AOL launches AIM Blogs using AOL Journals — Usenet, part deux?

John Panzer writes in his blog about yesterday’s launch and announcement of AIM Blogs, the free-to-the-web version of AOL Journals for AIM users. All you need is an AIM screen name which you can get by clicking here, then you can go and create your blog.

While I think it’s great that AOL is embracing the free web audience and offering up some quality products, I keep fearing in the back of my mind that this could be deja vu of what AOL did to Usenet by unleashing its millions of members there without any kind of guidance of netiquette, best practices and so on. With the issue of bandwidth “stealing” through hot-linking images and other rich-media assets directly from other people’s websites, imagine what will happen when millions of AIM users start creating blogs and hot-linking images all over their blogs. Or AIM bloggers who just plagiarize other people’s content without providing the appropriate attribution to the sources where the content is quoted from?

Time will tell if the reaction to AIM Blogs is “welcome, new members of the blogosphere!” or “aww crap, there goes the neighborhood.” I’m praying for the former, rather than the latter, but in AOL tradition of just handing products over to the technologically ignorant 50% of the Internet’s users without any guidance or education on how to be good corporate netizens, I fear it’ll be the latter. I hope I’ll be proven wrong.

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