An article published recently in the Los Angeles Times reports that Yahoo, parent company of venerable website hosting giant GeoCities, is closing down the site that allowed people to create their own pages a decade ago. Then GeoCities sites created by users ranked well in search results and were a social networking hub of sorts for hundreds of thousands of users. Though rudimentary and generally unsophisticated, these pages allowed users to create fan sites, talk about their hobbies, share their political views and a myriad of other topics. They could create pages at no cost, take advantage of a modest amount of storage for images and documents and stake out their own little corner of the Internet when there weren’t many options to do so.
Yahoo was scheduled to pull the plug on the domain and millions of pages on October 25, 2009, and one of the most common domains in the young history of the Internet was expected to cease to exist except in fond memory. In early 2009, although GeoCities stopped accepting applications, current users were allowed to update their pages and save their sites to their hard drives. Compared to peak traffic and users in the late 90s, comparatively few users remained. Yahoo is urging those remaining to transfer their accounts and pages to Yahoo’s web hosting service for $5 a month.
According to web metrics tracking company, Alexa, the GeoCities network is still in the top 200 most-visited sites. The historical significance of the network as a ‘virtual museum’ has caused some people to wonder about Yahoo’s decision to close it down.
“Yahoo continuously evaluates and prioritizes our products and services in alignment with business goals and our continued commitment to deliver the best consumer and advertiser experiences,” according to a company spokeswoman.” GeoCities’ closing is “part of our ongoing effort to prioritize our portfolio of products and services in order to deliver the best products to consumers.”
GeoCities isn’t the only victim of Yahoo’s ongoing efforts to prioritize their portfolio. The company said that it had closed a GeoCities clone called Yahoo 360 and My Web in addition to almost twenty other services.