Sunday, December 11, 2005


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 being written.

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 weren't.

FROM THE LOVE TRAIN's journal: John Scalzi announced the AIM blogs and stated in his May 5, 2005 entry:

"The 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.


ladeeoftheworld said...

It is very different now........agreed.  The excitement is gone.  Hmmm.

screaminremo303 said...

I'm keeping my journal open just to piss them off. AOL, I mean.

It's an approach that has served me well at the PD.

psychfun said...

I'm leaving over christmas break. No time now but I will go to a banner free one!

globetrotter2u said...

Very, very well said, Mrs. L.

I for one am very glad that for the most part the dust seems to have settled. I also agree that the moves were a little bit precipitious and different planning could have been more effective. I also felt from the beginning that AOL wouldn't give a rat's ass about the exodus of anyone, so who the hell was anyone kidding in thinking they could make a difference? Though I certainly also understand the principal behind the leaving and am not faulting anyone with any decision that was made. Thinking things out  a bit in advance may have averted some of the hurt feelings that erupted after the exodus, but then again, maybe not...

In the end, I have Miss Piggy's journal of truly tasteless bullshit open here on AOL and a pied a terre for my more esoteric ramblings in a gilded cage at Blogspot. I personally will not leave AOL entirely unless my ass gets blown out for indecency!

Hopefully, this division of the community will become similar to the snow birds here in Florida, bouncing back and forth between two homes but staying in touch with the friends in both places.

In the end, it was just a terrible way to end the fun and excitement of the VIVIs and the VULVIS.


elleme2 said...

Click your screen name and it will bring you to the "Member Profile" (which the honorable Mrs. L. has left empty) and you will see:

"AOL Journals - Express your thoughts in a FREE online blog." and:

"What are people saying? Journals (or blogs) are great for saying what's on your mind. Browse other people's Journals, see top picks and create your own for FREE at AOL Journals"

I never paid much attention before, but I don't remember ever seeing the repeated reference to free journals.  It appears one does not need to be an AOL member, and this is not an AIM Journal, either.

swibirun said...

A great entry, Mrs. L.  I am enjoying my new blog but I read the journals I want, regardless of the url.  I do think that there has been an "innocence lost" with this whole thing and many people feel jaded.  I think that time will heal most wounds, but I agree it will never be "the same" again.  It is unfortunate.


bluwave9 said...

Well said.

No URL discrimination here.  I'll read you wherever you chose to write.

pattboy2006 said...

You know, if AOL was so sure that the 600,000 figure they are so quick to give was accurate, they'd be happy to provide a directory on their own, so everyone could visit all of the journals out there.

Nope, I'm not holding my breath for that, either.

I've seen lots of journals with one or two entries from a year ago.  Maybe that's the kind of journal AOL is counting in that number?  Even so, 600,000 seems beyond ridiculous to me.

AOL seems to be convinced that no matter how many people leave, the money they're making on the ads themselves will offset those losses.  


coy1234787 said...

No ... it's not over!
 *** Coy ***

sunnyside46 said...

I miss everyone