I had almost completely forgotten about ICQ, the messenger that 10 years ago was “the” messenger service to have. People including myself didn’t mind remembering the long ICQ ID number to log in, and it really changed the way people communicated over the Internet. It’s a classic, and I’m sure most of you at some point used it.
I was reminded of ICQ today when I noticed that ICQ 6 was actually recently released. It got me thinking about whatever happened to it, and how they’re doing today.
Soon after Microsoft launched MSN Messenger, ICQ started to lose its charm. While ICQ lost an extreme amount of popularity in the United States and elsewhere because of the other messenger services that became available, today they’re still going strong in other parts of the world.
For example, according to Alexa, ICQ is ranked 14 in Slovakia, 17 in the Czech Republic, and 21 in Israel. Their overall traffic rank is still excellent which tells me that there are still plenty of people who use ICQ daily. In fact, according to ICQ, more than 400 million messages are sent and received every day, and there are more than 8 million logins each day. The graph below shows their 5 year traffic trend according to Alexa:
While they experienced a dramatic decline several years ago, over the last six months they’ve had a decent increase in traffic. And for those of you who haven’t taken a look at ICQ lately, it’s much different than I ever remember it. They’ve done a lot of work improving it including skins, emoticons, and avatars, just like you’d expect from a messenger service, but they also have Video, VoIP, and SMS integrated.
They offer a slew of different services like ICQ2Go, ICQ Toolbar, ICQ Wireless, and ICQ for Mac. They also offer community chatrooms and games. And on top of it, they have their own “find a date” service set up. It’s really become much more than a messenger service over 10 years after they originally launched.
I’d never go back to ICQ, mainly because everybody I need to be in contact with is either on Windows Live Messenger, or Google Talk. However, it’s nice to see that ICQ is still doing well, even after all these years.