What happened to ICQ?

Danny asks “Why did we all stop using ICQ?”

I’ll tell you why (I was a very early user of ICQ, which was the first instant messaging client that I remembered seeing. It was sold to AOL eventually where it never got best of class status, always remaining spiritually behind AOL’s other IM client, AIM).

For me IM started sucking more and more until it got to the point that today I can’t use it.

Why? Everytime I start it up I get a flurry of messages. Unlike Twitter IM has an expectation that you’ll answer it sometime soon.

But that’s my problem and I’m an outlier. So why did everyone else stop using ICQ?

It got too cluttered and stopped being developed. In 1996 it seemed like there was a new feature every few days. At some point after 2001 it stopped seeing radical improvements.

I think they were scared of taking stuff out which people liked, too, which made it hard to improve.

Today Facebook and Twitter (and Pownce and Jaiku) have totally replaced IM for me.

How about for you?

PS my ICQ number was 165361. That means I was the 65,361′st person to use it. I haven’t turned it on for years, though.

146 thoughts on “What happened to ICQ?

  1. I use to use the random chat all the time and had quite a bit of fun with it. I just downloaded ICQ and it appears to be no more??? What a disappointment! My new number is 557379915

  2. I use to use the random chat all the time and had quite a bit of fun with it. I just downloaded ICQ and it appears to be no more??? What a disappointment! My new number is 557379915

  3. I loved ICQ, it was such a massive part of my growing up from 1998 until around 2003 when I migrated to MSN as no one was on ICQ any longer. Its quite erie looking through my contacts list and seeing all these accounts that used to be online every night but most won’t have been used for 6/7 years and probably forgotten about completely.

    Its very strange how I too remember my ICQ numbers ( I have two, 27224550 and 56376571)

    I will always be thankful to ICQ for helping me meet so many nice people and also for letting me chat to and find my first proper long term girlfriend!

  4. I loved ICQ, it was such a massive part of my growing up from 1998 until around 2003 when I migrated to MSN as no one was on ICQ any longer. Its quite erie looking through my contacts list and seeing all these accounts that used to be online every night but most won’t have been used for 6/7 years and probably forgotten about completely.

    Its very strange how I too remember my ICQ numbers ( I have two, 27224550 and 56376571)

    I will always be thankful to ICQ for helping me meet so many nice people and also for letting me chat to and find my first proper long term girlfriend!

  5. I haven’t used ICQ in years, but I was very proud of my old UIN (103091) back in the day. It’s sitting there dormant with a rather stupid info message. I think I probably stopped using it around 2001 or 2002.

    Anyway, it being such a low number, Russian hackers got a hold of it in 2000 or so for a while before I was able to get the account back. I remember arguing with the guy on a different UIN for a while before they added the option to retrieve to the e-mail address you signed up with. Funny how I was so upset about a 6 digit number back then.

    I thought about retrieving the password and logging in to see if anyone was still on there, but the ICQ website won’t allow me to retrieve for some reason.

  6. I haven’t used ICQ in years, but I was very proud of my old UIN (103091) back in the day. It’s sitting there dormant with a rather stupid info message. I think I probably stopped using it around 2001 or 2002.

    Anyway, it being such a low number, Russian hackers got a hold of it in 2000 or so for a while before I was able to get the account back. I remember arguing with the guy on a different UIN for a while before they added the option to retrieve to the e-mail address you signed up with. Funny how I was so upset about a 6 digit number back then.

    I thought about retrieving the password and logging in to see if anyone was still on there, but the ICQ website won’t allow me to retrieve for some reason.

  7. “PS my ICQ number was 165361. That means I was the 65,361’st person to use it. I haven’t turned it on for years, though.”

    Dude, try to remember that your ICQ number is
    ICQ#: 16 3 5 61

    Nick Name: scobleizer
    Name: Robert Scoble
    Home Address: USA Santa Clara
    Phone: +1 (408) 551-0481
    Work Address: USA Millbrae
    Phone: +1 (650) 697-5263
    Fax: +1 (650) 292-2147
    Company: UserLand Software
    Gender: Male
    Age: 43
    Birth Date: 18/01/1965
    About:
    Feel free to say hi, but I like it a lot more when you start off by asking me a question.

    Do not mistake your number with mine;)
    16 5 3 61

    Best regards,
    Kai

  8. “PS my ICQ number was 165361. That means I was the 65,361’st person to use it. I haven’t turned it on for years, though.”

    Dude, try to remember that your ICQ number is
    ICQ#: 16 3 5 61

    Nick Name: scobleizer
    Name: Robert Scoble
    Home Address: USA Santa Clara
    Phone: +1 (408) 551-0481
    Work Address: USA Millbrae
    Phone: +1 (650) 697-5263
    Fax: +1 (650) 292-2147
    Company: UserLand Software
    Gender: Male
    Age: 43
    Birth Date: 18/01/1965
    About:
    Feel free to say hi, but I like it a lot more when you start off by asking me a question.

    Do not mistake your number with mine;)
    16 5 3 61

    Best regards,
    Kai

  9. Well, I also miss ICQ dearly. I had many friends on ICQ in the mid/late 90′s. It was a great community. I think MSN killed it. It’s sad but for me MSN for some reason doesn’t have the same geographical distribution as ICQ. There seems to be less incentive to “reach out”?

  10. Well, I also miss ICQ dearly. I had many friends on ICQ in the mid/late 90′s. It was a great community. I think MSN killed it. It’s sad but for me MSN for some reason doesn’t have the same geographical distribution as ICQ. There seems to be less incentive to “reach out”?

  11. ICQ was my favorite long time ago. I miss ICQ. Therefore, I decided to install it and give it a try. After I installed it, the UI really disappointed me. The fonts are too small. I’m not sure if I’ve already get used to YM or MSN, the UI is no longer user friendly as it used to be. Less than 10 minutes, I actually uninstall it. I’m very sad… ICQ once was a leader.

  12. ICQ was my favorite long time ago. I miss ICQ. Therefore, I decided to install it and give it a try. After I installed it, the UI really disappointed me. The fonts are too small. I’m not sure if I’ve already get used to YM or MSN, the UI is no longer user friendly as it used to be. Less than 10 minutes, I actually uninstall it. I’m very sad… ICQ once was a leader.

  13. Jabber replace icq no ? But with meebo or pidgin you can use mamy IM système msn, yahoo gtalk etc.. so icq is just one more but you have no voip and no video and I read spam !!!
    So icq is dead ! read wikipedia

  14. Jabber replace icq no ? But with meebo or pidgin you can use mamy IM système msn, yahoo gtalk etc.. so icq is just one more but you have no voip and no video and I read spam !!!
    So icq is dead ! read wikipedia

  15. Yah I used ICQ for years, it was my first IM client as well. I can’t believe I still remember the number (1152211) as it has probably been at least 5 years since I last signed into it. Not an extremely low number like some of you, but hell it was easy to remember. :)

  16. Yah I used ICQ for years, it was my first IM client as well. I can’t believe I still remember the number (1152211) as it has probably been at least 5 years since I last signed into it. Not an extremely low number like some of you, but hell it was easy to remember. :)

  17. Wow… ICQ, I still log in with my 151507 number every time I fire Trillian up, but don’t have any contacts there anymore. I guess MS did with ICQ what they also did with Netscape (funny, both with AOL now), they built MSN into the OS and killed ICQ… all my friends moved over years ago.

  18. Wow… ICQ, I still log in with my 151507 number every time I fire Trillian up, but don’t have any contacts there anymore. I guess MS did with ICQ what they also did with Netscape (funny, both with AOL now), they built MSN into the OS and killed ICQ… all my friends moved over years ago.

  19. Been using it since I do not know when. My number is 196835.

    I do not use the client. I use Kopete under OpenSUSE..

    Never chat on it anymore, just keep the connection/account alive, sentimental, I suppose..

  20. Been using it since I do not know when. My number is 196835.

    I do not use the client. I use Kopete under OpenSUSE..

    Never chat on it anymore, just keep the connection/account alive, sentimental, I suppose..

  21. I used ICQ for years, then I think it ended like most people when all the requests you would receive where spammers and fools. I actually found a long lost friend over icq and now keep in iregular contact with him over the occasional message.

  22. I used ICQ for years, then I think it ended like most people when all the requests you would receive where spammers and fools. I actually found a long lost friend over icq and now keep in iregular contact with him over the occasional message.

  23. This post reminded me to add my ICQ account to my Adium. I now have Jabber (aka. Google Talk), MSN, AIM, Yahoo and LiveJournal. I’m waiting for Jabber and OpenID to merge with FOAF and microformats and then we can have the complete open identity stack…

  24. This post reminded me to add my ICQ account to my Adium. I now have Jabber (aka. Google Talk), MSN, AIM, Yahoo and LiveJournal. I’m waiting for Jabber and OpenID to merge with FOAF and microformats and then we can have the complete open identity stack…

  25. The numbers were so more than 1 person could have the same user name. Thats what I hated about the others you had to have username987439876239767 which is worse than a number because you weren’t the first one there. I think popular consensus is once aol got hold of it (also happened with winamp) they wrecked it bought in adverts slowed servers down did all sorts of terrible things which made people jump to msn. Same thing happened to Skype once ebay got hold of it before that it was trim taught and terrific now it has more bugs the vista.

  26. The numbers were so more than 1 person could have the same user name. Thats what I hated about the others you had to have username987439876239767 which is worse than a number because you weren’t the first one there. I think popular consensus is once aol got hold of it (also happened with winamp) they wrecked it bought in adverts slowed servers down did all sorts of terrible things which made people jump to msn. Same thing happened to Skype once ebay got hold of it before that it was trim taught and terrific now it has more bugs the vista.

  27. I still sign on to ICQ through Pidgin, but I haven’t had the client installed for at least a decade. It’s a fairly low number — 736xxxx — but nearly as low as some upthread. :-)

    When I signed up for AIM back in 97 or so, I picked a name reflecting my MVP status, because I didn’t think any of the other MVPs would be so declasse as to actually use AOL. :-)

  28. I still sign on to ICQ through Pidgin, but I haven’t had the client installed for at least a decade. It’s a fairly low number — 736xxxx — but nearly as low as some upthread. :-)

    When I signed up for AIM back in 97 or so, I picked a name reflecting my MVP status, because I didn’t think any of the other MVPs would be so declasse as to actually use AOL. :-)

  29. I didn’t like being a number. ICQ also got bloated, and then more bloated. That they finally had to offer a “Lite” version was a good sign they had gone too far.

  30. I didn’t like being a number. ICQ also got bloated, and then more bloated. That they finally had to offer a “Lite” version was a good sign they had gone too far.

  31. ICQ? Reminds me of the college days, that program was awesome. Although, I too remember the tons of messages that I would receive while idle. I actually remember initially using it for live chat, and then the message feature kind of took of.

  32. ICQ? Reminds me of the college days, that program was awesome. Although, I too remember the tons of messages that I would receive while idle. I actually remember initially using it for live chat, and then the message feature kind of took of.

Comments are closed.