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Since 2000 ICQ and AIM users are able to add each other to their contact list without the need for any external clients.
As a response to UIN theft or sale of attractive UINs, ICQ started to store email addresses previously associated with a UIN.
Also, users can choose and select their own avatar for their profile page. ICQ users are identified and distinguished from one another by UIN, or User Identification Numbers, distributed in sequential order.
The UIN was invented by Mirabilis, as the user name assigned to each user upon registration.
ICQ was the first stand-alone instant messenger and the first online instant messenger service as such — while real-time chat was not in itself new to the internet (IRC being the most common platform at the time), the concept of a fully centralized service with individual user accounts focused on one-on-one conversations set the blueprint for later instant messaging services like AIM, and its influence is seen in modern social media applications.