The eviction notices are going out. Yahoo!
"After October 26, your GeoCities files will be deleted from our servers, and will not be recoverable," Yahoo! warns, urging content creators of the free, ad-supported Web-hosting site to pack up their pages.
The coming of the wrecking ball isn't a surprise. Yahoo! made its decision to kill GeoCities six months ago. It was a dumb decision then, and it's even dumber now.
A lot has happened over the past six months that could have made Yahoo! reconsider razing its online neighborhoods:
- After agreeing to hand over its paid-search business to Microsoft
(NASDAQ:MSFT), display advertising will be Yahoo!'s primary focus. As amateurish as many of the GeoCities pages are, we're still talking about a ton of pages that Yahoo! could slap brand-marketing ads on. Why zap the servers?
- Yahoo!'s new "It's You" marketing campaign is emphasizing its ability to deliver personalized online experiences. Feel the irony? You're soaking in it. Even as it's celebrating self-expression, Yahoo! is killing what may be its truest platform for individuality.
- Yahoo! Mail is finally cashing in on its "dormant social network" status by tweaking its leading free email platform. It's also hoping to ride Twitter's microblogging wave with Yahoo! meme. But it's not easy to sway visitors to invest time and effort in a new platform if they see a dead end waiting down the road.
Storage and bandwidth get cheaper as time goes by. Examples in the past year include the new hosting offers from such companies as Amazon.com
Yahoo! is trying to convince GeoCities refugees to upgrade to its premium hosting platform, which it operates in cahoots with AT&T
We've seen this movie before. Homestead.com used to be another popular community of free hosted pages. It now belongs to Intuit
Yahoo! is wrong to shut down GeoCities down, and there's really no excuse for it to obliterate more than a decade's worth of user-created content, either. At least keep that going, Yahoo! Show the social-media world that you're not heartless.
Or brain dead.
What were your GeoCities experiences over the years? Wax nostalgic in the comment box below.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz wonders what the rest of the world thinks of Yahoo! He owns no shares in any of the stocks in this story and is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.