Wednesday, June 26, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: June 26, 1999 -- Summer Fun (feat. Cartman)

June 26, 1999: For a Summer Fun lineup, we led with movie previews, using a promo pic centered on Cartman from South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. The other two links were for Love@AOL and Chat Central (presumably AIM chats).

There isn't much else notable about the page, except that it's the first full-screen screenshot we've seen for some time. If you look at the bottom of the page (though this was off the dev server, so it might not have been exactly the same as the production version), you'll see the full lineup of corporate links, including AOL's spam policy, Y2K efforts, Parental Controls, and other links (including the mandated "Get Microsoft Internet Explorer" link):
1999_06_26a
[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, June 25, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: June 25, 1999 -- Don't Get Caught

June 25, 1999: For a summer Friday, we focused on local getaways, with a much more exciting headline than traffic hotspots, weather forecasts, and maps and directions would warrant:
1999_06_25
For the PM update... there must have been one (a movie no doubt), but it's lost to history.

[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, June 24, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: June 24, 1999 -- "Babylon 5" Video Game Sneak Peek; Sandler's "Big Daddy"

June 24, 1999: Leading off a games package, we went with a sneak peek of Babylon 5: Into the Fire. If you don't remember it, it's because the game would end up getting cancelled a few months later.
1999_06_24
For the PM update, we went with the Adam Sandler movie Big Daddy:
1999_06_24a
[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, June 23, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: June 23, 1999 -- Keep on Touchin'; Knicks vs. Spurs

June 23, 1999: Have I mentioned how generic the lead promos were, with room for just a single-line headline and three bullet links? We started out with a loose "Keep in Touch" theme featuring AIM chat, E-Mail Finder, and Genealogy. I guess that's a theme:
1999_06_23
For the PM update, we switched to Knicks vs. Spurs in Game 4 of the NBA Finals:
1999_06_23a
[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, June 22, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: June 22, 1999 -- Travel Bargains and Ricky Martin

June 22, 1999: Another travel promo with the very much overused airliner stock art:
1999_06_22
For the PM update, we featured Ricky Martin, who had just released "Livin' la Vida Loca" a few months before:
1999_06_22a
[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, June 21, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: June 21, 1999 -- Serving Up Wimbledon, Stock Tools, and AOL Hometown

June 21, 1999: Tennis wasn't a big performer for us, but for some reason, we led (at least for a little bit) with news from Wimbledon, which kicked off today. (That's Martina Hingis, right?)
1999_06_21
For a mid-morning update, we went to a generic Wall Street lineup, with market news, stock portfolio, and top stocks. (And of course we still had the Stock Quote lookup box in the top block.)
1999_06_21a 
For the PM update, we went with the good old purple and gold AOL Hometown promo:
1999_06_21b
[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, June 20, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: June 20, 1999 -- New Car Sunday

June 20, 1999: For a Sunday car-buying promo, we featured a red... car. A Mitsubishi 3000? Who knows.
1999_06_20

[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, June 19, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: June 19, 1999 -- A Royal Wedding

June 19, 1999: Before William & Kate; before Harry & Meghan; there was Edward & Sophie.
1999_06_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.]

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: June 18, 1999 -- A Terse Trio of Travel Savings and "Tarzan"

June 18, 1999: We led with a package of three summer travel links. Not much more to say about that.
In the Community column, there are a few new-ish AIM products: AOL Quick Buddy, which was a web-based AIM client, and AIM Remote, which was an AIM-powered chat room you could embed a web page. I always thought it would have been better if you could have posted it as a shared chat room on multiple pages (like a persistent group chat nowadays):
1999_06_18
For the PM update, we went with the 1999 animated version of Tarzan:
1999_06_18a
[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, June 17, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: June 17, 1999 -- Find a New Job; Last-Minute Gifts for Dad

June 17, 1999: The morning started with a Find a New Job promo; the three featured bullet items for for a "dream job" article (I think), listings, and the ever-popular "More resources":
1999_06_17
For the PM update, we went with last-minute Father's Day gifts; the My News headlines remain with  a Kosovo death toll inflicted by Serb forces, as well as more from the Gore candidacy:
1999_06_17a
[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, June 16, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: June 16, 1999 -- Minimal Effort Home Buying Promo; NBA Finals; Gore Declares Candidacy

June 16, 1999: The morning's promo was even more prosaic than usual -- a bare-bones home buying headline with two bullet links for home listings and mortgage calculator:
1999_06_16
For the PM update, we look at a lockout-shortened season's NBA Finals, featuring the Spurs versus the Knicks.

Meanwhile, in the My News headlines, we see refugees returning to Kosovo, as well as Al Gore throwing the hat into the ring for the 2000 presidential election. And boy, do we know how that turned out...
1999_06_16a
[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, June 15, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: June 15, 1999 -- Using Dirty Harry to Hawk Father's Day Gifts; More Spandex Sports Bra Fitness Women

June 15, 1999: We led with a Father's Day gift promo using a Dirty Harry (actually Sudden Impact) reference (Also aren't we about due for a Dirty Harry reboot? I mean, they tried it with Death Wish...)
1999_06_15
For the PM update, we see the return of the spandex sports bra stock art fitness women for a beach-body-themed fitness promo, which also marks the beginning of minimal-effort, ultra-short, just-the-facts bullet links, making the lead promo a micro-promo bundle of links:
1999_06_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.]

Friday, June 14, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: June 14, 1999 -- Raining Benjamins; See Members' Web Pages

June 14, 1999: For a Personal Finance promo on the top 25 mutual funds, we used the "raining Benjamins" stock art; the My News headline references American troops joining NATO's KFOR in Kosovo:
1999_06_14
For the PM update, we kept up the purple with the standard AOL Hometown promo; the promo promises "Real People's Pages," which I guess was true -- Hometown did highlight member-built pages:
1999_06_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.]

Thursday, June 13, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: June 13, 1999 -- Father's Day Is (Was) Next Week

June 13, 1999: Father's Day was the following Sunday, so we featured stock art dad and daughter for gift-buying:
1999_06_13
[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, June 12, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: June 12, 1999 -- Love@AOL; Rare Saturday Update for the Death of DeForest Kelley Dies and NATO's Check-In to Kosovo

June 12, 1999: Saturday featured a promo for Love@AOL photo personals, though lets face it -- if you were trolling for personals on Saturday night, you might have better luck in one of the AOL or AIM chat rooms:
1999_06_12 
Apologies for the ugly screenshot, but we had a relatively rare Saturday update (we didn't have dedicated weekend coverage), to mark two major events, as seen in the main promo:
1. The death of DeForest Kelly, "Bones" from Star Trek
2. NATO peacekeeping troops entered Kosovo. KFOR, as it would come to be known, is still there (albeit in greatly reduced numbers):

1999_06_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.]

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: June 11, 1999 -- Car Buying and Kosovo Update

June 11, 1999: Friday started with the stock photo of a Mazda (that we'd used the month prior) for car prices and financing:
1999_06_11
For the PM update: shocker, we went with Austin Powers 2.

In world news, we see that NATO peacekeeping troops were ready to enter Kosovo. Stay tuned...
1999_06_11a
[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, June 10, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: June 10, 1999 -- AOL Hometown, Serbs Withdraw, Ginger Spice Solo

June 10, 1999: We started off with AOL Hometown, with an almost-but-not-quite ad jackpot in the lower right. The My News headlines references the Serb withdrawal from Kosovo...
1999_06_10 
...which we followed up with in a mid-morning update:
1999_06_10a
For the PM update, we went with an exclusive preview of Geri Halliwell's solo CD debut, for the world just wasn't spicy enough:
1999_06_10b
[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, June 09, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: June 9, 1999 -- Heat Wave, Heather Graham

June 9, 1999: The East Coast heat wave continued:
1999_06_09
For the PM update, we went with another damned Austin Powers 2 promo.

We also see that the Shortcuts column, just keeps growing and growing, with two different movie promos (Austin Powers and Star Wars), two separate car-buying promos (one for new cars, one for used, presumably because we had different sponsors for each), and a dumping ground for other miscellaneous crap:
1999_06_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.]

Saturday, June 08, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: June 8, 1999 -- Summer Airfare Sales, Dog Days, More "Austin Powers 2"

June 8, 1999: Once again, we used the jet photographed from below to hawk summer airfares; the My News headline references an East Coast heat wave...
1999_06_08
...so we did a mid-day update featuring a hot dog (since everyone cares about the weather on the East Coast of the U.S.):
 1999_06_08a 
For the PM update, we did yet another Austin Powers 2 preview; the fact that it was a New Line picture (part of Time Warner) may have had something to do with it:
1999_06_08b
[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, June 07, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: June 7, 1999 -- Top Stocks, "Austin Powers 2" Sneak Peek

June 7, 1999: We started out Monday with a Top Stocks promo, with expert picks and user voting:
1999_06_07
Not sure why we swapped out the image mid-morning, going from computer to calculator, but we did:
1999_06_07a
For the PM update, we went with Heather Graham for another sneak peek for Austin Powers 2:
1999_06_07b
[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, June 06, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: June 6, 1999 -- Love@AOL

June 6, 1999: Sundays were historically peak days for online personals, so we left D-Day remembrances for the My News headlines and led instead with Love@AOL:
1999_06_06

[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, June 05, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: June 5, 1999 -- Saturday Sports

June 5, 1999: For Saturday, we went with Sports and the NBA playoffs in the lockout-shortened season, featuring a photo of Reggie Miller:
1999_06_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.]

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: June 4, 1999 -- Red Corvettes, Summer Movies, Tiananmen 10-Year

June 4, 1999: We led off with car buying, featuring a red Corvette in the top spot; in the My News headlines, we see that NATO bombings in Yugoslavia continued, despite the nearness of a peace deal:
1999_06_04
For the PM update, we went with a movie preview featuring Austin Powers 2. In the My News headlines, we see the item, "Security Tight in Tiananmen Square" for the 10-year anniversary:
1999_06_04a
[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, June 03, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: June 3, 1999 -- Job Listings and Kosovo Peace Plan

June 3, 1999: We started off with a job listing promo, with a headline--"Does Your Job Drive You Mad?"--written specifically to match the stock art. It may or may not have been another cry for help:
1999_06_03
For the PM update, we led with an update on the efforts to end Kosovo War, which we hadn't featured in the top spot for a while, though it occasionally surfaced in the My News headlines. The war would formally end about a week later:
1999_06_03a
[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, June 02, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: June 2, 1999 -- Flight 1420 Crash Forces a Lineup Change

June 2, 1999: We originally led with a Business Travel promo featuring airplane stock art and "book a flight" text, though you can see the My News headline below: "Jet Skids Off Ark. Runway: 80 Hurt." This was Flight 1420, which eventually claimed 11 lives:
1999_06_02
With lessons learned from prior plane crashes, we and the AOL service had a protocol in place to deal with plane crashes: Don't promote airline stuff after plane crashes. Which meant replacing content and pulling ads from rotation. In this case, we quickly switched to another evergreen Travel promo for the Cruise Directory:
1999_06_02a
As we got more info (the crash happened late Tuesday night), we switched to news mode:
1999_06_02b
For the PM update, we continued with the story, changing the photo to an anguished crash reaction pic:
1999_06_02c
[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, June 01, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: June 1, 1999 -- Savings Calculator, Stock Quote Lookup Box, Another Date Mistake

June 1, 1999: We started out June and the workweek with the very optimistically worded "Want to Be a Millionaire?" headline for a Personal Finance savings calculator. The other notable change was adding a functional stock quotes lookup box in the second Daily Essentials column:
1999_06_01
For the PM update, we went with another date mistake, June 2 instead of June 1. This one definitely made it out to production (note the printout URL). The date was part of the HTML in each promo block; none of this auto-displaying the correct date nonsense for us.

The promo was for Real Estate homebuying resources; also note a bit of time-sensitive programming to acknowledge the real-world progression of linear time: because the US stock markets usually closed at 4pm, for the PM update, we tweaked the Daily Essentials lineup, taking out the stock quote lookup box and adding in things like TV listings and other items for the evening:
1999_06_01a
[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.]