Yahoo! has sent out the final notice that it will be closing GeoCities on October 26th. Apparently, Yahoo recommends GeoCities users to download their sites or switch to its newer Yahoo web hosting platform because all accounts with GeoCities will be deleted. Once the Internet’s third most visited domain, GeoCities, will be shutting down on Oct. 26, taking with it thousands of user home pages and decades of data. All that information will be deleted, forever and become history. Fortunately, some historians are making sure it’s not lost to the annals of time.
GeoCities is a web of user-created pages that was one of the pioneers of some of the basic tenets of social networking. Yahoo! bought GeoCities for $3.65 billion a few years ago, but sites like Facebook and Twitter left it in the dust.
Outdated as its features are, you’ve got to be sad to see GeoCities go. It was among the most iconic (and ubiquitous) services in the earliest days of widespread adoption of the social web. Geocities was originally opened in 1995 as BHI (Beverly Hills Internet). Many people used GeoCities in the late 90s to get a taste of web programming, and some see GeoCities as the progenitor of the blogging movement.
In April 2009, Yahoo announced that GeoCities would cease accepting new registrations in preparation of the service’s closing. In June, they clarified: the service would shut down on Oct. 26, 2009. As their FAQ states, GeoCities is not being decommissioned — it’s being deleted. That means any data not personally backed up by its owners or readers will not be recoverable, ever.
At the time, Yahoo’s acquisition of GeoCities was seen as spectacular and the $3.65 billion price made the headlines. 1999 was of course the height of the dot com bubble followed by the now legendary dot com burst. Back then though, the site was the third most visited online property after Yahoo and AOL but several bad decisions from Yahoo, spurred by the lack of revenue, and the fact that the service itself was quickly becoming obsolete, have seen its user numbers and traffic drop dramatically leading to the decision to close it down earlier this year. That said, the closure marks the end of an Internet era.