Thursday, November 21, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Nov. 21, 1999 -- Sports Roundup With Drew Bledsoe

November 21, 1999: Another Sunday sports roundup, featuring the greatest Patriots quarterback of all time (up to that point) Drew Bledsoe.
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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, November 20, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Nov. 20, 1999 -- Praying for the End of "End of Days"

November 20, 1999: For Saturday, we went with yet another damn End of Days 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, November 19, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Nov. 19, 1999 -- "The World Is Not Enough"; Eyeless Face = Love

November 19, 1999: The third Pierce Brosnan James Bond movie, The World Is Not Enough (the forgettable one with Denise Richards as nuclear physicist Christmas Jones) opened wide in the US; you can also see in the right column a promo, "Turn Clicks into Cash," for something called the AOL Affiliate Network:
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For the PM update (and for most of the rest of this month, apparently), we just have a preview of the top promo block -- in this case, an anonymous, eyeless kissy face for online personals:
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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, November 18, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Nov. 18, 1999 -- Free Web Chat; AOL Brasil; Fake AOL Mail; Aggie Bonfire Collapse; "End of Days" Again

November 18, 1999: We started the day with an unremarkable AIM 3.0 Web Chat promo, though if you look down in the Corporate links section, you can see that America Online Brasil Launches (apparently, Michael Douglas was part of the launch festivities, doing an AOL Live event from Sao Paolo). I think this was the actual, localized client, other press releases show the AOL Brasil website opened back in June:
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For the PM update, we have something odd: An AOL Mail promo with what looks like a functional login screen, but what I think is actually a fake functionality image. (I think I've ranted about this before, but I recall being in a marketing/ad sales presentation where they were touting the clickthrough benefits of ads featuring "faux" functionality. Yes, let's trick our users, annoy them, and train them not to trust web entry fields. No downside to that, no sir.)

The My AOL.COM news headline also references a Texas A&M bonfire construction accident that killed (ultimately) 12:
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For the PM update, we went again with a preview of End of Days:
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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, November 17, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Nov. 17, 1999 -- Dream Homes

November 17, 1999: For Wednesday, we went with a generic Real Estate homebuying promo. That's about it; I don't know why there isn't a PM update. So here's some additional content: I didn't notice at the time, but in September, we changed the search branding from the old AOL Netfind to AOL.COM Search:
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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, November 16, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Nov. 16, 1999 -- You've Got AOL Mail (Out-of-Client View); Holiday Travel; Win a Cruise

November 16, 1999: We started the day with an AOL Mail promo, though you can see my handwritten note at the top that says, "Out of Client View, 11/15/99 PM to _____".

My AOL product chronology is pretty hazy (the emails archived in my old AOL client Personal Filing Cabinet were lost years ago), so I don't remember if AOL Mail at this point still had ActiveX control or if we'd switched to the HTML interface.

However, marking this with "Out of Client" probably means that we'd started segmenting visitors to www.aol.com by client type: In-Client, for anyone using any sort of AOL client, and Out-of-Client, for every other web user using Netscape or Internet Explorer. At a certain point, the OOC view would turn into a huge "Join AOL" ad, with a tiny promo space (which is what the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine would pick up), but not for a while longer.

Oh, and I almost missed this -- either today or around this time, we moved away from the My News branding to My AOL.COM -- I guess it was part of a bigger web customization play?
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For the PM update, we went with another Holiday Travel promo:
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Then, we went with a third promo for an AOL.com Search sweepstakes, featuring a Caribbean cruise prize:
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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, November 15, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Nov. 15, 1999 -- Keep More Cash (by not paying to see Schwarzenegger's "End of Days")

November 15, 1999: Starting out the work week, we went with a Personal Finance promo, only in a shockingly unexpected color scheme (red, not green):
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For the PM update, we went with the Arnold Schwarzenegger film End of Days, where he battles Satan. You have to remember: This was 1999, and pre-millennial tension was a thing. (As opposed to the current post-millennial tension currently being felt. OK, boomer.):
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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, November 14, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Nov. 14, 1999 -- Sports Sunday with Marshall Faulk

November 14, 1999: Another Sunday, another sports roundup, this one with Marshall Faulk of the Rams (St. Louis version):
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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, November 13, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Nov. 13, 1999 -- Celine vs. Mariah

November 13, 1999: Celine Dion's greatest hits album was apparently, officially released on Friday, so we featured it again, even though we'd done the web premiere earlier in the week:
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We did a relatively rare Saturday switch, flipping over to more new music with Mariah Carey and Fiona Apple:
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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, November 12, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Nov. 12, 1999 -- Pokémon All Day and Night

November 12, 1999: Once again, we went with Pokémon, though this promo was different from its predecessors in two distinct ways: One, we featured the human Ash, which I don't think we'd done before; the other is that we finally started putting the accent in "Pokémon":
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For the PM update, we stayed with Pokémon. Also, in the My News headline, we see another earthquake in Turkey:
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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, November 11, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Nov. 11, 1999 -- Build a Nest Egg; Find Love

November 11, 1999: We didn't do a Veterans Day lead feature (you could do that pre-9/11), though you'll see a headline in the PM block. Instead, for the AM, we looked forward to retirement with a 401k calculator and retirement planning:
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For the PM update, we went back to kissy-face stock photo white couple #2; the My News headline covers President Clinton and Veterans Day:
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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, November 10, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Nov. 10, 1999 -- Celine Dion & Frank Sinatra

November 10, 1999: We spent the entire day with the web premiere of Celine Dion's greatest hits album, All the Way... A Decade of Song, which included a virtual duet with Frank Sinatra:
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For the PM update, we stayed with Celine and a new 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.]

Saturday, November 09, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Nov. 9, 1999 -- Free Web Chat; Your Family Tree

November 9, 1999: We went with AIM 3.0 and Free Web Chat. Not much more to say. In the My News headlines, we see that the EgyptAir flight recorder was found:
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For the PM update, we went with a retro genealogy 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.]

Friday, November 08, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Nov. 8, 1999 -- Stop Losing Cash; Plan Travel Now

November 8, 1999: We started off Monday with cash raining from the sky; while "Stop Losing Cash" is a good, anxiety-inducing headline, though I'm not sure exactly what it means:
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For the PM update, we went back to travel bargains, with yet another blue plane:
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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, November 07, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Nov. 7, 1999 -- Sports Roundup (Who's that QB?)

November 7, 1999: Another Sunday, another football promo. I have to admit my knowledge of 1999 quarterbacks is lacking -- can anyone tell me who it is?
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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, November 06, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Nov. 6, 1999 -- Saturday Love

November 6, 1999: For Saturday, we went with more stock photo kissy face:
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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, November 05, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Nov. 5, 1999 -- Weekend Fun With a Different "Bachelor"; Download Lara Croft

November 5, 1999: We headed into the weekend with The Bachelor--a movie, not related to any reality TV show--featuring a post-Batman & Robin, pre-NCIS Chris O'Donnell:
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For the PM update, we went once again to the Lara Croft well:
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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, November 04, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Nov. 4, 1999 -- Buy a New Home; Easy Shopping

November 4, 1999: Thursday started with homebuying, though the My News headline references a roaming gunman who put Seattle on edge:
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For the PM update, we went with a super-generic shopping promo, with one notable item: I'm not sure what a Y2K Catalog was, though I think it was more along the lines Year 2000 novelty sunglasses and not survivalist 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.]

Sunday, November 03, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Nov. 3, 1999 -- Airfare Sale Ends Today; Pokemon and Pikachu


November 3, 1999: So we don't have the full context of the page, but apparently yesterday's Xerox murders didn't even rate a top promo treatment. Instead, we went back to airfare sales (the first travel promo since the EgyptAir crash a few days before):1999_11_03
For the PM update, we kept the red color scheme and went again with Pokemon (we didn't bother with any accent marks); of the Pokemon promos we'd done (and there weren't that many), I don't think we used any Pokemon other than Pikachu:
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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, November 02, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Nov. 2, 1999 -- Pick Stocks; New Music; Xerox Shooting

November 2 1999: For the morning lineup, we went green for picking stocks, finding top mutual funds, and tracking the stock market. (Remember, we were inside a still-expanding bubble and had just announced a 2-for-1 stock split, so the market was on all our minds.)
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For the PM update, we went with new music, leading with Mariah Carey and the release of Rainbow; we also referenced Jewel clips and photos. In the My News headlines, we also referenced a mass shooting at a Xerox Corporation building in Hawaii:
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It was also Election Day, though it was an off-year one so it wasn't a big deal.

[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, November 01, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Nov. 1, 1999 -- EgyptAir Flight 990 Crash; Find a New Job

November 1, 1999: We started November with continuing coverage of the EgyptAir Flight 990 crash (once again, I only have a partial preview of the home page):
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For the PM update, we inexplicably continued using the same red color scheme, only repurposed for a generic Find A New Job 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.]