Friday, April 26, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 26, 1999 -- Online Comics Featuring "Garfield"

April 26, 1999: Not sure why we started the week with a comics promo featuring Garfield without making a "I hate Mondays" joke. (The other lead promos were for AOL White Pages and Books.)

Also not sure why there wasn't a PM update -- if we didn't do one, or if I forgot to take a screenshot.
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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, April 25, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 25, 1999 -- Cruise Adventures and Computing

April 25, 1999: A slow Sunday with cruise ship stock art for a travel promo, plus Computing Web Center and online Department Stores:
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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, April 24, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 24, 1999 -- Saturday Spandex Sports Bra Stock Art Swimsuit Shaming

April 24, 1999: For a relatively sports-free Saturday, we went with fitness and diet tips, along with Autos and Gifts & Collectibles:
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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, April 23, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 23, 1999 -- Love Guaranteed, "Pushing Tin"

April 23, 1999 -- We went back to the usual routine with a vengeance, with a "No More Dateless Weekends" Love@AOL lead promo. The aftermath of Columbine and the continuing Kosovo war were relegated to the first text promo and the My News headline (though not without a swimwear promo in between):
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For the PM update, we switched to movies, with Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie (remember that whole "blood vial necklace" thing?) in Pushing Tin:
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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, April 22, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 22, 1999 -- Back to Business With AIM

April 22, 1999: The second day after the Columbine massacres, we returned to business. The lead promo spot was the same AIM 2.0 "Free Chat Now" promo that we'd been running. We managed to smash together the Kosovo War and Columbine shooting into one text promo up top, along with online auctions:
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For the PM update, we went back to Columbine coverage; the My News headlines refer to the bombs found in the high school's cafeteria, as well as NATO jets blowing up one of Slobodan Milosevic's houses. He wasn't home.
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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, April 21, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 21, 1999 -- Aftermath of Columbine

April 21, 1999: Not surprisingly, we stuck with the aftermath of Columbine all day:
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We updated the promo as the News package did, though there wasn't a lot of space for a postage-stamp sized photo and four lines of text to add much info:
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At this point, we hadn't even mentioned the name of the town or school, "Columbine," in the home page. The PM update is incredibly generic: "The Aftermath: Read and react to the shootings; see latest photos." We could still use it today.
1999_04_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.]

Saturday, April 20, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 20, 1999 -- A High School Shooting Becomes... Columbine

April 20, 1999: Tuesday started out as a regular day; the morning lineup was a bright and sunny weather forecast promo, with market news (that to the previous day's stock movements but still managed to sound generic), and pet shopping:
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Around mid-morning, we got word of a shooting at a school in Colorado. I seem to recall doing the content update and going to lunch not soon after.
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By the time I got back from lunch, there were more reports of what had happened. And that's when Columbine became... Columbine.
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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, April 19, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 19, 1999 -- Dow Surges, NASDAQ Plunges, One Month to "Star Wars: Episode 1"

April 19, 1999: We started the day with investment advice. As noted, I am seeing a correlation between our Personal Finance promos and big spikes in the stock market because...
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...we did a morning update recycling our "Stocks Jump" headline and graph spike image:
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However, the Dow jump was met with a plunge in the tech-heavy NASDAQ, leading us to do another update with "Buy, Sell, or Hold."
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We ended the day with another "Star Wars: Episode 1" promo, and of course, a double ad jackpot because why not?
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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, April 18, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 18, 1999 -- Love@AOL Free Personals

April 18, 1999: I've said it before, but the research (Match.com's, I believe) showed that Sunday was a big day for online personals, presumably from people looking back at the wreckage of their weekends and lives. There were "free" personals in the freemium sense -- you had to pay for a Match.com subscription to get the good stuff.

We also featured the Health & Fitness Web Center and the Sports & Health Shopping channel:
1999_04_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, April 17, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 17, 1999 -- NFL Draft News

April 17, 1999: For a spring Saturday, we went with NFL draft news, genealogy, and the Home & Garden shopping category:
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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, April 16, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 16, 1999 -- Free Web Chat, Dow Highs, "Hideous Kinky"

April 16, 1999: We started Friday with yet another animated GIF AIM promo, along with car buying, and "Do You DVD Yet?" In the My News headlines, we see the NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia continues, while the Dow ended the previous day with a new high.
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For the PM update, we switched to the Kate Winslet movie Hideous Kinky, which I have never seen and know nothing about.

Note the headline that broke to the second line, the "Don't Be Home Alone" headline for photo personals, and the double "JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!" ad jackpot. The Dow ended Friday at another high:
1999_04_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.]

Monday, April 15, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 15, 1999 -- Tax Day, AIM, and Online Classifieds

April 15, 1999: For Tax Day, we went with taxes, AIM, and free online classifieds:
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For the PM update, we kept the same lineup, just adjusting the stock photo and color scheme:
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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, April 14, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 14, 1999 -- Free Maps and Directions; Tick, Tock, Taxes; Quayle for President

April 14, 1999: We went again with Maps and Directions (Mapquest in the pre-Google Maps era), along with the Computing Web Center and CD buying online:
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For the PM update, we went with another last-minute tax promo; in the My News headline, we see Dan Quayle declares his run at the presidency; his campaign lasted 6 months:
1999_04_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, April 13, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 13, 1999 -- Online Comics, Free 411, Clinton in Contempt, Kevorkian Sentenced

April 13, 1999: In a first, we led with Doonesbury for online comics, along with text promos for free 411 lookups and buying the perfect gift. In the My News headlines, we see a story about Bill Clinton being held in contempt of court for lying in the Paula Jones case:
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In the PM update, we switched to airline bargains (using one of my favorite airplane stock photos), along with last-minute tax mistakes. In the My News headlines, we see that Dr. Jack Kevorkian was sentenced to 10 to 25 years for second-degree murder for administering a lethal injection to a man dying from ALS:
1999_04_13a
[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, April 12, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 12, 1999 -- Tax Refunds, Another Kind of Jackpot, Kosovo Gallery

April 12, 1999: We started out the day with advice on how to invest your tax refund (or any money, really), though check out the double ad jackpot in the right ad block ("I did it and I'm not sorry!" -- no idea what it was pitching):
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For the PM update, we moved the Kosovo war back into the graphic spot:
1999_04_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, April 11, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 11, 1999 -- Star Wars Quiz and Episode 1 News

April 11, 1999: Another Star Wars: The Phantom Menace promo, pointing to our Star Wars prequel package and featuring news and quizzes, along with car shopping and tax software:
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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, April 10, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 10, 1999 -- Spring Baseball; Time for Taxes and Prom

April 10, 1999: More baseball for a spring Saturday, more tax help, and a prom-themed Apparel 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.]

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 9, 1999 -- Kosovo Crisis Continues; "Never Been Kissed" Opens

April 9, 1999: We led with the continuing Kosovo crisis (featuring a news photo of an Apache attack helicopter), last-minute tax help, and a "Tulipmania Strikes!" promo that was not a self-aware commentary on the dotcom bubble:
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For the PM update, we led with Drew Barrymore for the opening of a movie of hers that we didn't even bother to mention (Never Been Kissed, for the record):
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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, April 08, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 8, 1999 -- Cheaper, Faster, Better PCs, Then Love@AOL

April 8, 1999: For the morning, we had online computer shopping in the top spot, followed by the continuing NATO strikes in Yugoslavia, and 40% off the "Latest Stephen King." (Presumably it was The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon... I didn't remember it either.)
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For the evening, we had a "Got Love?" promo for Love@AOL, the AOL personals product powered by Match.com:
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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, April 07, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 7, 1999 -- Don't Mess with Taxes; the Return of Sports-Bra Stock Art Fitness Women

April 7, 1999: We started the morning with "Don't Mess With Taxes," a play on the world's most famous anti-littering campaign (the Kosovo War and accompanying refugee crisis [big for its time, the late 2010s laughs, hollowly] remain in the top text spot):
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For the PM update, we were back to spring fitness, featuring the return of spandex sports-bra stock art fitness women (though did they truly ever leave?):
1999_04_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, April 06, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 6, 1999 -- Home Buying, Cheap Flying, NATO Bombing: Week Two

April 6, 1999: We led off with a basic home buying and mortgage info promo; the top text promo reflects the fact that NATO's air campaign against Yugoslavia entered its second week:
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For the PM update, we switched to the Airline Directory (which I guess was less boring and more useful than it sounded?):
1999_04_06a
[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, April 05, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 5, 1999 -- Time Running Out for Taxes

April 5, 1999: Morning and evening promotions telling people to do their taxes now. (This is also a message for me in 2019.)

The top text promo references the NATO code name for the Kosovo mission, Operation Allied Force:
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In the PM update, we ask if ground troops are next for Kosovo; the second My News headline also references Libya handing over for trial two suspects in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland:
1999_04_05a
[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, April 04, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 4, 1999 -- Fantasy Baseball (oh, and the war is still on)

April 4, 1999: A generic Sunday baseball sports promo, though the spin is for getting scores and stats for fantasy baseball leagues.
1999_04_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, April 03, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 3, 1999 -- A Very "Baywatch"-y Vacation Promo and Tae-Bo Tapes

April 3, 1999: For Saturday, we have an apparently Baywatch-inspired vacation travel bargain promo; the Kosovo war and captured U.S. soldiers remain in the top text spot. Also, dig that promo for Tae-Bo tapes. Hard to get more '90s than 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.]

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 2, 1999 -- What Is "The Matrix"?

April 2, 1999: The story of the three U.S. soldiers captured near Yugoslavia continued to evolve, but it was Friday, which meant it was back to movies. The movie in this case was The Matrix, which no one really knew much about, thanks to cryptic marketing built around the phrase "What Is the Matrix?"
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We kept it in the top spot for the PM update.

I seem to remember that we'd had some sort of reorganization (with layoffs, which was the whole point--they happened somewhat regularly, and I was probably too used to dealing with them), and I was feeling kind of down, so I went to see The Matrix (I think at Reston Town Center).

I went in not knowing much about the movie. In 1999, even with the internet and sites such as Ain't It Cool News, you could still manage to avoid knowing much about movies that were coming out. I never saw the trailer, just the TV commercial that ended with the Neo rooftop bullet-time shot with a voice over by Morpheus saying, "Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is... you have to see it for yourself."

As a result, I remember having my mind blown.

I'd go on to see The Matrix a bunch more times, at matinees and at the 2-dollar-theater in Sterling.

1999_04_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.]

Monday, April 01, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 1, 1999 -- 3 U.S. Soldiers Missing, Captured

April 1, 1999: We didn't do April Fools Day jokes (lingering affects of the April Fools Day 1996 prank where the AOL Welcome Screen announced that NASA had discovered proof of life on Jupiter); even if we did, it would have gotten displaced by news that 3 U.S. soldiers had gone missing while patrolling in Macedonia, close to the Yugoslavian border:
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Not sure why I took another screenshot:
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For the PM update, we updated the headline block with confirmation that the soldiers had been captured by Serbian forces, complete with photo:
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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.]