Remember GeoCities? The quirky, city-themed web hosting service and early social network that, by 1999, was the third-most-visited site on the World Wide Web? Fourteen years ago, Yahoo acquired it -- and with much the same fanfare as the Internet behemoth has done, today, with Tumblr.
There is reason to be optimistic about Yahoo's latest acquisition: ads, audience, coolness, etc. But it's worth remembering GeoCities today -- and the cautionary tale it offers. Despite all the cheer about the consolidation between the two Internet giants back in 1999, Yahoo proceeded, essentially, to raze GeoCities. It spent $3 billion -- yep, billion -- on the homepage service, then left it "to rot" as MySpace and then Facebook built out their own social networks. In 2009, Yahoo shuttered the service for U.S. users, leaving GeoCities, in the States, as little more than a Pets.com-style punchline. (GeoCities is now available only in Japan.)
You probably couldn't have predicted all that in 1999, though. Below is a series of quotes from the press releases about the two Yahoo acquisitions, GeoCities and Tumblr -- one from 1999, the other from this morning. See if you can guess which quote comes from the GeoCities acquisition announcement and which comes from the Tumblr. Click here for the answers.
1) The acquisition combines two of the largest and most popular services on the Internet.
2) This powerful combination enhances Yahoo!'s position as one of the world's leading global branded Web networks.
3) Yahoo! will help [redacted] get even better, faster.
4) The combination of [Redacted]+Yahoo! could grow Yahoo!'s audience by 50% to more than a billion monthly visitors, and could grow traffic by approximately 20%.
5) [Redacted] has built an amazing place to follow the world's creators.
6) With 74 percent more reach than its next closest competitor, [redacted]'s popular personal publishing services have made it one of the top three individual sites on the Web.
7) [Redacted]'s combined home/work reach of 33.4 percent is evidence of its brand strength and broad appeal to users worldwide.
8) With more than 300 million monthly unique visitors and 120,000 signups every day, [redacted] is one of thefastest-growing media networks in the world.
9) With the addition of [redacted] to the Yahoo! network, the companies expect their combined unduplicated home/work reach to exceed 58 percent, which would make it the second largest network of properties on the Web.
10) [Redacted]'s tremendous popularity and engagement among creators, curators, and audiences of all ages brings a significant new community of users to the Yahoo! network.
11) The company has built one of the Web's largest communities. [Redacted]'s easy-to-use and innovative publishing tools, which recently received C|Net's "Editors' Choice" award, allow non-technical users to instantly create, publish and update content on the Web.
12) The two companies will also work together to create advertising opportunities that are seamless and enhance user experience.
13) Both [redacted] and Yahoo! share a vision to make the Internet the ultimate creative canvas by focusing on users, design -- and building experiences that delight and inspire the world every day.
Hat tip Sam Biddle.