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.

18 Responses to Yahoo to close GeoCities

  1. dracodos says:

    there's another piece of web history now becoming history.. just like ol' netscape.

  2. shallot says:

    I had a page here for a decade...and I have moved on to other services...RIP Geocities...

  3. morriscox says:

    Yahoo treated GeoCities like AOL treated ICQ, if not worse.

  4. giwo says:

    I have a love-hate relationship with Geocities.

    On one hand it was where I hosted my first website and learned quite alot about HTML and web pages in general back around 1995. On the other hand it went downhill quickly, and I have long remembered it by the name Geoshities.

    Some things are better left to the past, and I think this is one of them, I'm surprised it lasted this long.

  5. Zagadka says:

    GC was great in its day, back in '95 until Yahoo came in...

  6. Paul Skinner says:

    There's only AngelFire and Tripod left of the old, shitty web services. Sad day indeed.

    • dracodos says:

      Don't forgor fortunecity, or AOL's homestead for that matter (i have used all 3) But even though they were considered so crappy (AOL's was actually pretty decent for a beginner) they were still used by hundreds of users. It's what most users had available if they wanted a free hosting site back then :)

  7. Emendo says:

    This is rather sad. There are a lot of abandoned fan sites for games and media that are going to disappear forever.

  8. Umapathy says:

    Definitely Yahoo! geocities helped me to experiment the webdesign in circa year 1999-2002 via HTML and Javascipt when I was a University Student. Although later I made changes to the navigation windows via Javascript much of the design I havn't changed. I am unhappy that Yahoo! decided to close geocities which I considered as one of first landmarks in my IT carrier.

  9. xander says:

    Except for the loss of acquisition money, a closure like this leads to a even much more valuable loss: the complete loss of public trust in any Yahoo services. Who will ever be willing to spend time and energy putting things online on any Yahoo service, if you know that they are so easy in simply wiping all your stuff from the net, allowing you just 'to download your content before the end of the year'?

    They think in bussiness terms only, ignoring the respectful dealing of their individual user-clients, all in favor of their nervous stock-holders.

    • Umapathy says:

      Xander, I totally agree with you. Even though the sites were free Yahoo! has place for the advertisement. Now closing the Geocities service also close the revenue not only from the advertisement but they will loose the trust from the user. Sure that we don't give money to Yahoo! but Yahoo! starts ignoring the people, people will definitely will ignore the Yahoo! as well. I lost all my photos Yahoo! Photos. I worked in the Eastern part of Sri Lanka at that time and I had painlfully slow connection. I also didn't get any off from the organization I worked ended up in loosing the whole stuff. If they really care about the customer they would have automatically redirected to their flickr service which they didn't. I will not be surprised that one by one they close the service eventually they may end up in closing the Yahoo! as well. Yahoo! employees should spend 20% of the time to research the product like google. Decisions like these are only disastrous to the organizations in long run while it may give short term gain.

    • dracodos says:

      Does anyone REALLY spend that much of their time using ANY Yahoo service these days? The only thing I use on Yahoo! is the movies section and even thats rare as i don't go to the theaters much anymore. Most people I know abandoned Yahoo! ages ago.

      GeoCities closure doesn't really suprise me. Lots of good but abandoned sites will yes fall to the wayside but how many web surfers even hit a GeoCities website nowadays? i'm betting very little. And how many crap sites exist on that service? I'm betting a LOT! I can't say for any other yahoo service but GeoCities was probably more of an old useless employee who they kept around just because but realized they are losing more money than they are making off of that employee. Like netscape (and hopefully 1 day ICQ) it was time to put it out to pasture.

      • jeffca says:

        I only use Yahoo Mail because it pushes to my iphone. If hotmail pushed email to iphone I wouldn't use any Yahoo services.

  10. DatabaseBen says:

    perhaps, pirate bay should pirate geocities. maybe they can rename it to treasure island or something.

    the pirates are preaching themselves to be providing a valuable service to the world, isn't it?

    • psycros says:

      Actually...that's not a bad idea. Free pirate hosting! Base it in China and nobody could touch you. Heck, you'd probably get a government grant. I'd just love to see the faces of the RIAA's lawyers when that opens for business.

  11. psycros says:

    Another stupid move from a company that seems intent on digging its own grave. I mean, think about it for second - truly free site hosting outside of (gag) Microsoft Windows MSN Live Hotpages or whatever their calling it this week is about all that's left. This is not how you maintain brand loyalty. I still prefer Yahoo's mail and My Yahoo as a portal vs. Google or whoever. But one bad decision after another has almost assured their demise. It started with their search engine becoming ever more unreliable and outdated. Then they made POP3 mail a "premium" feature, which Gmail immediately capitalized on. Its pretty much been downhill from there. Their sites are still a disjointed collection of poorly promoted content (if not for a blog I wouldn't have even known Yahoo Music was back). Yahoo should seriously be trying to sell itself as a platform for content publishers of every kind, before Amazon and Google devour the entire market. Or [i]anything[/i] that doesn't equal "load gun, shoot self in foot".

  12. bobthegoat2001 says:

    Yeah, it is a sad day. I remember using it back in the day.

    But if you want to try another free host, try They're a pretty decent free host. No ads!, 200mb space, PHP and 5gbs monthly bandwidth to name a few features. The only main drawback that I see is that there's a 500kb file limit. You can't really get any better than that though for a free host.

    You can even use to get a free domain name to use too (though it has to end in instead of .com, but it's free).

  13. mfaccone says:

    I'm kind of glad they are dropping it. GeoCities used to be a really great place to have a home brew website. I met many friends there. Once GeoCities sold to Yahoo, it went by the wayside. Yahoo can't manage anything without it being destroyed. I was so hoping that Microsoft would have bought Yahoo outright.

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