For those of you who haven’t heard, Yahoo! has officially shut down Geocities. And they’re just in time for Halloween in case anyone wants to go trick or treating as their dead GeoCities page. Spooky.
But why would Yahoo! just throw away something that they spent good money for, about 3.57 billion dollars in 1999. GeoCities web pages still saw around ten million visitors per month and some may think (as many did) that those kind of numbers were worth having around. At the very least they could have tried to sell the company, basically anything they made would end up being more than what they got by unceremoniously shutting it down.
Of course, they could have been trying to cannibalize GeoCities into their Yahoo! web hosting service. An offer to join the service was included with the announcement that GeoCities was closing to its users. It must have been a bitter pill to swallow: “So, yeah, we’re shutting all of this free stuff down but now you get to pay for web hosting for only 4.99 a month! We know you must be excited.”
And while 4.99 isn’t a lot for web hosting it’s still 4.99 more a month than most GeoCities users were paying. Besides, 4.99 is good for almost two gallons of gas in some places. Maybe.
Yahoo! never found a way to make GeoCities profitable or at least–profitable enough for them. And while I’m not going to say that they ran it into the ground–that’s surely where it is now.