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Yahoo’s 16th Birthday

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Sunday March 6, 2011 )

At the beginning of this month Yahoo! turned 16. Was it a sweet 16 or bittersweet?

Companies like Google and Yahoo! seemed to have been around forever – but forever is a reasonably short time in the online world.

Two enterprising fellows named Jerry Yang and David Filo created a site call “David and Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web” back in 1994 – it was basically just like a list of bookmarks.

It was renamed to Yahoo! in April that year. The name Yahoo! stood for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle,” – reflecting the way the index was organized and Jerry and David’s sense of humor.

Yahoo! became popular very quickly and by the middle of fall 1994 daily traffic climbed to almost 100 thousand unique visitors – a phenomenal number considering how comparatively few people had Internet connections at the time.

While 1994 saw the name Yahoo! being used, it wasn’t until January 1995 the domain name was registered. I can’t imagine any company today advertising a business name without registering the domain name first – how times have changed.

In March 1995, Yahoo! was incorporated as a business and it was trading on the NASDAQ by April 1996. By that time it had a total of 49 employees.

The index became a portal and introduced a search engine – which was powered by Google. Yahoo! set to work behind the scenes to create their own search engine, which it launched in 2004. As of recently, Yahoo’s search results are now powered by Microsoft’s Bing.

Yahoo! currently employs more than 13,000 people from “Sunnyvale to Singapore” and welcomes over 10 million visitors a day who utilize its many services.

To even just attempt to touch on the various ups and downs of the company wouldn’t do it justice as it’s been such a major player in so many areas – if you’re interested in learning more, read Yahoo’s Wikipedia entry.

From a list of bookmarks to a company worth billions in 16 years – it’s these stories that remind me of the excitement surrounding the Internet during the early days and the fact such opportunities still exist today. All it takes is a good idea, hard work, a bit of luck and a lot of vision.


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