The eviction notices are going out. Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) is telling GeoCities users to hit the road.
"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:
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 (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Rackspace (NYSE: RAX).Why is GeoCities going away? If Yahoo!'s willing to keep that cobwebbed email message that's been sitting in your Yahoo! Mail account since 2002, why is it killing pages that actually receive outside traffic that can be monetized?
Yahoo! is trying to convince GeoCities refugees to upgrade to its premium hosting platform, which it operates in cahoots with AT&T (NYSE: T). That upsell offer represents Yahoo!'s final attempt to milk something out of the $3.6 billion it spent on the site a decade ago. But the stuff on GeoCities consists mostly of hobbyist pages. They're not about to start paying $60 a year to host their Pokemon card collections or Harry Potter fan fiction.
We've seen this movie before. Homestead.com used to be another popular community of free hosted pages. It now belongs to Intuit (Nasdaq: INTU), with sites starting at $4.99 a month. Tripod.com is another Lycos-owned darling from the 1990s. It's still around, but not as prolific as it used to be.
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.
© 2009 UCLICK, L.L.C.