Call now for a free start-up kit!
January 21, 2015 7:09 PM   Subscribe

 
The original 1995 AOL version, of which this is a shot-for-shot remake.
posted by zachlipton at 7:13 PM on January 21, 2015 [18 favorites]


That's absolutely perfect.
posted by odinsdream at 7:15 PM on January 21, 2015


Man. That original reminds me of something I saw today: The original Microsoft Songsmith commercial
posted by glaucon at 7:20 PM on January 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


I just today sent some mail to someone with an AOL address and reflected how much my attitude about aol.com addresses have changed. They used to be a sign of a clueless newbie, now they're a sign of someone who has been online for many years.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:23 PM on January 21, 2015 [16 favorites]


Kids are going to think this is real.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:25 PM on January 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


They sold the internet by the hour!

Also I want one of those nice 90s keyboards please.
posted by fshgrl at 7:25 PM on January 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love the looks I get when I give store clerks my AOL address. You don't have to pity me, ma'am; I have a Gmail account, it's just not for you.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:27 PM on January 21, 2015 [28 favorites]


Thank God you don't still have to pay by the hour.
posted by desjardins at 7:27 PM on January 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


Thank God you don't still have to pay by the hour.

That's not what the salesman at the door said.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:30 PM on January 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


For my money, the best part is the inclusion of the last split second of a promo for Silk Stalkings at the beginning of the clip.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:31 PM on January 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


The original Microsoft Songsmith commercial

The best part of that is the fact that the girl is clearly using a MacBook Pro. The top of the Apple logo is even peaking out under the top of the sticker.

Of course, the Songsmith infomercial was created by and stars the actual researchers at Microsoft Research who came up with the thing, so they get slightly more credit then something actually produced by a real ad agency. On the other hand, Songsmith was 2009, so they still have few excuses for acting like a 1995 AOL commercial.
posted by zachlipton at 7:32 PM on January 21, 2015


"Live, cleanse, work and play"?

Exactly what did they think about their target market?
posted by pompomtom at 7:32 PM on January 21, 2015


Oh paying by the hour!

The first month I had internet access, it was with Compuserve. I think it was 9600 or maybe a 14.4 modem. I had the MS-DOS version of the software (my old 286 couldn't run Windows). A version of Lynx was my first browser. There were really no local numbers or access for any online services out in the countryside (where I lived) at that time, so I had to dial in to a city an hour away. This was 1994. Remember how much it cost on the phone back then per minute? This was before all that deregulation and the magic of the market shook everything up (LOL). Add in that, IIRC, Compuserve was the most expensive of the bunch. Looking at the general phone prices from what I can tell it looks like ~19.5 cents/minute (11.75/hour) just for the long distance. An NYTimes article from 1994 says Compuserve base costs was:
Compuserve's basic rate is $8.95 a month for unlimited use of the standard services. If a user stays within the standard services (including news, sports, weather, travel, reference libraries, stock quotes, games and limited electronic mail) it is probably the best deal in the online neighborhood.

Beyond the basic rate, however, things get complicated. Compuserve charges relatively large premiums, from $4.80 to as much as $22.80 an hour, for use of "extended" services.

I'm fairly sure accessing the outside internet cost more than the base fee at that time, though I swear it was less than 4.80/hour, but still fairly expensive, especially when tacked onto the long distance.

In the end, my first month of internet access + surcharge/fees set me back 300 dollars on my minimum wage job while living with my parents, and that was when minimum wage was 4.25/hour...

Yeah, my Dad wasn't happy. At least I never had an AOL account, though! And I was sooooo excited when the University of Wisconsin opened up their own local, rural services since no fucking bullshit corporation would do such a thing at that time...
posted by symbioid at 7:48 PM on January 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh man, remember when everyone used to get those Free Facebook Trial CDs ("1000 Posts Free!") in the mail like once or twice a month? It's pretty impressive that eleven year old Zuckerberg was able to spearhead a promotional campaign of that magnitude.
posted by dephlogisticated at 8:06 PM on January 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Innernette is a Tim and Eric classic in this vein, as well...
posted by symbioid at 8:11 PM on January 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


The original 1995 AOL version, of which this is a shot-for-shot remake.

As soon as we got to "Here come the dot jaypegs" I instantly remembered the dinosaurs. Oh my god, the dinosaurs.
posted by Spatch at 8:25 PM on January 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ha, I enjoyed that. But the part about sending your photos in to be uploaded tickled some distant memory in my brain that I can't quite pin down. Was there some kind of service like that at some point? Was it a dream I had?
posted by aka burlap at 8:43 PM on January 21, 2015


No way this would have been available for Macintosh in 1995. Having all the best software out of reach was part of the Mac experience back then.
posted by dzkalman at 8:47 PM on January 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


No way this would have been available for Macintosh in 1995. Having all the best software out of reach was part of the Mac experience back then

Yes but a pile of Mac users would have been crowing about something not as good that only worked on AppleTalk.
posted by awfurby at 8:57 PM on January 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


> I love the looks I get when I give store clerks my AOL address

Mr. Corpse has a RocketMail address. He plans on leaving it to our son.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:59 PM on January 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


Very cool. I remember paying by the hour, not to mention the hours of waiting to load pretty much anything.
posted by dg at 9:12 PM on January 21, 2015


The comments from the first Facebook post on Metafilter are fun to read - The most addicting website since The Blue:
and suddenly, everyone knows when your birthday is and they all say happy birthday, as if they all knew.

as one of my chums said (who's still to graduate), "it helps a lot when you want to know if that hot guy two rows in front of you in psycholinguistics is gay or straight."

facebook's finest use is for getting the dirt on people you've just met.

It is just another ridiculous popularity contest to see how many "friends" you can rack up

Great for stalking, though. Just like Googling the name of someone you've just met, but much more in-depth.

The real value in the Facebook is the possibility for networking after you leave college (provided it stays up that long, of course).

Facebook is pretty much useless once you get outta college. At least in my experience.
posted by unliteral at 9:57 PM on January 21, 2015 [15 favorites]


The original 1995 AOL version

That guy's kids totally failed their dinosaur assignment.
posted by zennie at 10:01 PM on January 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Now someone should do the ad for the Minitel version of The Facebook (le livre de visage?)
posted by Sophont at 10:17 PM on January 21, 2015


This CANNOT be real, right?
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 10:29 PM on January 21, 2015


It's totally real; this was The Facebook's first ad back in 1996.
posted by Justinian at 1:50 AM on January 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


Holy shit unliteral, that FPP is amazing.
posted by malapropist at 2:20 AM on January 22, 2015


As opposed to this genuine ad for 0898 60 60 60, a British mobile chat service from the 1990s

"You'll get into it really quickly - you can have a laugh and talk to nice people"

(Minimum charge per minute - £36p off-peak, 48pm at all other times)
posted by DanCall at 2:36 AM on January 22, 2015


I just today sent some mail to someone with an AOL address and reflected how much my attitude about aol.com addresses have changed. They used to be a sign of a clueless newbie, now they're a sign of someone who has been online for many years.

I still have and use the AOL account I got when I was fifteen.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:20 AM on January 22, 2015


Holy shit unliteral, that FPP is amazing.
I know. 29 comments on the inception of Facebook, hindsight is a wonderful thing. "provided it stays up that long, of course".
posted by unliteral at 4:06 AM on January 22, 2015


Steve Case was a brilliant marketer. He understood it had to be goofy and non-threatening to the widest audience, intentionally dumb. This is not a reflection of some dumber 1990s, but a marketing strategy to get non-computer people using computers and online services.
posted by stbalbach at 4:50 AM on January 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Paying by the hour, I'd totally forgotten we had to do that.
posted by marxchivist at 5:01 AM on January 22, 2015


For my money, the best part is the inclusion of the last split second of a promo for Silk Stalkings at the beginning of the clip.

The inability of AOL to deliver Greg Evigan with a single click, obviously, was key to its later struggles in the market.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:05 AM on January 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Facebook is on computers now? I remember when the facebook was actually a book that you mailed to your friends who would paste funny newspaper articles they cut out and send them back with drole comments added. It was way better then.
posted by Poldo at 5:49 AM on January 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


He understood it had to be goofy and non-threatening to the widest audience, intentionally dumb. This is not a reflection of some dumber 1990s, but a marketing strategy to get non-computer people using computers and online services.

Yeah, I remember around 1999-2000, when there were a lot of scaremongering pieces in your Newsweeks and TV News about hackers and viruses, AOL had an ad with a bunch of middle-aged people and kids talking about how the internet was fun, not scary! I guess they were trying to scrape up the few people who were still apprehensive about getting online.
posted by lunasol at 7:43 AM on January 22, 2015


I guess they were trying to scrape up the few people who were still apprehensive about getting online.

Yeah the AOL strategy worked until there was no one left to market to the flood of CDs reflected the desperation towards the end. So they found one last sucker, er whale: Time Warner.
posted by stbalbach at 8:08 AM on January 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Facebook is on computers now?

You kid, but I bet lots of people don't know that colleges actually produced paper photo directories called face books.
posted by odinsdream at 9:31 AM on January 22, 2015


as one of my chums said (who's still to graduate), "it helps a lot when you want to know if that hot guy two rows in front of you in psycholinguistics is gay or straight."

Jesus, I really wish Facebook had been around a decade earlier. I had that question in my psy-ling class except it was my professor and I was studying abroad but um, anyway, what was I saying?

"Live, cleanse, work and play"?

There are a few of those straight-faced non-sequitur jokes sprinkled through the whole thing. I think when they were talking about FB-stalking an acquaintance, the guy at the computer said something like, "You can find out about her likes, interests, relationship status, hairs, and religion!" Brilliant.
posted by psoas at 9:52 AM on January 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Justinian: "It's totally real; this was The Facebook's first ad back in 1996."

OK, so now I know it's a certified fake. Thanks, Justinian!
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 12:53 PM on January 22, 2015


You can count on me.
posted by Justinian at 2:45 PM on January 22, 2015


Not only did AOL charge by the hour in the beginning, but it was possible to get a "Sorry, we're too busy to process that request" error when trying to disconnect.
posted by Sibrax at 3:35 PM on January 22, 2015


Looking up first posts comments in general could be fun. How about these regarding Twitter (2 likes, 24 comments, 2007) all of which pretty much remain true today:

Thank goodness there's a finally a way to know if an earthquake is happening near me!

I don't get the point of that Twitter thing, but I'm a joiner, so I joined.

Twitter: I'm in my bathroom, killin' my doodz.

I'm on twitter but I have no friends, so its kind of like i'm talking to myself. CRZY.

What is the point of Twitter?
Anyone?
posted by Muddler at 6:46 PM on January 22, 2015


Looking up first posts comments in general could be fun.
You're right – Flickr (3 favourites, 16 comments, 2004)
Flickr is awesome. It's a shame how difficult it will be to get the whole internet to sign up for yet another 'social software' site.

The idea is good, but the interface is a bit overwhelming.

no matter how many social networks you join, your friends are still going to hate you.
posted by unliteral at 7:30 PM on January 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wasn't the original flickr a weird flash based chat thing with photo sharing which then morphed into regular photo hosting
posted by pixie at 12:05 PM on January 24, 2015


Flickr was originally flash-based, but I wouldn't describe it as 'chat-based' at any point - it's always had photo sharing as the core of its use, as far as I can recall.
posted by dg at 1:43 PM on January 24, 2015


« Older Another frantic day of trading at the New York...   |   The mating call of Mustang Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments