Actual messages from AOL's Welcome screen...

Ted Leonsis has said he wants to "program" AOL content, encouraging users to spend more time on AOL. He must be discouraged that they're spending less than 15% of their time on the internet. (According to Steve Case in December.)

So in 1996 AOL started planting net advertisements on the "Welcome Screen".

From scuba diving to Scientology. Interact with other opinionated netters in a newsgroup.

Some have wondered why AOL chose those particular newsgroups. It was pointed out in that AOL would be making $3.00 an hour off every flame war their users provoked--almost encouraging bad netiquette by branding all non-AOL users "opinionated netters".

Months later, AOL changed that message to

Join an internet newsgroup to sit in on discussions on thousands of topics.

It's not a coincidence. Here's how they later described mailing lists...

Get info on any topic delivered to your e-mail address. Join a mailing list.

No mention is made of the fact that you can also post.

More actual messages from AOL's Welcome screen....

Shiny objects always catching your eye? You're perfect for AOL's Treasure Hunt! (4/21/96)

Toilet paper...Do we really NEED it? Check out today's Fabulous Fact (4/21/96)

Who'd win a fight: God or a UFO? Go to SPIN's Boreds and discuss. (4/11/96)

Mad Cow Disease. Deadly or Media Hype? (4/11/96)

Give dad a 30 million year old insect in amber from the Nature Company! (5/20)

Play AOL's Treasure Hunt! It's like strapping yourself to a rocket! Sort of. (4/27/96)

Don't look up! Bird droppings, what YOU need to know - today's Fabulous Fact! (4/21/96)

Life on AOL - Part II
Sneak Preview - Part III
Life on AOL - Part IV
Life on AOL - Part V
Life on AOL - Part VI
Life on AOL - Part VII
Life on AOL - Part VIII
Life on AOL - Part IX
Life on AOL - Part X
Life on AOL - Part XI
Life on AOL - Part XII
Life on AOL - Part XIII
Life on AOL - Part XIV
Life on AOL - Part XV
Life on AOL - Part XVI
Life on AOL - Part XVII

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