Yahoo Failing To Consider GeoCities Alternatives?

    April 24, 2009

This afternoon, we learned that Yahoo intends to shut down GeoCities, the once-thriving Web hosting service.  And while it’s true that GeoCities isn’t in the same shape it used to be, this move does raise questions about just how quick new CEO Carol Bartz is to give up on certain projects.

Plotted against Twitter, GeoCities comes out on top in terms of unique visitors for 12 of the last 13 months.  That’s nothing to sneer at.  According to Compete, GeoCities experienced a 7.87 percent bump in visitor numbers between February and March, too, so it’s not exactly heading straight towards zero.

GeoCities Numbers

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.  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.

Yahoo promised that it’ll release additional details about the GeoCities shutdown this summer.  Investors might want to push for financial information more than anything related to which buttons users need to click.