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Online! The Book by Wendy Taylor, Chris Pirillo, John C. Dvorak

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Consumer IM Takes Off

What developed in the late 1990s was a surge in IM proliferation. This allowed instant and direct connection of people across the entire Internet. Consumers (many of whom were kids and teenagers) who began to use the technology to chat with friends drove the initial wave. As IM became more popular, it began to feed on itself, driving “viral marketing,” essentially a phenomenon where the people who have it create more of a need for it (word-of-mouth marketing).

AOL acquired Mirabilis for approximately $287 million in 1998, when the service had expanded to more than 10 million users. Soon thereafter, AOL introduced its own IM platform, AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). Adding to the ranks of ICQ and AIM, Microsoft and Yahoo! developed ...

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