Aol proclaims AIM is OMG since 1997. But today its users are saying OMG for a different reason entirely.
Just days after major Aol layoffs effectively gutted the AIM division, many users are unable to log into the service because their passwords were apparently reset. Worse yet, Aol support was reportedly somewhat clueless as well, asking users to verify accounts using the email originally used to set up AIM. Do you remember where you were 12 years ago?
The problem started popping up mid-afternoon. Users could not log into the service. The passwords simply did not work. I watched Joel Johnson slowly degrade into a pile of rage as he navigated Aol’s support staff in vain to get his AIM account back. A quick Twitter search shows the problem is widespread and not just limited to AIM.com or Aol’s AIM client; users of third-party chat programs like iChat, Pidgin, and Adium cannot log into the service as well.
This mass password reset suspiciously happens just a week and a half after Aol laid off 40 AIM staffers reportedly, leaving behind just a minimal support staff. Inside job? It’s hard to say but it’s also hard to dismiss the idea.
Aol insists that they are not killing the 15-year-old chatting institution.
Several hours after the problem arose, users are still having issues logging in. Those that still have access to the email linked to their account should be able to reset their password without issue. The rest of us, well, the rest of us are shut out in the dark since we never updated our AIM profiles with current email addresses. My email 14 years ago when I made my current AIM screen name? Check98mate@yahoo.com. Yeah, I’ve always been a dork.
Apparently the issue is being worked on. At least that’s what one of my Aol counterparts told Gizmodo. The Aol and AIM twitter account are disappointedly quiet despite the confused raging currently aimed in their direction. Adium and Meebo are actively troubleshooting the issue for their users on Twitter, though — and it’s not even their problem. It might be easier to duck and cover when people are throwing shit your way, but not manning up will only cause them to throw more.
Full disclosure: TechCrunch is owned by Aol.