Tuesday, July 16, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: July 16, 1999 -- Summer Fun, "Eyes Wide Shut"

July 16, 1999: For Friday, we went with a generic summer fun promo, as represented by beach ball.

We also teased an update to the top nav bar, switching from a clickable graphic bar to text links, though it looks like we reverted it later in the day (also, I'm not sure why there's no My News headline showing, even though this is a screenshot from production):
1999_07_16

In a mid-day update... we tweaked the lead promo, switching out "Check Weather" with Restaurant Guide. We also pulled "Top News" out of the Daily Essentials, which leads me to wonder if there was a My News outage we were working around:
1999_07_16a

For the PM update, the My News headline returned, as did the previous top nav bar. I feel like we tried to launch a few changes but were forced to revert them. Anyway, we changed the lead promo to Eyes Wide Shut:
1999_07_16b
We did another late day update, putting "Top News" back in the Daily Essentials. The My News headline references a gathering of moonwalkers to celebrate the 30-year anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing:
1999_07_16c
[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, July 15, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: July 15, 1999 -- Watch Wall Street; Muppet Fever

July 15, 1999: We went with stock info, market news, and stock chat (the #3 text link was increasingly just the formulaic "______ Chat" on whatever we were featuring):
1999_07_15
For the PM update, we went with Muppet from Space:
1999_07_15a
[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, July 14, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: July 14, 1999 -- Fly to France; Hollywood News and Photos

July 14, 1999: We did reference Bastille Day, though only as part of a "Fly to France" travel package promotion, anchored by a pic of the Arc de Triomphe. (This was also the 1-year anniversary of the redesigned AOL.com, though we didn't mention that at all.)
1999_07_14
For the PM update, we went with a pretty tame Hollywood news feature, with presumably an Entertainment feature and photo gallery (we led with a pic of Mike Myers and I think his then-wife?):
1999_07_14a
[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, July 13, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: July 13, 1999 -- Real Estate; an "Other AOL Sites" Footer; Buffy Finale

July 13, 1999: The Real Estate promo was nothing special (though we did feature non-white people in the stock art; we were still catching up on representation in main page promos). However, this is the first full-screen capture since June 26; I had to think back, but clearly I did it to capture some page change below the fold.

And after stopping to compare the designs, it's a new footer--previously, we used the same nav bar for the header and footer; with this design tweak, we bagged the footer nav bar (if they made it that far to the bottom of the page, clearly they were looking for something else), replacing it with an "Other AOL Sites" section, with 11 corporate and other utility links.

Below that, is the standard legalese block; I'm pretty sure I pasted the footer bit from the dev server version of the page, since the stock art in the top of the page clearly wasn't an AP photo:
1999_07_13a
For the PM update, we went back to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 finale, since this was the actual broadcast night. I have two screenshots taken 2 hours apart, though I can't see any difference between the two versions:
1999_07_13b

1999_07_13c 
 [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, July 12, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: July 12, 1999 -- Beat the Street; "Buffy" Season 3 Finale Controversy

July 12, 1999: A new Monday meant an old, re-used stock market package, with stock lookup, market news, and investing AIM chat rooms:
1999_07_12
For the PM update, we went with the Season 3 finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer; the "controversy" we reference was the fact that this episode, the second part of a two-parter, was postponed from its original May broadcast date at the last minute, since scenes of armed students fighting a final battle at the high school was a bit too much for network execs who were still sensitive after Columbine:
1999_07_12a
[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, July 11, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: July 11, 1999 -- NASCAR Racing

July 11, 1999: It may seem strange now, but 20 years ago, NASCAR wasn't nearly as big as it is today. It was gradually poking its way into the coastal media elite bubble (even as we made efforts to make sure we were reaching a more mainstream [that is, flyover country] audience):
1999_07_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, July 10, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: July 10, 1999 -- Vacation Travel Promo... on a Saturday!


July 10, 1999: I guess we were trying to shake things up, in a low-effort summer vacation sort of way: We took the usual blue airline stock art travel promo and featured vacation and flight bargains... on a Saturday!
1999_07_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, July 09, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: July 9, 1999 -- "American Pie" Opens

July 9, 1999: I guess we didn't have a choice but to feature the teen coming of age sex comedy American Pie (our editorial overseers were a bit uptight about these sorts of things); we started the morning promo with a photo of Alyson Hannigan:
1999_07_09
For the PM update, we stuck with American Pie, switching to a movie still featuring Natasha Lyonne and (I think) Tara Reid. We didn't feature any of the male leads, presumably for clickthrough reasons:
1999_07_09a
[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, July 08, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: July 8, 1999 -- Car Buying and Lilith Fair 1999

July 8, 1999: Thursday began with a car-buying promo (for both new and used cars); the My News headlines referenced tobacco companies found liable in a Florida case, and Clinton (doesn't specify Bill or Hillary, but it was the president, not the future failed presidential candidate) to visit the Watts section of LA
1999_07_08
For the PM update, we went led with Sarah McLachlan and the dates for the 1999 Lilith Fair (the final one, not counting the ill-fated 2010 revival attempt):
1999_07_08a
[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, July 07, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: July 7, 1999 -- Hump Day Home Buying, Britney Spears, Hillary for Senate

July 7, 1999: Wednesday started out with home buying resources (a how-to and home listings):
1999_07_07
For the PM update, we dipped back into brunette Britney Spears, with photos, song clips, and an AIM Web Chat; we also see Hillary Clinton jumping into the New York Senate race:
1999_07_07a
[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, July 06, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: July 6, 1999 -- AIM Chat, White Supremacist Spree Killer, East Coast Heat Wave


July 6, 1999: We started the day with another AIM chat promo (the one with the animated GIF). The My News headlines refer to a white supremacist spree killer who targeted blacks, Jews, and Asians (good thing all that's in the past, amirite?) and the Northern Ireland peace process:
1999_07_06
We did a mid-day update, because apparently a heat wave in July is front-page-worthy news:
1999_07_06a
We stuck with the heat wave for the PM update:
1999_07_06b
[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, July 05, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: July 5, 1999 -- AOL Hometown for the Holiday

July 5, 1999: For the Independence Day holiday observation, we went with AOL Hometown, exhorting members to build web pages, and showing off top sites (not sure if or how we were highlighting member content at the time):
1999_07_05
[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, July 04, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: July 4, 1999 -- Fun on the 4th

July 4, 1999: For Independence Day, we inexplicably led with the South Park movie, heading a "Fun On The 4th" (and look at that headline case) mini-package of movie listings and tickets, and AOL Local's fireworks finder. (As I recall, most of the Digital City/AOL Local listings were pretty lame; it was human-created editorial content that was really, really thin--like, restaurant listings or events features for major cities with two or three items):
1999_07_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.]

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: July 3, 1999 -- Summer Lovin'

July 3, 1999: For the Saturday before Independence Day, we went with a very generic Summer Love package, with three Love@AOL links (powered by Match.com):

1999_07_03

[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, July 02, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: July 2, 1999 -- Holiday Travel Tips; Summer Fun featuring Salma Hayek

July 2, 1999: We went into July 4th weekend with travel tips (traffic, weather, and driving directions), with a traffic jam stock photo:
1999_07_02
For the PM update, we went with generic weekend fun: movie reviews (featuring Salma Hayek in Wild, Wild West, though we didn't even bother to label the picture), AOL Local fireworks listings, and a picnic planner:
1999_07_02a
[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.]