Saturday, November 17, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Nov. 17, 1998 -- AIM, the Tripp Tapes, and Monica Lewinsky's Voice

November 17, 1998: Started the day with another AIM graphic promo and Personal Finance and home video promos, when the House Judiciary Committee releases the Linda Tripp tapes... we did a mid-day update on it:

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With 20 years of hindsight, I have to say that "Admit It: You're Curious. You want to hear Monica's voice" is a garbage headline.
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Friday, November 16, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Nov. 16, 1998 -- Leonid Meteor Shower and Fixing a Mistake

November 16, 1998: The lead spot features a relatively rare promotion of the Research & Learn Web Center for the Leonid meteor shower. The first text promo also promises exclusive clips of Jewel's album Spirit, which debuted the next day.

More importantly, this ends the multi-day run of the incorrect month in the dateline, as you can see by the handwritten correction; we did a mid-day update to correct it:


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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Thursday, November 15, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Oct... er Nov. 15, 1998 -- Dateline Mistakes, Online Crosswords, Aborted Airstrikes

November 15, 1998: The lead graphic promo features My News online crossword puzzles; I remember working with a graphic designer to come up with a crossword puzzle excerpt that was at least not possible (unlike the first version we came up with).

More notably, it looks like I screwed up the dateline, putting October instead of November. I have every reason to believe it wasn't just a preview error, but actually went live. (Not sure if it was caused by reusing a previous promo block and forgetting to change the date, or just a brain fart causing me to forget what month it was.)

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We also did a rare Sunday update; the Clinton administration ordered, then aborted airstrikes against Iraq over tensions involving weapons inspections; as you can see, I updated the existing promo block, including the month error:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Nov. 14, 1998 -- Prepare Your Car for Winter

November 14, 1998: The lead promo is related to winter weather; not sure if it was an Autos Web Center or News package. In the text promos, we have a Sports Web Center promo for college basketball, and a fruitcake-disparaging holiday ecards promo. In the ads... well, not sure why the ads didn't show up, but remember this is a screen shot off the preview server and not a live page:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Nov. 13, 1998 -- Travel Holiday Bargains

November 13, 1998: Travel holiday bargains featuring a Strange Brew reference in the lead spot; it was also Friday the 13th (not sure what that has to do with clothes shopping), and the movie weekend promo name checks Brad Pitt vs. Jennifer Love Hewitt in Movies; it was a pretty oblique (but space-compliant) way to reference Meet Joe Black and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer.

Also, you can see the updated Web Center column listings, with the order I'd penciled in on Nov. 10: Entertainment, Sports, Travel, Personal Finance, Computing, Local, News, and then all the rest. This was probably a listing based on editorial (or was it business--wasn't really a difference back then) priority, not actual usage:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Monday, November 12, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Nov. 12, 1998 -- AOL Netmail Again

November 12, 1998: Once again, going to the "check your AOL email at work" well with an AOL NetMail main promo, then stock quotes and a Martha Stewart reference in a holiday shopping promo.

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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Sunday, November 11, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Nov. 11, 1998 -- Leo's a Scorpio

November 11, 1998: We celebrated Leonardo DiCaprio's 24th birthday by pointing to some manner of celebrity gossip/news in the Entertainment Web Center. In the text promos, we have a Veterans Day promo and a ridiculous auction deals shopping promo (99% discounts... come on):


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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Saturday, November 10, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Nov. 10, 1998 -- Winter Women's Health

November 10, 1998: Lead promo features pretty stock photo woman to promote Women's Health content, which basically meant exercise and diet content. The top text promo features the all-new AOL 4.0, while the second features online shopping for the anti-procrastinator.

In the Web Centers column, you can see pencil markings for what looks like proposed adjustments to the listing order, presumably based on their popularity. (Or at least our perceptions of their popularity. This starts to get into our metrics process, which I'll get into more later.)
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Friday, November 09, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Nov. 9, 1998 -- Free Chat Now With AOL Instant Messenger

November 9, 1998: Another AIM promo, using the same non-animated fake chat window as before. In the second music text promo, Pump Up Your Jams is clearly a Technotronic reference.

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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Thursday, November 08, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Nov. 8, 1998 -- 'The X-Files' Season 6 Premieres

November 8, 1998: The X-Files kicked off Season 6, so we featured a Gillian Anderson pic in the lead promo spot. Other than that, a seasonally relevant Home & Garden Web Center promo, and a shopping promo featuring an infuriating lack of serial comma. I guess it was AOL style at the time. Or I was a very different person back then:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Nov. 7, 1998 -- Glenn Down, Newt Out

November 7, 1998: The lead promo featured a dressed-up Donna Summer reference in the service of a Personal Finance quiz, but the better headline was in the next text promo, "Glenn Down, Newt Out"—as in John Glenn returning from his second space flight and Newt Gingrich stepping down as Speaker.

The second text promo also features a John Glenn tie-in, since it promoted the Tom Wolfe book, A Man in Full, using a reference to his earlier work on the space race that featured Glenn as one of the Mercury Seven.
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Nov. 6, 1998 -- "The Siege" Turns Into a Newt

November 6, 1998: The Friday started with a standard weekend lineup, featuring the Denzel Washington movie The Siege (about the loss of civil liberties after a series of radical Islamist terrorist attacks, ha ha I know right?) when suddenly....

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...Newt Gingrich resigned as Speaker of the House. The serial adulterer, a key figure in the Clinton impeachment process, was succeeded by Dennis Hastert, serial child molester.
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Monday, November 05, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Nov. 5, 1998 -- Last Chance to Win

November 5, 1998: The lead promo featured the last chance to enter a My News registration sweepstakes (for a whopping $500 in books, presumably from Amazon) in what was probably the most... promotional promo we'd run in the top spot to date.

The other two promos were a bit cheekier, with "the boss isn't looking" and "babies aren't little people" and all that.
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Sunday, November 04, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Nov. 4, 1998 -- Fall Foliage Travel

November 4, 1998: A generic tout for cheap holiday fares disguised as a fall travel promo in the main spot, along with election results in My News and a Music shopping promo.

Oh, and dig the redundant AIM promos in the Free Products column: One for the AIM 1.0 client, and the AIM 2.0 Beta.

1998_11_04
[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Saturday, November 03, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Nov. 3, 1998 -- Election Day

November 3, 1998: For Election Day, we went with a red, white, and blue color scheme in the top block (well, blue, white, and red), promoting election results, which apparently weren't that dramatic:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Friday, November 02, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Nov. 2, 1998 -- Barbra Streisand Live Chat Event

November 2, 1998: Barbra Streisand did her first-ever online appearance in an AOL Live chat, apparently as part of a get-out-the-vote effort for the next day's election. We did an evening content update with a different photo and color block.

An event writeup—with full main stage transcript!—is online. AOL Live events at the time were fully text-only events. They were exclusive to the AOL service; I'd forgotten that they were accessible, or even visible, to the web audience. (Maybe this was a special exception.) Because they were text-only, many people were skeptical if the featured celebrity guest was on the other end of the line. (This was before the Reddit AMA-style proof became a thing.)

Anyway, in auditorium events, everyone could see the chat from the main stage, and you could text chat with the members of your "row" (maybe 10-20 people, I forget). You could submit your comments and questions to the event runners, who'd select questions that the guest would answer for all to see, but other than that, you'd only be interacting with members of your row... which many, many people did not understand.
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Thursday, November 01, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Nov. 1, 1998 -- Alanis Replay

November 1, 1998: For a Sunday, we didn't promote football, but instead ran another promo for the Alanis Morissette CD. The first text promo was a suitably post-Halloween Health promo, while second one teases the next day's AOL Live event with Barbra Streisand, which I'd completely forgotten was a thing that happened.
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Oct. 31, 1998 -- Are "Free Halloween Downloads" a Trick or Treat?

October 31, 1998: Halloween was on a Saturday, so naturally we promoted Halloween downloads, since there's no more natural Halloween activity than downloading a pumpkin screensaver, wallpaper, or mouse icon.

I'm not sure what the scary TV and movies promo pointed to; either TV listings, or an Entertainment package on horror movies.

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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Oct. 30, 1998 -- Garlic Stinks... Does John Carpenter's "Vampires"?

October 30, 1998: John Carpenter's Vampires was the lead promo. I have no answer for the question posed in the headline, though I will say that in the late 1990s, I still hadn't developed a taste for garlic, which explains the wording.

John Glenn's historic space mission remained in the top block as a text promo.

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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Monday, October 29, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Oct. 29, 1998 -- John Glenn Returns to Space

October 29, 1998: At age 77, John Glenn became the oldest man (and first sitting Senator) to fly in space on Space Shuttle Discovery, STS-95. We did two updates as we got new photos and content updates; the news package link remained the same, so all I had to do was post a new photo:
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All of the these were screenshots of the live page, so the ad lineups are 100% accurate.
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1998_10_29b
[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Sunday, October 28, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Oct. 28, 1998 -- Alanis Morissette CD Preview

October 28, 1998: The lead promo was an exclusive preview of the new Alanis Morissette CD for 1998, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, though of course I referenced Jagged Little Pill's "You Oughta Know," even though that album was over 3 years old by this point.

The album was released on the Maverick Records label, "...a joint venture between Madonna, Frederick DeMann, Veronica "Ronnie" Dashev and Time Warner." Not sure what the relationship was that got us an exclusive (or to what extent it actually was an "exclusive"); the Time Warner merger/acquisition wouldn't happen for until 2000.

I also don't recall what business need required us to bang the AOL 4.0 drum so hard. "Download AOL 4.0" had been in the top (and bottom) nav bar ever since we switched from the pulldown menu to the static nav bar back in August.


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Apparently we got a better photo later in the day:
1998_10_28a
[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Saturday, October 27, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Oct. 27, 1998 -- Talk Is Cheap... AIM 2.0 Is Free

October 27, 1998: A lead promo for AOL Instant Messenter (AIM) 2.0. The graphic is a (clearly) faked up IM conversation. It would have been a great candidate for an animated gif treatment, but I don't remember if we had the capability to do that back in 1998, especially given file-size sensitivities for our 56k and 28.8 modem users:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Friday, October 26, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Oct. 26, 1998 -- Get Married, Not Soaked

October 26, 1998: Money-saving wedding tips for a Monday main promo. We relegated Monday Night Football to the first text promo.


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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Thursday, October 25, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Oct. 25, 1998 -- See what's up in ____________.

October 25, 1998: I like the black-and-white theme we used for the main promo block and the Halloween-themed Felicity episode we were promoting, though at least in the screenshot, the link text on the black background made the link text unreadable. (Presumably, it said "Television.") If I recall correctly, in the pre-CSS era, we didn't have much control over the link text colors for every link state:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Oct. 24, 1998 -- Big East Football

October 24, 1998: NCAA football in the lead promo; West Virginia faced Miami in a Big East battle that I had to look up to make sure I hadn't gotten the teams and conference wrong 20 years ago.

In the rest of the top block, the first one doesn't sound like something I'd write, nor does the second (a Sonny & Cher reference?). At least that's what I tell myself now:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Oct. 23, 1998 -- 'Pleasantville' Opens

October 23, 1998: Another weekend movie promo, leading with Pleasantville. Unclear to me what movie (if any) the "pain" in the headline is referencing.

Dig the yellow and black Halloweeny color scheme for the top promo block.

1998_10_23
[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Monday, October 22, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Oct. 22, 1998 -- Yankees Sweep; Cuban Missile Crisis Anniversary

October 22, 1998: We led with the utterly unsurprising Yankees' sweep of the Padres. I'm not sure if we set up the update late Wednesday or waited until getting in on Thursday.

After a suitable interval, we switched the lead graphic and first text promo—a feature about the anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Why we were featuring the milestone 36th anniversary of the event is lost to me.

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foo
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Sunday, October 21, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Oct. 21, 1998 -- On the Edge of a World Series Sweep

October 21, 1998: The Yankees went up 3-0 in the World Series on Tuesday; we led with the result, then did an early-evening update asking if the Padres could avoid the sweep. (They couldn't.)

Also notable: The first Hometown AOL promo to date in the second text promo. Hometown AOL was AOL's web page building product for members, like Geocities, except without all the sparkly bling.
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Saturday, October 20, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Oct. 20, 1998 -- 'NYPD Blue' Season 6 Premieres

October 20, 1998: We led with a photo of Rick Schroder, though he wouldn't join the NYPD Blue onscreen cast five episodes later in January. Meanwhile, the Padres got their chance to lose at home, and the top block's shopping promo references an AC/DC lyric.

A text promo in the My News column references a chance to win a $500 gift certificate for registering for My News. Don't remember that promotion.

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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Friday, October 19, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Oct. 19, 1998 -- Drew's Crew vs. Bill's Boys

October 19, 1998: More NFL action, name-checking the Patriots' QB Drew Bledsoe and Jets coach Bill Parcells in an admittedly asymmetrical headline that at least rhymed and alliterated. (The Jets won 24-14.)

The first text promo talks about satisfying your Dow "Jones," which my boss nixed the first time I tried it, on the grounds that it was too much of a drug reference. A few months later, I guess it didn't really matter.

1998_10_19
[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Thursday, October 18, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Oct. 18, 1998 -- Make Like a Tree & Get Outta Here

October 18, 1998: Generic, stock art real estate lead promo, with another World Series promo, and a fall travel promo that of course makes use of the Back to the Future quote.

1998_10_18
[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Oct. 17, 1998 -- 1998 World Series Kicks Off

October 17, 1998: The Padres faced the Yankees in Game 1 of the 1998 World Series. We led with a photo of David Wells.

The first text promo references Power Computer, which is like a second-order Mindvox inside joke that I wasn't really privy to.

Also, the second promo (which I belated realized has been dedicated to Shopping content for the past few weeks), uses a strikethrough font, in the service of targeting the coveted naked online grocery shopping demographic:

 
1998_10_17
[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Oct. 16, 1998 -- Sandra Bullock in 'Practical Magic'

October 16, 1998: Like the headline says, the lead promo is for the Sandra Bullock movie, Practical Magic.

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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Monday, October 15, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Oct. 15, 1998 -- Brett's Arm vs. Barry's Legs

October 15, 1998: NFL Thursday night action, with the Packers at Detroit. (Of course, Brett is Brett Favre and Barry is Barry Sanders.) Also note the Spinal Tap reference in the second text promo for "online music stores," which back then meant online ordering of CDs (as seen in the Music Boulevard promo in the top right ad spot):

1998_10_15
[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Sunday, October 14, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Oct. 14, 1998 -- ST: Voyager and Web, White, and Blue

October 14, 1998: Star Trek: Voyager kicked off its fifth season. For some reason, I chose to use a Gilligan's Island reference in the headline. (Isn't that show due for a gritty reboot now? Or was that Lost?)

I neglected to notice an addition to the My News column: A standing promo to "Vote smart on Election Day with Web, White, & Blue." According to this contemporaneous Washington Post article, Web White and Blue (no commas) was an online clearinghouse for 1998 election information, to help educate the American voter. I gather that no Russians were involved.

Today, the WWB domain redirects to this Markle Foundation report on the 2000 elections.

1998_10_14
[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Saturday, October 13, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Oct. 13, 1998 -- Home, Home in Your Range and Washington Capitals

October 13, 1998: A hacky song reference to promote Personal Finance in the lead promo.

The first text promo is NHL, featuring the Washington Capitals versus the Detroit Red Wings in a Stanley Cup rematch. Yes, there was life in DC hockey in the 1990s, even if the intervening years made people want to forget: The Capitals made the NHL finals (and got swept) in the 1997-1998 season.


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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Friday, October 12, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Oct. 12, 1998 -- Generic Football Promo and Getting Risque With AOL 4.0

October 12, 1998: "Offense Scores the Points, but will defense win tonight's game?" a.k.a. the most-generic NFL promo ever. (For the record, it was Dolphins at Jaguars.)

The AOL 4.0 promo in the top text spot is a repeat from Sunday; apparently we were on a push to promote AOL 4.0 downloads and didn't care much about the repetition. The headline, "You Can't Be First... but you can be next" is about as risqué as I got on the home page.

The internet these days seems to think that the quote is a Ric Flair thing, but I'm pretty sure it's much, much older. (I want to saw that it was popularized by a Mae West, bad girl-type, but I can't find a cite.)

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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Thursday, October 11, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Oct. 11, 1998 -- Scream Savers

October 11, 1998: A promo for Halloween screen savers and other Halloween downloads. Remember when screen savers were a thing?

This one doesn't sound like something I would have wrote unprompted; I think I also asked the various Web Centers leads to provide promo copy (or at least ideas).

1998_10_11

[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Oct. 10, 1998 -- NHL Action

October 10, 1998: Keeping in mind that Sports generally did pretty poorly for us, but even with those low expectations, regular season hockey was a dog. I guess we just wanted a change from NCAA football.

1998_10_10

[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Oct. 9, 1998: Baseball, Spinal Tap, and Errors

October 9, 1998: More baseball. Threw in an obvious "Hello, Cleveland!" Spinal Tap reference, probably because I was getting bored with baseball playoff promos.

This is probably also a good time to admit to something that happened earlier in the playoffs: I forget which matchup it was, but I got one of the teams wrong. We only found out  that I'd put one of wrong teams into the playoffs after some members posted about it to the AOL.com redesign feedback message boards, which we checked pretty regularly after every design change.

We didn't really have a rigorous QA or editing process for content back then—I basically did it all myself.

1998_10_09
[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]