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Thousands of ICQ Numbers Deleted 264

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the subtle-hints dept.
BondGamer writes "Many ICQ users woke up and found their ICQ numbers were no longer working. There is a topic on the ICQ support with more than 1,500 replies. There are pages upon pages of other topics asking what happened. As of yet, there has been no official response from AOL about what has happened."
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Thousands of ICQ Numbers Deleted

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  • Obli... (Score:5, Funny)

    by BlueParrot (965239) on Friday May 11, 2007 @02:28AM (#19079587)
    DMCA takedown notices because they were found in the decimal representation of some movies?
    • by Anonymous Coward


      I am not an ICQ number !! I am a human being !!

      But call me, #6 !!!

      Who is #2 ??? Eric Cartman ?!

  • irc.icq.com (Score:4, Informative)

    by iamacat (583406) on Friday May 11, 2007 @02:29AM (#19079593)
    You don't have to bother with registration or obnoxious UI. And if you use a fairly unique nickname, you can still keep in touch with friends.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      wow... that's just like... IRC! :O
  • by empaler (130732) on Friday May 11, 2007 @02:31AM (#19079603) Journal
    Their ICQ accounts have not been baleeted, they've simply been reassigned to a new number.

    If they can guess the number within 96 hours they can keep their account. Everything is the same eccept the number. A minor problem is that it does not update your friends' ICQ numbers if they're in the same lottery.

    I don't see the problem.
  • Backups? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Soruk (225361) on Friday May 11, 2007 @02:31AM (#19079605) Homepage
    Probably a server drive crash, and this is where we discover AOL have been reliably backing up their ICQ server to /dev/null all these years.

    (and it seems mine is gone too, but I haven't used it in 4 years.)
  • Still Around (Score:2, Redundant)

    by bsharitt (580506)
    People still use ICQ? I wonder if it's really seeing any significant numbers of new users, or if it's just the old people sticking around.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by franksands (938435)
      That's exactly what I thought. Oh, the good years of my first experiences with IM. The joy when they merged the chat with the messages. I wonder if my account still works.
      • by thegamerformelyknown (868463) on Friday May 11, 2007 @02:39AM (#19079649) Homepage

        I wonder if my account still works.
        *looks at title of post*
        Not anymore :)
      • Re:Still Around (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Virtual_Raider (52165) on Friday May 11, 2007 @04:35AM (#19080161) Homepage

        Apparently everyone and their dog use it in Russia. Right before they turned GAIM into Pidgin I installed GAIM 1.5 and logged on to my neglected yahoo and ICQ accounts. My 6 digit ICQ was still working up until this morning, and every single day I get at least 3 Russian girls (or so they claim) wanting to chat, and at least 2 spam messages in Cyrillic trying to get me to click in some shady URL that I wouldn't touch with Firefox barricaded behind the Proxomitron and a Firewall on an unpluged computer powered-off =P

        At least one of the alleged Russkys I actually started chatting with is cute. They sure know how to make them in the Ukraine ;)

        • by Soruk (225361) on Friday May 11, 2007 @04:50AM (#19080255) Homepage
          At least one of the alleged Russkys I actually started chatting with is cute.

          Congratulations. You've been speaking to the goatse guy.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          At least one of the alleged Russkys I actually started chatting with is cute. They sure know how to make them in the Ukraine ;)
          Are there many three-breasted Total-Recall-type Ukrainian girls? All that Chernobyl radiation has got to have had some effect...
        • I hardly ever turn icq on any longer on account of the Russian/Czech/Ukranian spam. Very annoying and last time I turned it on some damn spammer who kept on spamming on me 'added me' - annoyed I checked and yep, my preferences were to not allow anyone to add me but for some reason spambot boy was able to. I don't even know what the purpose of doing that is but I definitely don't like it and don't turn the icq on for just that reason.
    • by Rufus211 (221883) <rufus-slashdot@h ... g ['kis' in gap]> on Friday May 11, 2007 @02:40AM (#19079653) Homepage
      I don't know if anyone still uses it, but I sure as hell remember my UIN even though I haven't touched ICQ since something like 2000. It's great how I can remember the now-usless 8-digit number for so long and not remember my parents birthdays.
      • by ggeens (53767)

        I still remember my number, and it still seems to exist on the server.

        However, I have no idea what the password for the account might be or the email address I used back then. (Not that it would help: I no longer have access to those emails.)

      • by aywwts4 (610966)
        I haven't checked in with it since... 99 or so, But my 8 digit username has been so ingrained in me i use mathematical mashes of it as strings for passwords. (I checked in to make sure it wasn't deleted, (I wasn't honestly concerned if it was) and I had to laugh, my password was three lowercase letters "bnm" now I use that parts 8 digit number in 16 character passwords. Times have changed.
      • by kraada (300650)
        Pshhh 8 digit number? n00b.

        I'm totally rockin the 7 digit UIN.

        My cell phone number? That's a bitch to remember though . . .
    • by laffer1 (701823)
      It seems like a generational thing. I'd be curious what services get the most sign-ups.

      I just tried my ICQ account and it seems to work. Its a 6 digit and I almost never use it. Once or twice a year I might get on to talk to my old boss or people I worked with 7 years ago. I guess that means the delete operation was not for rarely used accounts. I wonder if there is another pattern like international users or something.

      I gave up on ICQ after the windows client got so bloated. When I use it now, its an
      • by eggstasy (458692)
        I'm an international user, and thanks to the magic of gaim i am always on icq.
        Nothing wrong with my account, so far.
    • by comp.sci (557773)
      It actually is fairly popular in some parts of Europe, at least a lot of people are _still_ using it.
      Does anyone have any more accurate statistics on this?
      • Re:Still Around (Score:5, Informative)

        by zwei2stein (782480) on Friday May 11, 2007 @03:43AM (#19079917) Homepage
        Number of people i _personally_ know who use ICQ: pretty much everyone.
        Number of people i _personally_ know who use something else than ICQ: pretty much noone.

        Here in Czechia, ICQ is simply THE im to use.

        IT just makes no sense to register on something else when you know you wont be able to talk to anyone. And it makes no sense to switch if majority does no switch with you.

        ---

        In the end stuff like aim or messenger have exaclty same type of bloat (sometimes even more anoying than icq bloat) and zero killer features.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by gDoDig (674307)

          IT just makes no sense to register on something else when you know you wont be able to talk to anyone. And it makes no sense to switch if majority does no switch with you.
          That's why we use Trillian or stuff like that with which you can be online on JABBER, ICQ, MSN, AIM, SIP, IRC, YAHOO and localy with RANDEVOUS all at the same time, that way you are available to anyone and everyone all the time without the hassle of running multiple clients.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Herve5 (879674)
            in case it helps, the equivalent of Trillian for macintosh is Adium -and I fully agree with the previous post :-)
        • by castlec (546341)
          Czechia.... Don't do it man. There is no Czechia, only Czech Republic. Such a nasty name that is. ICQ is very popular here. Skype is catching on well though.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hclyff (925743)

      People still use ICQ? I wonder if it's really seeing any significant numbers of new users, or if it's just the old people sticking around.

      ICQ is still doing pretty good in Europe, I think. At least in my country. It is quite surprising when you consider that the official client is obnoxious piece of shit loaded with ads and crapware. Unofficial clients sometimes stop working, because someone decided it is good idea to do some changes in protocol and not tell anyone.

      It shows that you don't have to be good at something, as long as you have critical mass of users locked in.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by StarfishOne (756076)
        In the beginning the client was quite nice and simple. Later on it became soo bloated I decided to follow my friends and to start using the MSN Messenger which was sooo nice and simple. Now the latter is also filled with useless features. :(

        Don't these companies understand that there are many people who just want a simple, graphical chat window?

        And yes, I also use IRC in a screen session every day.. but unfortunately just 5-10 other _technical_ friends are there. My experience is that it's nearly impossible
    • by metlin (258108)

      People still use ICQ? I wonder if it's really seeing any significant numbers of new users, or if it's just the old people sticking around.


      What? Even if people don't, do you think AOL would want to give up all those eyes that you could target ads at?

      Who cares about increasing the number of users when you still have a target population to serve ads to right now (especially given the way AOL's been going lately).
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by am 2k (217885)

      I'm from central Europe, and here everybody is using ICQ. It's gone so far that ICQ is synonymous with IM, and people exchange ICQ UINs instead of phone numbers...

      • by riflemann (190895)
        Um, where in central europe? ICQ isn't the predominant IM protocol for all central europe. In the Netherlands, MSN is all the rage, with 'msn' having entered the standard dutch vocabulary as meaning 'to im someone'.
        • Re:Still Around (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Altrag (195300) on Friday May 11, 2007 @04:38AM (#19080171)
          It seems that certain IMs just gained popularity in certain parts of the world for whatever reason. I was in the Philippines a few months ago and yahoo is the "IM synonym" there. ICQ used to be the big thing in my circle of friends back in the late 90s (it was pretty much the ONLY thing back then). Then moved to yahoo for a while (does ICQ even have webcam support in 2007?) and its sort of settled on MSN as my non-geek friends started to pile up. Don't really know why that came to be -- whether its just because its packaged with Windows or because they had far superior webcam support for a while there, or perhaps some other factor -- as I was one of the last people I know to switch up to MSN (back in my "lets hate on M$ cause its cool" party-lining days:P).
        • by Dogtanian (588974)

          Um, where in central europe? ICQ isn't the predominant IM protocol for all central europe. In the Netherlands

          It depends how you define "Central Europe"; I always thought that the Netherlands was a Western European country, but not Central European. (Then again, Western Europe seems to include every country that used to be on the free side of the Iron Curtain).

          According to this definition [wikipedia.org], the Netherlands isn't part of Central Europe. Meeehhhh.... the definitions aren't precise anyway, nothing worth arguing about I guess. I think the GP probably meant more like the Czech Republic (AKA Czechia) - which is what I

        • by am 2k (217885)

          To answer the three replies here, I'm from Austria, which fits right into the definition Wikipedia is using. However, there are many people switching to Skype for voice chat here, which is a shame, since the official client sucks and nobody has hacked their protocol yet to integrate it into some better client.

          btw, in Poland, gadugadu is the most popular one as far as I know.

          I personally use XMPP exclusively, gatewaying the other protocols for people that are still on those networks using legacy protocols

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Angostura (703910)
          The Netherlands is central? You're on the coast.
      • Re:Still Around (Score:4, Interesting)

        by suv4x4 (956391) on Friday May 11, 2007 @04:30AM (#19080145)
        I'm from central Europe, and here everybody is using ICQ. It's gone so far that ICQ is synonymous with IM, and people exchange ICQ UINs instead of phone numbers...

        Same in Eastern Europe, although Skype appears to be catching up as a replacement.

        Just few days ago I was talking to friends about the new ICQ6, and the conversation went along the lines of:

        ME: you gotta check the new ICQ, they dumped the silly flash voice/cam, the terrible horn and oh-oh sounds. It's a lot better.

        THEM: great! so are you switching back to ICQ (note: they are all on ICQ)

        ME: no, but .. I at least won't start it with disgust anymore.

        And just as I gave them this compliment (it is a compliment! i hated the damn thing), now this story runs. They're out of luck, for sure.
      • by Tom (822)
        Whatever "central europe" you're from, must be different than mine (Germany). ICQ is still around, I think I know a few people who are using it. But ICQ UINs instead of phone numbers? Can't be girls you're exchanging numbers with...
      • still a lot of icq here in germany.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Danniler (1098927)
      At least among my frineds/colleagues there is no substitution for ICQ. Anyone with MS Messenger or other IM clients seems to be like a white crow. For example in Russia ICQ for sure has 90%+ IM share (if not 99.9%). I worked in central Europe - almost same situation. Everyone uses ICQ. And one more remark - official client sucks. That's true, so noone really bothers using it. There are so many nice substitutions. Like "qip".
    • I used ICQ a lot back in '98, and for a couple of years after. I then switched to Jabber, and kept my ICQ account in use via a transport so I didn't lose my existing contacts. Since then, AOL bought ICQ and integrated the AIM and ICQ systems, so I can now use my ICQ account to talk to AIM users. I know a couple of people on AIM, and keeping my ICQ account stopped me needing to register a new account for AIM. I can't remember the last time I saw anyone online using an ICQ account number rather than an AI
  • by Rahga (13479) on Friday May 11, 2007 @02:35AM (#19079629) Homepage Journal
    Official response? Expect something along the lines of "We are trying to determine if we do indeed host this 'ICQ' service and who would be in charge, but chances are, we either fired them or that quit years ago."
  • by ticklish2day (575989) on Friday May 11, 2007 @02:38AM (#19079641)
    Sounds like they let a sql n00b [slashdot.org] into the production database...

    "Jimmy, could you get me a report for user #12345678?"
    "Sure boss, I'll use my awesome SQL skillz"

    clacketty clack... osql.exe... clacketty clack clack
    select * from IcqUsers

    wait wait wait

    "Hmmm, that user is very far down the list. I'll get rid of these earlier records so that record will show up faster."
    clacketty clack... delete from IcqUsers where UserID
    wait wait wait

    "JIMMY WTF ARE YOU DOING???? CANCEL THAT QUERY NOW. YOU'RE RUNNING IT AGAINST THE PRODUCTION DB"
    "Yessirsirright now sir!!!!!!!!!"

    and you can complete the story.
  • by Misanthrope (49269) on Friday May 11, 2007 @02:42AM (#19079661)
    ICQ was my first instant messaging client, modern clients owe a lot in terms of features to Mirabilis' innovations. Buddy pounces, file sharing, ability to send messages to people while they were signed off. It also had a generally fun feel to it's gui and sound design. I'm still peeved that it was also my introduction to account theft, somebody with a Czech email address is happily the new owner of my six digit number.
  • Haven't logged on in some time. Wonder if we're both still there...
  • User Purge (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DuEyNZ (887987)
    delete from Users where clue = 0;
  • by freaker_TuC (7632) on Friday May 11, 2007 @02:47AM (#19079689) Homepage Journal
    thousands of people screaming in total darkness, but alas they could not be heard; HAL-9000 deleted their account to let them in...
  • by ddoctor (977173) on Friday May 11, 2007 @02:48AM (#19079701)
    Is this just a publicity stunt to remind people that ICQ still exists? :)

    Bad publicity is still publicity. :)
    • by Tribbin (565963)
      Funny; I completely forgot about ICQ. But when I saw this article, I recalled my ICQ# instantaneously.

    • I guess it is just a regional thing, but in Israel, ICQ is king.
      Pretty much everyone who uses IMs, uses ICQ.

      This is probably due to the fact ICQ originated from Israel, allowing for early adoption and the creation of a critical mass.
      Few use MSN or AIM and usually in addition to ICQ rather than exclusively.
  • by sycomonkey (666153) on Friday May 11, 2007 @03:07AM (#19079783) Homepage
    I was under the impression that AOL has been trying to kill ICQ for years now. How are these people so (un)blissfully unaware of the situation?
  • I didn't use or even installed ICQ for at least 5 years
    but wanted to check if my really old account with a nice 7 digit account number was still active.
    Used: http://go.icq.com/ [icq.com] (no installation needed) to check.. and it is still working, guess i got lucky.
    Now for another 5 years of not using it (but of course wanting to keep it :)

  • They're probably just yet another victim in the FUD spread by AACS, and is now trying to clean up their act with all their numbers in use. ;-)
  • by Spittles (670928) on Friday May 11, 2007 @03:45AM (#19079931) Homepage
    *uh-oh* :-P
  • My guesses (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Dragon Rojo (843344)
    My 7 digit uin it's still active, I remember it like my phone number. Ahh those were the days. I left icq after all my contacts went to yahoo or msn.

    My guesses:

    1.- Someone broke in and messed up the db
    2.- A random clean up?
    3.- Publicity? (As stated in comments above)
    4.- Server failure
  • That's insane (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dtfinch (661405) * on Friday May 11, 2007 @03:52AM (#19079963) Journal
    Almost everyone complaining has a 6 digit or shorter account number. They just f*cked their million oldest, most faithful users.

    Thankfully, my number is 7 digits.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by WatcherXP (658784)
      IIRC the numbers started at 6 digits. UIN's with fewer digits were internal staff use only. 127XXX = me
  • by n1hilist (997601) on Friday May 11, 2007 @03:54AM (#19079971)
    I guess someone at AOL must've read a certain article about computers needing to forget...
  • Possible Fix?!? (Score:5, Informative)

    by jkwscurvy (861092) on Friday May 11, 2007 @03:57AM (#19079975)
    It appears to just be a bug, and your numbers are safe. Backup, remove, reinstall as described here: http://boards.icq.com/boards/view_messages.php?tid =4555&topic_id=2216365 [icq.com]. YMMV
  • 23192319 disconnected by peer
    23192319 gets a worm in his ear
    23192319, disconnected for a year!

    23192319, there's no such thing as luck in hell.

    -Celine
  • by Debug0x2a (1015001) on Friday May 11, 2007 @04:35AM (#19080163)
    Oddly enough it was working perfectly until I went to create an account. BTW, my name is ";Drop Table;"
  • I've got a number in the 105xxx range for the right bidder, if you don't mind fielding the occasional obscure question about an IRC client. ;)
  • Centralized (Score:5, Informative)

    by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Friday May 11, 2007 @05:08AM (#19080335) Homepage

    In an ideal world, this would teach people something about the disadvantages of relying on a centralized server controlled by a corporation over which you have no influence for your communication-infrastructure.

    Msn, and Aim have similar problems.

    Meanwhile, Jabber is the way of the future. Open protocol. Multiple interoperable implementations. Gateways to these "legacy"-protocols anyway, so you can still talk to your icq/msn-using friends. Multiple simultaneous logins. Server-side storage of buddy-lists (so log on from a different location/new computer and everything is there)

    Oh, and for added bonus, jabber-ids on the format of email-adresses are a lot easier to remember than ICQ-uins.

  • oblig (Score:2, Funny)

    by Andrei D (965217)
    Fix here [google.com]
  • by ButcherCH (822663) on Friday May 11, 2007 @05:29AM (#19080407) Homepage
    I felt a great disturbance in the Net...as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.
  • by infonography (566403) on Friday May 11, 2007 @06:14AM (#19080585) Homepage
    I tried his ICQ number this morning 666 and it's gone. The bothers me as we really had a good deal in play. He was going to make me Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. It was all most done. Blair announced his resignation and I was to step in as planned. He even had a way figured out to get around the fact that I am a US Citizen and everything. Seeing how the US was already taken.....

    I wonder if I can sue them for interference with a contract?
  • Obviously they didn't forward that message that all their friends sent them, so their accounts got flagged as inactive and deleted.
  • Publicity (Score:3, Funny)

    by FuzzyDaddy (584528) on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:07AM (#19081555) Journal
    From one of the link, someone posted:

    I HATE AOL. I HATE AOL. I HATE AOL. Its the worst company on the planet

    You can't buy publicity like that.

  • by aj50 (789101) on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:25AM (#19081709)
    Did they not read the e-mail that was sent round last week saying that ICQ was running out of numbers and that some would be re-allocated unless they proved they were active users by sending the e-mail on to all their ICQ using friends?

    Too late to complain now, you should have read the e-mail and sent it on like me. It's not hard, sheesh.
  • Syntax Highlighting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nbritton (823086) on Friday May 11, 2007 @01:51PM (#19086885)
    It would be cool if the English language had colorized syntax highlighting.

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