We learned that Yahoo would be closing the door on GeoCities back in April, so users have had plenty of time to migrate to other services. Earlier this year, for example, MSN partnered with WetPaint to allow people to create "fansites". After Yahoo's announcement, Wetpaint took the opportunity to announce a "bailout plan for foreclosed GeoCities properties," which it called the "GeoCities Asset Recovery Plan (GARP)."As it shuts down GeoCities, Yahoo itself is now plugging its own $4.99-a-month Web hosting service.
Ok, so there are other options for GeoCities users, but is just shutting down a community that still attracts so much traffic the right thing to do? Yahoo's way of going about it has been widely questioned. According to Compete data, GeoCities has still been seeing over 10 million unique monthly visitors as recently as last month. Why would Yahoo want to just shut that down?
"Then there's the fact that Google, not Yahoo, appears to be responsible for the lion's share of GeoCities referrals, sending about 31.45 percent of the site's traffic its way," noted Doug Caverly upon Yahoo's original announcement. "Yahoo's only behind of 16.89 percent of all GeoCities visits. So by closing GeoCities, for which it paid $3.6 billion in 1999, Yahoo seems to be turning its back on a large amount of traffic. Moreover, it's turning down free traffic from its biggest competitor."
"Carol Bartz may be trying to get Yahoo's costs under control, but it looks like sticking a 'for sale' sign on GeoCities would be at least one preferable option compared to a closure," he added.
But alas, it looks like the sign reads "closed" rather than "for sale." So say goodbye, and in the words of Richard Marxx, "hold on to the memory."
It seems unwise from a business perspective, but what about the users? Does Yahoo have an obligation to its users who may have spent years using their GeoCities site only to have it pulled from the web? Should Yahoo provide a forwarding web address for GeoCities users? After all, it was the GeoCities users that built their sites, promoted them and put up with sometimes annoying ads. A simple forwarding of their GeoCities url to their new home would be appreciated!
MySpace isn't exactly at the peak of its popularity, but there are still tons of people who use it. What if they just pulled everything? What if Google bought Facebook and decided to kill it? What if your Tweets vanished? Sure these things seem unlikely now because these services are still fresh. Well, GeoCities was once the "it" thing too. Granted, most GeoCities sites I have seen are not much to look at now, but that doesn't mean people aren't getting use out of them. They're obviously getting page views.
Here's what Yahoo is telling GeoCities users to do if they want to keep their sites:
On October 26, 2009, your GeoCities site will no longer appear on the Web, and you will no longer be able to access your GeoCities account and files. If you'd like to keep your web site, you'll need to move your site files to another web hosting provider.
We recommend moving to our award-winning Web Hosting service, which works a lot like GeoCities but includes a personalized domain name (such as widgetdesigns.com) and matching email, terrific new site building tools, unlimited disk space and bandwidth, premium customer support, and more.
Perhaps it's not worth it to users to go throgh the hassle of migration, but it has been nice to have their GeoCities site at least remain in tact. Well, tough luck. I hope you've gotten what you wanted away from it before Yahoo obliterates it. There are some sites out there that have not yet been shut down, but it appears that is only a matter of time.