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":
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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:
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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, 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:
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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...
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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, 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...)
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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:
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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, 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:
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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:
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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, 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:
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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, 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:
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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):

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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, 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:
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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...
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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, 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...
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...which we followed up with in a mid-morning update:
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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:
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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, 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:
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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:
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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, 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...
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...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.):
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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:
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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, 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:
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Not sure why we swapped out the image mid-morning, going from computer to calculator, but we did:
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For the PM update, we went with Heather Graham for another sneak peek for Austin Powers 2:
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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, 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:
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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, 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:
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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, 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:
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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:
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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, 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:
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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:
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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, 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:
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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:
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As we got more info (the crash happened late Tuesday night), we switched to news mode:
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For the PM update, we continued with the story, changing the photo to an anguished crash reaction pic:
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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, 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:
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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:
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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.]