5 Shocking Facts You Probably Didn't Know About AOL

On February 7, 2011, AOL Inc. announced its purchase of The Huffington Post website to the tune of $315 million. Here are five shocking facts about the web portal and online service provider that you probably didn't know...


AOL Was Originally Named "Quantum Computer Services" AOL was founded in 1985 as Quantum Computer Services, an online services company by Jim Kimsey from the remnants of Control Video Corporation. In 1991, Quantum was renamed America Online. AOL became one of the early pioneers of the Internet, providing dial-up service to over 30 million members worldwide. In 2001, at the height of its popularity, it purchased the media conglomerate Time Warner in the largest merger in U.S. history. AOL rapidly declined thereafter, partly due to the decline of dial-up and rise of broadband.

The Man Who Recorded The Iconic "You've Got Mail" Notification Was Paid Only $200. For years, AOL users would look forward to the alert, "You've Got Mail!" after opening their computers. This famous phrase would signify that messages were waiting to be read. Elwood Edwards is the man behind the "You've Got Mail!" voice notification. What's interesting is that not only did Edwards' wife volunteer his voice to then-CEO Steve Case, but Edwards recorded the voice snippet on a cassette deck. The folks at AOL then digitized it to add to their software. Edwards was paid only $200, and never received any royalties from his one-time gig.


The Voice Behind AOL's Slogan is Now an Uber Driver Elwood may have been paid $200 for recording a short phrase that only took less than a couple of seconds to utter, but that didn't pay the bills. And the fact that he didn't see any royalties roll in over the years didn't help. The voice behind AOL's famous "You've Got Mail," now drives for the rideshare company Uber in Ohio.

At One Point AOL Made Half of All CDs Produced During the 1990s, it seemed like a signup CD for AOL came in the mail every other day. At one point, 50 percent of the CDs produced worldwide had an AOL logo on it.  These CDs were created to give people a way to connect to the internet and  contained a free trial for AOL. The CDs showed up frequently in the mail, in magazine inserts, and attached to cereal boxes. The company paid Blockbuster, Barnes & Noble, and other chains to help distribute their CDs. They were at one point, even included with frozen Omaha steaks, which meant that the CDs had to be tested for resilience after freezing and thawing. 

Millions of People Still Use AOL's Dial-up Service You'd probably guess that most AOL users jumped ship in favor of broadband internet connections. But believe it or not, AOL still had 2 million dial-up users, and millions more still have aol.com email addresses
While the aol email address is seen as a sign of refusing to keep up with the times, the reality is that, after 20 or 30 years with the same email address, switching to a new one can be a major hassle.