This week marked the end of an era in Internet lore as Yahoo! was officially sold off to Verizon, thus ending its position as an independent company. Over the past 10-15 years, Yahoo! has been the butt of too many jokes and a cautionary tale of how a sprawling, rudderless organization grew too quickly and did not have the leadership and management chops to take advantage of their once dominant position.
Let us not forget that at one time, Yahoo! was THE most dominant online property on the Internet. They had a leadership position in Search, in Email and as a “portal” of content. They purchased Flickr, a once dominant, innovative and highly influential photo sharing site that is today a shell of its former self, a victim of Yahoo! completely missing the mobile revolution. They once owned Delicious, another highly influential web bookmarking service that – like Flickr – introduced the Internet to tagging and RSS Feeds of your favorite internet links. The amount of data that was generated by Delicious was staggering, but Yahoo didn’t see it and that too withered on the vine. And I have not even touched on Yahoo!’s self grown and highly regarded services like Fantasy Sports, Yahoo! Finance and of course, Yahoo Mail.
I won’t go any further in waxing poetic about the opportunities that Yahoo! (not to mention AOL, who they will be joining at Verizon) squandered as they proceeded to get Googled before they ever knew what was happening.
I will, however, leave you with one of the classic Yahoo! commercials from the late 1990s that will bring a smile to your face and make you think back to the wonder and joy of discovery that was present back when Yahoo! was, well, Yahoo!: