How Blogs & Social Networks Killed Yahoo! GeoCities

I have a question for you, when was the last time your facebook/blog-reading exhausted eyes looked at a GeoCities website? If you don’t know what GeoCities is, or was for that matter, you probably won’t be in shock and have any understanding as to why I’m chuckling while I write this post.

Who Is… Was GeoCities?

GeoCities was founded in 1994 and became a popular web-based system that provided online tools to create your own website, ie. http://www.geocities.com/kingrosales or http://kingrosales.geocities.com. Yahoo! purchased GeoCities for more than $2.87 billion in 1999 at a time when GeoCities had more than 1.1 million users and was one of the original products for its present web hosting services.

My First GeoCities Website

I created my first GeoCities website in 1998 (over 10 years ago, hence the chuckling) and discovered how easy it was to create a site without having to rely on my HTML skills. I remember feeling like I was doing something very cool and revolutionary. I was so hooked in fact, I started making GeoCities websites for all these girls I had crushes on (I can’t believe I’m not erasing that haha – well, it did work 50% of the time anyway). They were great tools to learn from back then.

Benefits of Having a GeoCities Website

Having a GeoCities website meant that you didn’t have to worry about setting up a domain name and hosting account for your site. All you had to do was create an account, create some images and write your own html; that was it. The file manager was built in and it was really straight forward.

These days, telling someone you had a GeoCities website wouldn’t probably get you very far, especially if you were applying for a web design jobs; I’d leave that part out and stick with your Photoshop skills. From what I’ve been reading in some blog comments about this topic, you’d probably even get laughed at.

So What’s Happened to GeoCities?

April 24, 2009 – GeoCities will close later this year

Just this past week, Yahoo! announced that it would be closing GeoCities later this year. Fortunately, for current GeoCities account holders, they’ll have time until about the end of the summer to create a new site elsewhere or do what would help Yahoo create new business by switching their free accounts to paid hosting accounts.

When I found out that Yahoo! was closing Geocities yesterday, the first thing I remember thinking was, “when was the last time I saw a Geocities website appear in any SERP? Over the last several years, the web has simply been evolving as a blogger’s playground; static and old Geocities webpages are simply not enough to keep up with the growing number of emerging blogs publishing new content frequently. When was the last time you saw a Web 2.0 product promoting static websites like GeoCities sites? Blogs rule the SERPs; there’s BlogCatalog and MyBlogLog which was actually acquired by Yahoo! in January 2008 for $10 Million. Blogging platforms such as Blogger and WordPress a tremendous advantage over static websites with the built in technology that gets their pages ranked higher and faster. Plus, why would anyone choose to build their website with a platform that had leaderboards and skyscrapers all over it when they have blogger and wordpress that don’t?

GeoCities Had Competition

Google has Blogger, Yahoo HAD GeoCities… well, at least has MyBlogLog, and Microsoft has Live Spaces – when was the last time you saw the latter two in a SERP?

Im not ruling Microsoft out yet, I mean they do own part of Facebook and since their acquisition of Avenue A/RazorFish in May 2007, have not only managed Facebook advertising, Microsoft also manages advertising for top names like the Wall Street Journal; read, Microsoft serves up ads for WSJ. All that Microsoft can do now is either A) attempt another takeover bid on Yahoo! or B) Build another “me too” product and call it “Plugger”.

Alas, The GeoCities Fight is Over

If you’re like me, you have so many social network accounts that you can’t even remember them all, let alone the passwords for them. I believe Blogging and Social Networking go hand in hand in taking down GeoCities. Before there was Facebook, there was this huge void in time after when only Friendster (which now has a primarily Asian user base), MySpace, Hi5 and maybe a handful of other social networks ruled the social networking landscape and when pre-Blogger and WordPress sites dominated SERPs (read, Wikipedia’s list of Social Networks). Thats when platforms such as LiveJournal and Typepad were at the top of their games. After that, more and more people started making their own blogs thanks to Blogger and didn’t have to worry about being fed ads on their sites and was really simple to setup. More and more people began contributing to blogs, commenting and then creating their own blogs; creating what we now know as the Blogsphere. Facebook became successful because it had the right formula from the start (despite the fact that its founder may have based its code off of Friendster). This formula is what made Facebook spread like wildfire and become this uber social platform.

When was the last time you went skipping along and thought, “I am going to build myself a free website on GeoCities!!!”??? I mean, when was the last time I told myself I wanted to build a website that did nothing but waste some space in a cold server room?

These days, more and more people aren’t simply creating static websites or even blogs. You know what they’re building? they’re building their own social network! I hate to break it to you Mr. “I just spent $100,000 on a development team building another Facebook”, but its called, “try Googling ‘free social networking scripts'”. I’m creating a “How To Build Your Own Social Network In 15 Minutes” product for clickbank, so if you want to know more about this in the future, you should subscribe to my feed.

The bottom line is that as much as we’re all aware of the fact that the days of static websites are long gone, Yahoo! closing GeoCities gives us a significant event for our future’s history to look back and… blog about haha.

In a similar post on CNet News, JCPayne commented this: “The Yahoo CEO seems prepared to kill off everything other than search and then turn over babelfish, altavista, overture and all the rest over to Microsoft in the end.” – I found this pretty interesting and I’ll definitely be keeping notes as the rest of the Yahoo story unfolds.

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