The dust has begun to settle on the AD BANNER FIASCO. As far as AOL and its editors are concerned, it's forgotten.
As far as the AOL journalers are concerned,
we will never forget. A new chapter begins. But the last one is still
The cataclysm has passed, but the aftershocks won't be over for a long time.
Upper management would like us to think we were hallucinating when we
say we were told that our paid journals would be ad-free. But we
FROM THE LOVE TRAIN's journal: John Scalzi announced the AIM blogs and stated in his May 5, 2005 entry:
cat's out of the bag: AOL is announcing today... (the real difference is
that AIM Blogs, being a free service, have an ad at the top, whereas AOL
Journals, as part of your paid AOL account, are ad-free.)"
Thus, the Exodus, led by the outrage of community leaders like Armand,
Judith, Viv, and Patrick has continued for several weeks as over two
hundred other journalers have packed up and left.
AOL would have the world believe there are 600,000 active journals
here. Those numbers are more inflated than Pamela Anderson's implants.
That way they can make you think that losing two hundred journals
[and it may be as high as 500] wouldn't make a blip. But even if you double the number listed in
our Journals Directory, you're only talking about two thousand blogs. The actual count of known blogs is 995.
Whether it's a tenth, a fifth, or as much as a third or even half of the AOL
journals community saying hasta la bye bye, one thing is for sure, the
leaders are gone.
Some people moved out so quickly there was food still cooking on the
stove. Others left the lights on for the rest of us with maps to
their new locations. Some made plans to stay away until the ad banners
cease. One very high profille person, Patrick, shockingly moved everything
entirely out of the community and deleted all evidence that he was
ever here. One of our most patient, conciliatory constituents, he
stunned us with his final declaration of disgust at AOL's arrogance and lack of compromise.
For the time being the number of those leaving seems to be slowing
down. Not that it's over. For various reasons, some of us need more
time to get out of Dodge, so we have one foot in AOL and another
someplace else, as we ease on down the road. Others are staying, but
their heart strings are attached to those who've left.
After theinitial sense of loss and disconnection, certainly on my
part, concerted efforts are being made to keep us together no matter
where we are. The community lives. Long live the community.
New URL's are being sent around. Email lists are
being compiled by the new "bloggers" to keep friends posted on recent
entires. Tutorials on navigating the slippery slopes of HTML code are
popping up. We're all still standing and starting to seek each other
out again. The community remains as strong as ever.
At first I was feeling anxious and sad because of the turmoil. After the
battle was lost, the Exodus felt like a precipitous decision. Not
that it was wrong. But it occurred to me we could have made it
work for us a little better. Perhaps planning it so that we all
dumped our journals on the same day at the same time, with an
announcement to the press to precede the event. And refreshments. Haaa.
Now, at least, there's time to manage our anger in new, perhaps even
more creative ways. We got mad. Now we can get even. As
they say, revenge is best served cold.
There are too many competent, clever people in our J-Land community to
allow it to fall apart. And too many good writers to let AOL off
the hook with their corporate greed.
Death by a thousand cuts
takes longer, but the result can still be the same.