AOL has managed to fix the problem which caused the accidental purging of legitimate IM accounts, and has begun recovering accounts. The company's IT staff have restored the majority of affected AIM accounts, including buddy lists, buddy icons, and other saved preferences. Better be more careful with those delete statements on your database, folks.

"As of today, all AIM screen names that were accidentally affected by the recent screen name refresh, as well as all corresponding AIM Buddy Lists, will be fully restored." - AOL spokesperson Krista Thomas.

Some users would have yesterday received error messages when they tried to use their accounts, but according to AOL these issues should now be resolved.

"We sincerely regret the interruption of service [that] some users experienced and we apologize for the inconvenience the interruption may have caused." - AOL spokesperson Krista Thomas.