By jenmmart (1257133523|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)
It’s almost ironic to use my wikidot page to discuss the downfall of Yahoo!’s GeoCities website, one of the earliest hosts of personal webpages.
GeoCities was an early web hosting service that allowed people to create their own websites based on their interests. These websites were centered around “neighborhoods” such as Silicon Valley for computer-related sites and Hollywood for entertainment sites. However, others used the site for personal reasons, such as family websites. During the dot-com bubble, Yahoo! purchased GeoCities and they have since limited the amount of monthly data transfer for free accounts, encouraging signing up with the for-free premium sites.
A few days ago, Yahoo! announced that they would be closing down GeoCities and taking millions of pages offline. This is monumental because GeoCities was one of the first mainstream websites that allowed everyday people to create their own public websites to share. GeoCities is still one of the top 200 most-trafficked sites according to metrics tracker site, Alexa. So why shut down the site and lose millions of customers? Yahoo! claims it is “prioritizing its portfolio”, closing down sites like GeoCities and My Web, which was like Delicious. It seems that as more websites with smarter options pop up, it’s getting more and more necessary to cut the slack in company portfolios.
The news/blog article that I read about GeoCities seems to have the idea that Yahoo’s purchase of the website actually hurt its growth. After purchasing the site, Yahoo didn’t do much to make it bigger and better; meanwhile, the original creator talks about the great things they could have done with search algorithms and the wealth of data on their sites. It makes you think that perhaps the smaller engines can do better (in specific niches) than the bigger ones…what could GeoCities have done if it didn’t get lost in the Yahoo! portfolio?
Now the interesting part is using other search engines to backup these sites. Which search engine? Google, apparently. A group called Archiveteam is using Google to find personal sites, such as family trees, software directories, and Saved by the Bell fanpages, to mirror these sites elsewhere. Tragically, there was no way to save all of them before GeoCities deleted its pages for good.