America Online (AOL) Disc


Growing from the services of PlayNET and Quantum Link, America Online (AOL) was founded in 1991 to provide Internet and email access to customers through its web portal with a user-friendly graphical interface. AOL service was originally sold by the hour. In 1993 AOL began mailing discs to prospective customers in one of the largest and most aggressive direct-mail campaigns ever. Discs contained the software needed to use AOL and provided a few hours of free service. This 3.5-inch floppy disk was mailed around 1995, and included fifteen hours of free AOL access. As the number of AOL users swelled to around eight million by 1996, AOL discs became ubiquitous in America’s mailboxes and the log-on greeting of “you’ve got mail” permeated the cultural consciousness. As other Internet service providers and broadband access entered the market, AOL discs began to offer hundreds and thousands of free hours.


Wendy Grossman, Net.wars (New York: New York University Press, 1997).

For information on AOL’s disc campaign, see Jan Brandt served as AOL’s Chief Marketing Officer from 1993 until 2003.

Date Made: ca 1998

Maker: America Online, Inc.

Place Made: United States: Virginia, Vienna

See more items in: Medicine and Science: Computers, Computers & Business Machines, American Enterprise

Exhibition: American Enterprise

Exhibition Location: National Museum of American History

Credit Line: Gift of Bernard S. Finn

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2010.3015.05Catalog Number: 2010.3015.05Nonaccession Number: 2010.3015

Object Name: software

Physical Description: plastic (overall material)paper (overall material)cellophane (overall material)Measurements: overall: 12.2 cm x 19 cm x .3 cm; 4 13/16 in x 7 1/2 in x 1/8 in


Record Id: nmah_1395721

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