicized swath was italicized by me):
Haven’t had time to delve too deeply into this but throughout December I continued to receive tips that AOL is canceling any free AOL account created “overseas”. Here’s the most recent tip (end of December-ish):
My (free webmail) AOL account has been cancelled. I don’t know why, there was no warning or explanation. I have lodged queries with Yedda.com and see that several other people (who all appear to be in Australia) have the same problem. No response has been received at Yedda.com.
Just got a comment on my blog from “Frank” saying:
I just found out – not sure if this is true – that AOL has sold off (is selling off) all its international operations. This has already happened to the Uk and Australia. If you use webmail or have set up a free webmail post box (as suggested on every AOL home page) – and are not an AOL paying subscriber, you will suddenly be ‘cut off’ leaving you with a sign in screen message saying that you’re not in the US and your account has been cancelled. This applies to everyone who has a .com email address originally outside the US (about 50M people). They will now be moved to .co.uk (for the UK) and .com.au (for Australia).
I’ve been asked by an anonymous commenter for a list of people laid off at AOL. I don’t have access to such a list but anyone who cares to send me one will have my eternal thankfulness, not to mention the thankfulness of everyone else on the Web who’s just as curious as I am.
What I’ve done in the meantime is collect posts and comments scattered across Silicon Alley Insider and other websites about who got laid off and and organize them for everyone else’s benefit.