Oath Is Shutting Down AOL Instant Messenger for Good

It's the end of an era

Oath is shutting down AOL Instant Messenger, which years ago 'ignited a cultural shift.' Aim Memories
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Oath is finally putting the little yellow running man to bed.

Before there was Twitter or Facebook or Snapchat or MySpace, there was AOL Instant Messenger—the social network of choice for many millennials and Gen Xers throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. However, the Verizon-owned service is shutting down after 20 years, on Dec. 15.

In a blog post, Oath vp of communications product Michael Albers said the messaging service “tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift.” However, he said the way people now communicate has changed.

“If you were a ’90s kid, chances are there was a point in time when AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) was a huge part of your life,” he wrote. “You likely remember the CD, your first screen name, your carefully curated away messages, and how you organized your buddy lists. Right now you might be reminiscing about how you had to compete for time on the home computer in order to chat with friends outside of school.”

The news comes as Oath—the umbrella brand for AOL and Yahoo-owned media and tech properties–continues to integrate its products and services since Verizon officially acquired Yahoo earlier this year.

@martyswant martin.swant@adweek.com Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.