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Farewell Geocities

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Friday April 24, 2009 )

The free web hosting service Geocities has been around for what seems forever and it practically has in terms of Internet history – but it won’t be for much longer.

Geocities was founded by David Bohnett and John Rezner in late 1994 as Beverly Hills Internet (BHI). It was bought by Yahoo! back in 1999 in a stock swap valued at $3.6 billion, after a partnership with GeoCities since January 1998.

As Yahoo’s fortunes falter, the axe has fallen on Geocities, with an announcement yesterday it will no longer be allowing new signups and the service will be shut down later this year.

In the last few years, things haven’t been too flash for Geocities. According to a report on Tech Crunch, the ad supported service saw a 24 percent decrease in US traffic in March this year to 11.5 million unique visitors; compared to 15.1 million in March of 2008. A few years ago, it was seeing even more activity.

I remember a time when results from GeoCities used to litter Google’s SERPs which was incredibly frustrating; so probably some of the decrease in traffic was a result of Google tightening up their algorithm combined with a plethora of other free hosting and blogging services starting up offering superior tools.

I’d hate to think how many GeoCities pages must be out there – I wonder if on the day it’s closed it will be an Obi-wan Kenobi moment… “it’s as if millions of pages suddenly cried out, then suddenly – silence”. The Star Wars nerds among you will recognize that (somewhat butchered) quote :).

While the vast majority of pages on GeoCities aren’t really all that crash hot, there were some useful sites hosted by the service and it’s sad that they may suddenly disappear into the ether, never to be seen again. It’s also always a little sad to see a big online brand from the “old days” go belly up – such is progress.

Farewell Geocities.


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