Thinking about AOL probably brings back a handful of memories like the iconic sound of a dial-up modem, the excitement of hearing the phrase “you’ve got mail,” or sending messages on AIM (a service AOL never wanted to launch). AOL was undeniably a ‘90s icon.
Arguably, one of the most successful direct mail campaigns in the ‘90s was conducted by AOL. With the Internet in its early stages, AOL sent free trial CDs right to people’s mailboxes. The campaign had a 10 percent response rate, which helped the company grow steadily. However, December 1 is the day that the Internet really took off because it’s the day when AOL announced that their service was going unlimited.
The plan gave users unlimited access for only $19.95 a month—a huge jump from five hours of access for $9.95 a month. This allowed AOL to grow its customer base by over one million users, and it sparked a widespread adoption of the Internet. This week marks the 20th anniversary of AOL’s big announcement, and in honor of it, this Tech Time Warp looks at a couple AOL throwbacks we think you’ll enjoy.
While AOL might make most people nostalgic, when Verizon acquired AOL in 2015 there were still two million dial-up users—42 percent of them 55 years or older—who had no intention of changing their services. While this cringe-worthy sound might not bring back fond memories for everyone, we hope it can bring a smile to your face—mostly because you don’t have to listen to it on a daily basis!
You’ve Got Mail
E-mail used to be so exciting to get—especially because there wasn’t an abundance of junk mail like there is now. But, perhaps the greatest thing about it was hearing that voice say ”You’ve Got Mail” as soon as you logged onto the Internet.
Well, if you live in Ohio and are an Uber user you could be in luck! The voice of your AOL inbox, also known as Elwood Edwards, now drives for Uber.
The Internet, and our inboxes, have certainly come a long way in 20 years. While AOL might not have created the Internet, we’re certainly glad that it helped it become a widely adopted service.