Verizon to buy Yahoo for $5bn


Twenty-one years ago, Yahoo became the soul of the nascent web. Now it's telco food, to be eaten by Verizon for $5bn.

Verizon is also the proud owner of AOL, snagged last year for $4.4bn. At their height, the two lynchpins of the 90s' WWW were worth about $350 billion—at least to those unlucky enough to buy tech shares in 2000.

Verizon plans to unite the two companies to create a Facebook-killer made of nostalgia and its own users' personal information—and the zoo of startups and internet publishers the two companies gobbled up in their dying years.

The US telecoms giant is expected to merge Yahoo with AOL, to create a digital group capable of taking on the likes of Google and Facebook.

Verizon bought AOL - another faded internet star -in a $4.4bn deal last year, which gave it ownership of the Huffington Post, Techcrunch, Engadget and other news sites.

Shortly afterwards, Verizon announced it would start combining data about its mobile network subscribers - which is tied to their handsets - with the tracking information already gathered by AOL's sites.

Update: It struck me that Yahoo is custodian of Tumblr and Yahoo Answers, two of the last real refuges for girls and young women on the 'net. Verizon will want to kill or heavily sanitize both. Read the rest

The man behind AOL's "You've got mail!" voice of the 1990s


Long before Siri and Alexa, there was good ol' Elwood Edwards. If you ever logged on to America Online in the 1990s, you enjoyed the dopamine rush of Edwards cheerfully informing you that "You've got mail!"

Read the rest

AOL history through the NYT Crossword

Quartz tells the history of AOL, 1997-2011, through clues and answers in the New York Times Crossword Puzzle. They did it using their simple app for searching NYT Crossword clues. Above, "105-Across: Co. that owns Moviefone" Read the rest

Trying to close your AOL account is suspicious activity

A few days ago, AOL fired the staff developing AIM, its long-running instant messaging system. Having done this, it reset user accounts, locking them out of third-party IM clients until they confirmed and updated decade-old personal information. Having done so, I was displeased at such a shameless data mining ploy and tried to cancel AOL/AIM entirely. This is what resulted:

Bear in mind that I was already logged in and could change any account setting I pleased. Who knew that when AOL said it has "no plans" to end service, it was responding to customer demands? Read the rest

AOL quits Rush, "working on" removing ads

AOL is the latest advertiser to bail on radio host Rush Limbaugh following his description of activist Sandra Fluke as as a "slut" and "prostitute". Reuters' Anthony De Rosa cites an AOL source as saying it's "working on" removing Rush-linked promotions from the site.

It's strange to think of website so vast and operationally complicated that one is literally incapable of changing what's on it in a hurry. Perhaps the servers are ringed by moats of lava and defended by crocodiles. Don't you just hate it when that happens?

UPDATE. Say hello to bg_hero-NoRush.jpg, who lacks Rush's weirdly coquettish stance, but hints at a greater majesty with his purple attire and Mediterranean countenance. Read the rest