An Internet History - The AOL CDs


Today I had a four hour drive and as usually when I am traveling by myself I put on some podcasts to listen to.

Internet History Podcast by Brian McCullough from Techmeme Ride Home had an episode that dropped on Saturday interviewing Jan Brandt whom worked at AOL and was responsable for the marketing campaign that gave the world a billion AOL CDs.

I knew about the AOL CDs because they were even a thing here in Brazil for a while, but I didn’t know (spoilers ahead) that the CDs were available at Blockbuster, in their sample box which was given to customers for every three movies they rented, and would contain products samples (like popcorn and candies), Blockbuster discounts and the AOL CD.

Other interesting places that the campaign places there CDs was at the frozen Omaha Premium Quality Steaks and that the time they did that it wasn’t CDs but floppy disks instead and they had to test if a frozen floppy disk would still work. They also distributed the CD at some internal US flights together with the customers meal trays. Fascinating stuff.

I kind of couldn’t stop thinking that a billion CDs is a lot and I’m glad we are over that form of distribution now because the amount of waist that it generated must have been ginormous.

The podcast, off course, does talk about of other stuff, including the selling for Time-Warner and worth listening to in my opinion.

Nevertheless I love this type of stories from the times that we were growing up and we lived through and the people that were behind it.