We are gathered here today to bury Yahoo!, which now joins MySpace and AOL as examples of WWW pioneers which couldn't change as the world evolved around them.
What can we say about Yahoo? In it's time, Yahoo was groundbreaking. Yahoo was the web portal every other portal wanted to be when it grew up. Yahoo was the hip kid everyone turned to for tips on the best the web had to offer. Remember when the Cool Site of the Day was actually cool? Well, back then Yahoo was cooler than that. Yahoo was the king of cool.
But cool is no longer cool. No one cool says cool anymore. Except for the people at Yahoo. Which is majorly uncool.
As the world changed Yahoo struggled to remain relevant. Unable to create their own halfway decent search engine, they used Google's until realizing that might not be a solution to their coming death spiral. Once a pioneer in webmail, they allowed Yahoo Mail to be eclipsed by Gmail.
And now Yahoo is the living dead of websites. While they're still visited by more people than almost any other site in the world, it's doubtful these people actually care whether they're visiting Yahoo or some other generic website. No, they visit out of rote habit, returning day after day because it's what they've done for years and they might as well visit one more time.
But that's not a recipe for success. Yahoo has become the web's equivalent of an outdated strip mall on the rundown edge of suburbia. People still visit but the visits are joyless and slightly disturbing. Everyone knows that any day now the bulldozers will arrive and flatten this piece of ugly, pointless nostalgia. But until that happens they figure they might as well keep coming.
I've known for many years that Yahoo was dead but I couldn't bring myself to bury the poor bastard. Even though I preferred my Gmail account, I'd had my Yahoo Mail account for so long that I couldn't stop using it. For the sake of nostalgia I ignored the continually intrusive updates and poorly thought out designs, all reflecting Yahoo's greater and greater desire to turn me into someone who cared about their products. I also ignored the hateful news stream on Yahoo's homepage, which highlighted the worst crackpot articles and rants and theories you could find online.
But yesterday, I finally stopped caring and buried Yahoo. I arrived as I usually did to find Yahoo forcing me to change my password. Sure, they'd say this was for security reasons but I knew that once I changed it everything would go bad. And it did. Yes, I could log in and see my emails, but every email I sent bounced back to me as undeliverable. Except for a few which didn't. There was no sense to the pattern.
But there hasn't been sense to anything about Yahoo in years.
Goodbye, Yahoo! Goodbye Yahoo Mail, which could no longer be trusted to actually deliver your mail. Goodbye Yahoo Messenger, which opened your life to hordes of spambots and unwanted strangers. Goodbye Yahoo defunct services, of which there were so very, very many.
Goodbye, Yahoo! I would say we'd miss you. But we won't.