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ICQ is an instant messaging service initially released in November 1996; the original company that developed and released both the service and client software was Mirabilis, which was based in Israel.
In June 1998, AOL, then still known as America Online, acquired ICQ.
At some point in the 1990s (the date is uncertain), ICQ decided to launch a web-based only e-mail service, ICQMail. This was a service similar to Hotmail of the time where users were allowed to sign up an account for free, were only given a very small amount of storage space, and the interface was ad-supported. It is unknown whether the ICQMail service was launched before or after the AOL acquisition.
ICQMail ran as its own service until being switched over to the AOL Mail platform, presumably for easier administration on AOL's part.
During the years ICQMail was running on the AOL Mail platform, it looked identical to the AOL Mail web interface and had almost every feature AOL Mail did, including Calendar and free POP3 and IMAP4 connectivity.
In 2010, AOL decided to dump ICQ and sold the company to Digital Sky Technologies, a company based in Russia. Digital Sky Technologies is now known as the Mail ru Group.
When AOL sold to Mail ru, ICQMail did *not* switch mail platforms and continued to be an AOL Mail service. However, a few things changed. The ability to sign up a new account was removed, and no ads of any kind were present in the ICQMail AOL-powered interface (a nice bonus for ICQMail users).
Another thing that changed is that when existing users signed in to ICQMail, there was a notice that stated that any account not logged in to for more than 90 days would be automatically removed. Regular users of ICQMail were obviously not affected by this.
At some point in July 2014, the entire ICQMail system switched over to the Mail ru platform. Absolutely no notice was given of this to ICQMail users. On attempt to login via the usual AOL Mail login screen, the system simply stated that it "encountered an issue" and to try again later. No further information was given.
Some ICQMail users *guessed* that the way to login to the email service was through www.icqmail.com, and then were shocked to find that the entire system was different.
text: ICQMail users were treated to this with emails in Russian that were unreadable unless you knew the Russian language.
The first canned email is: "Learn how to use Mail Mail Ru" The second canned email is: "Enjoys almost Mail Ru mobile" The third canned email is: "Welcome to Mail Ru" The fourth canned email is: "How do I know about writing instantly?"
Some ICQMail users lost all their email, contact and calendar information from the system switch, while other lucky ones had some of their data migrated properly (or at least somewhat properly).
AOL's response to angry users was that of indifference, and totally ignored any and all support requests from users who lost their data. aolanswers.com/questions/icqmail-login-problems_862918012103027
The mail server settings were also completely changed, but at least Mail ru was nice enough to inform users directly what these settings are here: http://www.icqmail.com/settings/
Quick instructions on how to use the new ICQMail service under Mail ru:
1. You have to login to the web interface at least once to activate the POP3/IMAP4 capability.
2. If you skipped through the language selection accidentally, the text link at the very bottom right allows you to choose other languages, including English.
3. If on login you discover all your mail/calendar/contact data is gone, there is no way to get it back.