Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Yahoo's 10th

Yahoo! is ten years old this week.
As part of their celebration, they put up a copy of their home page from 1995. I poked around a little and found a copy from December 1994 from when the site was still hosted at Stanford on a server called akebono. To do it up right, download an early version of Mosaic or Netscape, change your screen resolution to 640x480 with 256 colors, and surf the page that way. Just don't blame me if you get all weepy after seeing the gray background and pulsing N in the corner of the browser. source -
Travel back to 94--that is when Jerry Yang and David Filo begin to compile a list of their favorite Web sites while pursuing doctorates at Stanford University. The list eventually appears online as ``David and Jerry's Guide to the World Wide Web. Encouraged by the their directory's growing popularity and backed by $1 million inventure capital, Yang and Filo launch Yahoo an acronym for ``Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle. In 85, Yahoo ends its first 10 months in business with a loss of $634,000 on revenue of $1.4 million but the company produces a $92,000 profit during the final three months of the year. In April 1996 Yahoo IPOS at a split-adjusted 54 cents per share. The initial public offering gives the company a market value of $334 million. By January 2000 Yahoo's shares close at an all-time of $119...Today, the company's sites enjoy 345 million users and its market value hovers around $50 billion.
Yahoo's roots go back to the very roots of the Internet itself. In the early days Yahoo was just a word, just a name. Yahoo is an abbrievation in fact for Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle. The acronym represents the fact that Yahoo seeks to be a directory or hierarchy that serves as an oracle or knowledge giver to the modern day office dweller who is officious. The source of the silly exclamation point at the end of Yahoo! is anyone's guess. Yahoo was originally started by just two men; David Filo, and Jerry Yang while attending Stanford University. Originally it was just basically a project to keep favorite bookmarks catalogued as at the time in 94 or so as the only means to find things on the internet was spider based engines such as altavista. As Yahoo grew, the strains on a university's resources became more and more extreme. Yahoo basically moved in and set up shop in Netscape facilities in 1995. In the days before browser wars Netscape was a very large portal in its own right. and had vast technical resources.

As Yahoo grew as a directory people would bookmark it and link to this one of their favorite sites. Yahoo would not be where it is today at all if it were not for all of the sites that linked to it early on. The link, even before yahoo served as the lifeblood of the internet and the means by which people could endorse their favorite sites. Yahoo basically just took this to a whole new level. By linking to so many sites in categories many sites in return linked to them. Yahoo received an enormous amount of television and other media attention from 94 to 97 or so and became the defacto spokesman for the internet world. As Yahoo transformed itself from a hobby to an empire, corporate thinking began to set in. The site and company began to think of itself as a "portal." A gobbling of up related sites that could serve to defend Yahoo's position was the result. source - movieprop

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