AOL’s ‘The Internet Is Bad’ Commercial was Ahead of Its Time
Even though AOL failed in a spectacular way, they did manage to hit the nail on the head on their way out. The Internet evolved into a somewhat dangerous place. Of course, this is partly based on the places you visit on the web, but as we've learned through countless congressional hearings from tech-giants like Facebook, Amazon, and Google... Nothing is sacred on the web.
When this commercial came out, everyone thought it was just a cheap scare-tactic piece of propaganda to drive more consumers to AOL's browser platform. If you've watched any of the tech show and documentaries covering that particular time, you know it was a cutthroat business. Everybody wanted a piece of the ad revenue you could provide them by just clicking through to endless pages of information. As more of the larger companies absorbed and overtook more of the smaller outfits (think Netscape and such), AOL was one of the first giants that suddenly started looking smaller and smaller as their platform starting lagging behind.
Sure, this is most likely a piece of propaganda to drive people to their "Safe and Secure Web Platform"... but you have to admit, looking back twenty years later, they hit it dead on.
All wasn't bad though. There was also a small positive commercial they ran in equal rotation to seduce the optimistic internet user back then too. While it wasn't enough to save a dumpster-fire company like AOL, it's interesting to look back on now.