The AIM profile, which eventually grew to include a variety of its own features, came out of the fact that the AIM website was out of the control of the engineers. In many ways, AIM was right in line with the times, just at a company hanging on to a business model that would soon become obsolete. Image: Bob Al-Greene The seeds of AIM began within AOL and the mind of Barry Appelman. The engineers and product team had to fight against executives who recognized no value — perhaps even a losing proposition — in offering a free program. Image: Bob Al-Greene Ghosttown, USA Despite the wild success of AIM and the innovations it spawned, AOL kept it at arm’s length. Layoffs started in 2002 and continued yearly through 2005. Barry Appelman, Eric Bosco and Jerry Harris worked at AOL in the 1990s and early 2000s as engineers on AOL Instant Messenger, known commonly as AIM. The company quietly released AOL Instant Messenger, known commonly as AIM, in May 1997 aim adult chat. They couldn t make that leap where they turned the business upside down aim adult chat. AOL was very much anti-open source, Bosco said. Pictured are some of the engineers that worked on AIM. AOL had become a behemoth in the early days of the consumer Internet. Microsoft also got in the game with MSN messenger. With most systems of that era, an administrator might be able to tell people were logged on, but they didn t know who. AOL was not about to change its entire business model for AIM.
Thus, MSN Messenger launched with the ability to chat with AIM accounts. So we were like, Well, we ve got to try blocking them so they can t do this. AIM did eventually begin to bring in money, but not in significant amounts. ” Appelman called in a favor to the head of AOL s data centers, who happened to have some old Hewlett-Packard servers he d planned to ship back to HP. In another life, before a disastrous acquisition of Time Warner, it brought the Internet into the homes of Americans and controlled the program that popularized online messaging without ever really meaning to. While public, AOL s FTP was not meant to be a consumer-facing platform. One feature automatically probed for a way to connect if its primary port was blocked; AIM would run through all the available ports until it found one that was not. Like with any part of AIM, the warning feature became a battle between the engineers and the rest of AOL. Bosco, Harris and Appelman have moved into advertising at ChoiceStream, which works on highly targeted programmatic marketing campaigns. AOL is still pivoting away from its days as an ISP. After Napster took off, AOL’s engineers figured out a way to make a user’s files searchable. AOL’s infrastructure had trouble handling the transition. Its disks could be found almost anywhere. The app, which Facebook bought for $16 billion, is essentially what they worked on in the mid 90s — messaging over the Internet. Image: Jerry Harris Image: Jerry Harris Above: one of the easter eggs AOL engineers included in the program and a sharper version of that image.
But with AIM bringing essentially zero revenue and costing money to operate, AOL did little to encourage the exploration of the features and outright blocked others. And most likely the workplace would not be amused. This function became so overrun with requests that its servers often crashed.. People would camp on that FTP server waiting for the update, which came weekly. Despite a variety of tricks to increase the impact of its ad space — including determining when a person stopped typing so the ad could change with maximum impact — advertisers never bought in. Image from WIM s investor reception in the summer of 2012. That night we got 900 simultaneous users, Bosco said. Its own innovations had helped keep it on the cutting edge, but it began to fall behind as other services opened up. Bosco recounted times he would message a coworker with an urgent question and wait for a reply. Appelman reasoned that instead of having to ask, the program might as well tell you if your friends were online. You didn t have to check whether somebody was on, but it told you, Appelman said. Early success did little to convince AOL management that a free product was of any good to the company. Under the leadership of Tim Armstrong it now focuses on video and its ad network. That requirement meant AOL s messenger would need its own code, particularly as the resources allotted to the project — technically none — would have trouble with that scale. Before building a messaging program for the Internet, he created something else that would eventually spawn AIM.
It released an update to its MSN Messenger program that self-identified as AIM. .