After 20 years on the market, AOL will discontinue AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) as of December 15, 2017. To that, we say, AOL Instant Messenger RIP. Rest in Peace.
Why is AIM being eliminated? One big reason is the growth of chat and other messaging services. As a result, AIM is obsolete. Today, many companies also offer online chat for shoppers. For example, see this post. Using Live Chat Software to Enhance the Online Experience.
The Hey Day of AIM
In looking back at 1997, keep these factors in mind. The Internet was in its infancy. E-mail was emerging. There was no chat software. People connected with modems, not through broadband. The opportunity for the new service of “instant messaging” was enormous. Enter AIM.
As Josh Constine reports for TechCrunch:
“Initially, the chat experience was built into AOL desktop. AIM launched as a standalone app in 1997. Its iconic Away Messages were the ancestor to modern tweets and status updates. It battled for supremacy with ICQ and messengers from Yahoo and Microsoft MSN.”
And these are Scott Neuman’s observations for NPR:
“For many of us, AIM conjures up memories of dial-up modems, the sound of a ‘handshake’, and the phrase ‘You’ve Got Mail.’ ‘AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed,’ says Michael Albers, of Oath Inc., a subsidiary of Verizon that bought AOL.”
At its peak in 2001, AIM attracted 100 million subscribers. In 2017 terms, that number may seem small. Think Facebook. But in 2001, this figure was huge. And as late as 2006, AIM accounted for a 52 percent market share for instant messaging market in the United States.
Nostalgic? Watch this YouTube video.
AOL Instant Messenger RIP
In sum, Neuman notes:
“Eventually text messaging, Google’s GChat, and Facebook took over. At the same time, AIM never fully figured out the shift to mobile. That led to AOL’s fall from grace, going from being valued at $224 billion in today’s money to $4.4 billion when sold to Verizon in 2015. For context on the business AOL let slip away, WhatsApp sold that same year to Facebook for more than $19 billion.”
How low has AIM fallen? As Rani Molli reports for Recode: “As of August 2017, AIM had about 500,000 unique monthly visitors in the U.S., according to data from measurement company comScore. That doesn’t tell us exactly how many users AIM has, but it gives us a good idea of its audience.”
13 Replies to “AOL Instant Messenger RIP”
This post was very nostalgic to me, as AIM was the first account I ever had on any computer as a young kid. It is sad to see AIM go, but the reality is that it has become absolutely obsolete, now that we have communication at our finger tips. This is just another great example of how in today’s fast changing world, you either adapt or die.
I’m sure many millennials can relate to the video as I could, as the sounds of AIM brought back many memories of using my first form of instant messaging. As sad as this post is for me, I cannot say that the final death of AIM does not surprise me. It is crazy how instant messaging through texts and other apps such as Facebook and Instagram are now a casual and normal part of our daily lives. But it is for this reason that AIM is now being eliminated. Honestly, I haven’t heard any news about AIM in such a long time that I had assumed it was already deleted. Nonetheless, AIM had provided a revolutionary and fun service that began the start of instant messaging that I’m sure many 90’s kids will never forget.
AIM was a pivotal part of my childhood. I remember begging my parents for months to allow me to make up an account so I could keep in touch with my friends and of course be allowed the same privileges as my older sister. Watching this video made me quite nostalgic. However, I do understand as to why AIM has come to its demise. Like Moises said, AIM has become obsolete and there is no use for it anymore. We have snapchat, imessage, facebook etc. We live in a world where technology is changing at a rapid pace. It is a weird thought to think that maybe imessage and snapchat and other relevant technologies in our life today may become obsolete in 10-15 years.
The discontinuance of AIM has caused quite the reaction in the internet/social media world. Despite that many people haven’t used AIM in years, it is sad for us to see it go. AIM was a useful tool for chatting with friends and family in the late 90’s and 2000’s but after all of these years it is time for AIM to go. It is not a surprise to see it go, after all, there are so many social media sites and apps that incorporate the idea of instant messaging but have added more of what people want for instance: Facebook, instagram, even twitter. At this point, maintaining and updating AIM would not benefit the company and I think that AOL, now Oath, will use those resources to create something new and timely to succeed.
I am not surprised that AIM is being discontinued because there are so many other messaging platforms that are easier to use and more widely used internationally. I personally have never used AIM. Many of my foreign relatives and friends use WhatsApp. I have always used WhatsApp because its easy and free to use. In America I have also noticed that people predominately use Facebook Messenger for communicating, especially because the chats generally correlate to a Facebook group. Also iMessage is used by probably every iPhone user and is personally my favorite way of communicating with people because I don’t need service, just wifi.
Aim was ahead of its time and managed capitalize on the birth of the internet. There was no other way to communicate instantly online. The market was so young and many firms didn’t see a way to take advantage of it. As time went on other firms saw how AIM was successful and used some concept to excel past them. AIM wasn’t able to change with the enhancement to technology. Other platforms offered many other things AIM did not. It didn’t make much changes and they lost users and numbers is important when dealing with social platforms. AIM just wasn’t “cool” anymore.
I do remember the first time using a computer and being blown away by the, now rudimentary, features. Playing pinball, minesweeper and yes creating an aim account. It is sad to see them go because they really were the flagship for other messaging platforms to follow. I can recall using emojis on that site! Many believe apple pioneered that but nope many other chat platforms have used this in the past. It is true that the site is incredibly obsolete to the point where many of us didn’t know they were closing shop up until this post. So thank you AIM for all you did with us but will I miss you? I don’t think so..
Millennials everywhere are probably mourning the loss of AIM. It was one of the first forms of messaging and “advanced” technology that was accessible to people. The fact that it is now so far behind in the world of technology just goes to show that sometimes, no matter how hard one tries to market a product or keep a product relevant, other products and means of doing things come along and overtake the market. I think the last time I used my AIM account was in 6th grade, before I got a phone. With technology now increasing and kids now getting phones at younger ages, I’m surprised AIM even lasted as long as it did.
Even though I never used AIM I can understand why others feel very nostalgic about it. Especially when there was no other way to communicate with friends. In think in this day and age it is so easy to find someone and contact them that there is really no reason for there to be an AIM service anymore.
I remember signing into AIM everyday after school when i was younger and talking to all my friends on it, so its weird to see it being shut down after all this time but with all the new social media outlets out there today AIM just became out dated and not as useful as it used to be.
Aim used to be the way kids would communicate with each other back in the day. I remember I would log in on my computer everyday after school and talk to my friends. It is sad to see it go but there is no need for it today due to the new outlet of social media and so much easier to communicate with on another.
This was going to happen sooner or later. There are products launched in a market with a special objective and if it no longer supports the cause than it has to be taken away for the better. AOL has faced a similar fate as people have moved away from using messengers and there are products in market that offer a better value. Messengers such as WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook have taken over the internet and people use that asm it’s easy and convenient.BBM is into a similar thing where it was once a groundbreaking software and now not many people use it.
As a former user of AIM, it’s sad to see the platform go. I must say, though, I’m shocked it managed to stay around for this long. Texting and social media messengers such as Facebook have become some widespread and easy to use that AIM didn’t stand a chance. Rest easy, old friend.