Sunday, May 19, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: May 19, 1999 -- "Star Wars: Episode I" Finally Here

May 19, 1999: Star Wars: Episode 1 -- The Phantom Menace finally opened, which meant that we could at last know true disappointment. We went with a picture of Darth Maul, and also referenced playing hooky from work for a find a job promo:
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We did a mid-day update with a minor wording change; not sure why. (As I recall, a bunch of us from work went to go and see the movie together at an afternoon showing.):
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For the PM update, we continued with Star Wars in the lead, along with a 4-step pizza recipe in Food:

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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, May 18, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: May 18, 1999 -- Summer Airfare Savings; The Day Before "Star Wars"

May 18, 1999: The air travel promo featured my favorite airline stock photo, but by this time, we'd used it so many times that even I was getting sick of it. The top text promo was for the next day's Star Wars movie release, while the other was for toys and collectibles:
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For the PM update, we went once again with Star Wars tickets:
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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, May 17, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: May 17, 1999 -- Investing 101; Star Wars; Netanyahu Defeated

May 17, 1999: We started off the work week with tips on how to pick stocks (it's easy, as long as you're in a bubble); the Shopping promo features sunglasses:
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For the PM update, we went back to Star Wars. Also note the My News headline: "Barak Defeats Netanyahu in Israel." Guess that's the last we'll hear from that guy.
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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, May 16, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: May 16, 1999 -- 'Star Wars' Nears

May 16, 1999: For the Sunday before the opening of Star Wars: Episode 1 -- The Phantom Menace, we went with young Obi-Wan. The other top promos promise that you'll be cool if you build a web page (true), and online shopping:
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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, May 15, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: May 15, 1999 -- You've Got Love

May 15, 1999: More purple people for Love@AOL photo personals; the text promos are for Phantom Menace news and tickets, and outdoor gear -- clearly, the unused second half of the "Take a Long Walk" headline is "...off a short pier."
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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, May 14, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: May 14, 1999 -- "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

May 14, 1999: Unless I missed a screenshot, we went the full Friday with Calista Flockhart in A Midsummer Night's Dream, because, you know, our audience was really into Shakespeare movie adaptations. The text promos feature car buying and swimwear:
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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, May 13, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: May 13, 1999 -- AIM 2.0; Are You Too Fat?

May 13, 1999: We led the morning with the same old AIM 2.0 chat promo with the same old animated gif; the text promos are for AOL White Pages and Star Wars video games. The My News headline references the start of the Boris Yeltsin impeachment hearings:
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For the PM update, the lead promo went with a "foot on scale" stock photo and... wow. Wow:"Are You Too Fat?" We'd get murdered if we tried that one today.
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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, May 12, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: May 12, 1999 -- One Week to "Phantom Menace"

May 12, 1999: Star Wars Episode I: A Phantom Menace was set to open the following week, so we were promoting advance ticket sales (which were still kind of a new thing back then). We started with a pic of Jake Lloyd as young Anakin. The PACT Pledge continues in the top text promo, and in no way could the "Do It Digitally" headline be construed as a double entendre, nossir:
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For an afternoon update, we updated the Star Wars promo text; you can also see the continuing My News promo referring to Russian president Boris Yeltsin (facing impeachment) firing Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov:
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For the PM update, we switched to a photo of Jedi duo Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson; in the headlines, we see Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin announcing his resignation:
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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, May 11, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: May 11, 1999 -- Real Estate Listings; PACT Pledge; Car Shopping

May 11, 1999: We went with real estate listings for the full day, using the same stock photo but changing the color scheme from purple to blue; we see the PACT pledge in the lead text promo (and will for some time), and Auto shopping:
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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, May 10, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: May 10, 1999 -- Business Class Travel, PACT Pledge, Hometown With a Vengeance

May 10, 1999: For Monday morning, we went with an ugly brown Business Travel Travel promo; the "Are You Business Class?" headline is obviously (to me) a Swingers reference.

There isn't much to say about the first auctions promo, but the second "Stand Against Violence" promo is one you'll see a lot of in the upcoming weeks; it's about the PACT pledge, which some sort of pledge against violence (maybe coming from the Clinton White House?) in response to the Columbine shooting. It was clearly super effective, because we haven't had any shootings like Columbine since, and I can't find any hint of the PACT pledge anywhere online:
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For the PM update, we leaned into AOL Hometown again (making up for lost time, I guess); the My News headlines feature Yugoslavia announcing a pullback from Kosovo, as well as story about President Clinton seeking to end youth violence (hence the question about the White House involvement in the PACT Pledge above):
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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, May 09, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: May 9, 1999 -- Build Mom a Web Page

May 9, 1999: For actual Mother's Day, we promoed AOL Hometown so you could build a web page for Mom, along with AIM chats and more flowers (but the gardening kind):
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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, May 08, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: May 8, 1999 -- Last-Minute Mother's Day Gifts


May 8, 1999: Not surprisingly, we went with a Mother's Day promo; we didn't have much in the way of content, so it's all commerce. The text promos were for Food & Cooking, and Outdoor gear:

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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, May 07, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: May 7, 1999 -- AOL.MOM; "The Mummy" Opens

May 7, 1999: We went with tulips for a Mother's Day flowers promo (and the AOL.MOM headline, which still amuses me); the text promos feature gaming and car shopping:
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For the PM update, we featured The Mummyalong with Star Wars Episode 1 fan web pages, and last-minute gifts for mom:
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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, May 06, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: May 6, 1999 -- Mother's Day Gifts, AOL Hometown Re-emerges

May 6, 1999: Nothing too distinctive about the morning lineup; we went with a funny retro stock photo for Mother's Day gifts, along with free classifieds and online music buying; the My News headline refers to NATO airstrikes on fuel depots in Yugoslavia:
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For the PM update, we led with Hometown AOL... er, make that AOL Hometown. I just realized looking back that the last time we did a lead promo for AOL's home pages product was the very end of February, and that it was still called "Hometown AOL." It was also listed in the right hand Community column, though we removed it on March 8, presumably to retool and rename it to put the "AOL" up front, in line with the rest of the brand products:
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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, May 05, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: May 5, 1999 -- Mother's Day Flowers; War News; Country Music Awards

May 5, 1999: We went back to flowers for Mother's Day; the My News headlines keeps up with another death from the continuing Midwest tornadoes, while in Yugoslav war news, a US Apache helicopter crashed in Albania (the second in 2 weeks):
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For the PM update, we switched to the Dixie Chicks and the Academy of Country Music Awards (again with the mid-week awards shows; what were they thinking?) -- the group ended up winning Album of the Year and Top Vocal Group:
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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.]