Remember the good times when free website hosting was cool? Well those days are numbered and it all became apparent with a blockbuster April announcement by Yahoo. It was recently made official that the internet powerhouse is closing the door on its once popular GeoCities website publishing and hosting service. The company purchased the service for nearly $3 billion in May of 1999, right around the height of the deceptive dot.com boom. While an official date hasn’t been announced, reports indicate that the service will cease to exist some time later this year. Visit the GeoCities website today and you will be greeted with a message stating that new accounts are no longer available and encouraged to sign up for one of Yahoo’s professional web hosting packages.
Where did it all go wrong?
It’s really hard to determine the specific cause as up until 2006, GeoCities was in good shape, still averaging about 19 million unique visitors each month. According to a ComScore study, the site had an estimated 15 million unique visitors in March of 2008 but suffered a major 24% decline in traffic with only about 11.5 million uniques as of March 2009.
Although it is difficult to pinpoint a single contributor to the downfall, you can probably chalk it up to the phenomenon that is social networking. Today, sites like MySpace and FaceBook deliver more value than GeoCities ever could, all for the same unbeatable price of $0. Yahoo might have a difficult time converting new customers when those looking for free services can easily turn to more cost effective solutions like the Blogger or WordPress blogging platforms.
While the concept of having a personal presence on the web is still a hot commodity, GeoCities simply became a lackluster alternative while others have proved to be the mainstream.
Certainly the most news worthy site to fall, but GeoCities isn’t the only of Yahoo’s services to get the axe. Yahoo Live, Yahoo Briefcase, My Web, RSS Ads, Farechase, Yahoo for Teachers and Kickstart are all slated to be eliminated as well. In addition, the search engine king alleviated another burden by outsourcing its Launchcast radio service to CBS. Yahoo’s recent downsizing is part of a process that initiated back in 2007 when Jerry Yang was still Chief Executive Officer. From the start, the goal was simple – shut down all services that aren’t profiting or do not fit into the organization’s long-term plans. Things really took offer under the head of Carol Bartz, the new CEO who went in power this past January. Another sign of Yahoo’s ongoing trouble was made clear in an announcement stating that it would lay off nearly 700 employees, the company’s third round of job slashing over the last 14 months. This is one instance that points to the impact of an ailing global economy.
Indeed, GeoCities is obviously no longer the hip place to be any more but the service definitely served its purpose throughout the years. There are much better ways for users to promote themselves online but Yahoo can always lay claim as one of the early pioneers.
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