Yahoo to GeoCities: Drop Dead!

The web continues to mystify and amaze me. Just today I read that Yahoo is shutting down Geocities, even though the network of websites attracts more than ten million visitors a month. And the company paid billions in stock to buy the site in early 1999. On today’s WebProNews, the story was told with incredulity.

Chris Crum speculated as to what the reaction would be if, say Facebook or Twitter were acquired and then suddenly shut down. “Sure these things seem unlikely now because these services are still fresh. Well GeoCities was once the “it” thing too.”

If you were still a loyal GeoCities user, how would you feel to know that you’ve got to move, or you’ll disappear from the web? Yahoo pitched them on their own cheap web-hosting, but there are other mysteries here. For example, about a third of the referrals that bring people to GeoCities comes from Yahoo’s arch rival, Google.

“Yahoo seems to be turning its back on a large amount of traffic. Moreover, it’s turning down free traffic from its biggest competitor.” I’ve never thought the people at Yahoo were very smart. Especially when they couldn’t agree to take $33 a share from Microsoft and then sank down to about $12, and now are barely breaking $17.

“It was perhaps the first mainstream example of an open, participatory and personal Internet,” writes Mark Milian with the LA Times. In early 1999, Yahoo purchased Geocities for about $3.57 billion in stock. Now a decade later, Geocities is no more.