Yahoo to close GeoCities

AOL took down its Journals and Hometown services, and now Yahoo's following suit with its own GeoCities, the hosting service that once upon a dot-com bubble seemed to include half the personal sites on the Web.

Yahoo isn't currently providing a lot of detail about what users can expect from the shutdown process, other than that it'll happen "later this year," probably in the summer timeframe. As that unknown date nears, says GeoCities Help Page, "We'll provide more details about closing GeoCities and how to save your site data this summer, and we will update the help center with more details at that time."

Long before MySpace, GeoCities was responsible for a great number of sites put up by ordinary folk, often operating with more enthusiasm than design sense. ("Eye-searing" is a word that comes to mind.) The firm was one of the big buys of 1999, as Yahoo picked up the company, which was founded in 1994 as "Beverly Hills Internet," later "Geopages," for $2.87 billion. (Which even at the time we thought was a lot to have one's eyeballs seared.)

The "Cities" part of the name came from the early conceit of choosing a city appropriate for one's pages -- "Hollywood" for a fan site, for instance. Over the years the site hosted tens of millions of pages, though traffic has dropped in recent years as users switched to even simpler (and less eye-searing) blogging sites.

geocities watermark

Rest in peace: The infamous GeoCities watermark from 1999.

As of today, GeoCities is accepting no new users. The Help page suggests that current users consider switching to the (paid) Yahoo Web Hosting service.

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