IM-ing: The Return of Smarter Child

It took almost a year of meeting with one group and then another to get Active Buddy’s Smarter Child up on AOL, but the company pulled the service down this past summer because it was expensive to run and had shown AOL it could scale to a larger number of users.
Now Smarter Child is being relaunched as a premium service across the AOL, ICQ, and MSN platforms. says “The decision to turn SmarterChild into a paid product was likely driven by AOL, which charges a fee to provide provisioning services (removal of ‘warning’ capabilities and character limits) to commercial bots running on its network.” My understanding from talking with folks close to those involved (disclosure: I know the original start-up team quite well) is that the AB team never thought Smarter Child was particularly valuable as much beyond a demo, but that the user stats were impressive enough to encourage them to charge.
” SmarterChild was an accidental success so, for a very nominal amount, Steve Klein, the CEO told “It was a demo. We never spent a penny marketing SmarterChild and it got out of control.”