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What If Yahoo Was Acquired? 177

Johnathan Swift writes "As one of the biggest of the big on the Internet, Yahoo! is hardly a favorite of those Slashdot folks who like their net small and personal. Yet among its competition as a mega-portal -- AOL and MSN -- Yahoo! is different, and not just because it relies on free software like FreeBSD and Linux. This article in the San Jose Mercury News claims that, unlike the others, it still serves as a portal to the greater Internet rather than the "walled gardens" of AOL or MSN that try to isolate people from the rest of the net. If Yahoo! should merge with or be acquired by a media company like Disney or Viacom, it, too, would become such a walled garden, and the Internet would be that much closer to control by a few large corporations."
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What If Yahoo Was Acquired?

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  • Somehow I doubt Yahoo! would give in to such a thing happening, just for the pure fact that they seem to know what is going on around the net rather then keeping their heads in the sand like AOL/MSN.

    That is correct though... that would be a HUGE portion of the mainstream net that would be taken over - which would probably incapacitate a lot of the freedoms that we see, but don't notice, currently.
  • stuff like this scares me. granted yahoo isnt the best thing out there, but its independance helps a lot of hapless web surfers steer clear of msn and aol. if it were to be bought, who would be next? google? think of a net with only coporate run search engines... scary...
  • The resion I like Yahoo is becouse it loads fast, uses simple HTML and not crazy Java and XML. If I want something, Yahoo will have it.
  • by telvin ( 219665 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @12:31PM (#472234)
    Man..if I wasn't setting myself up for a flame. SlashDot is just as much a Closed Community as AOL and MSN, under the guise of Openess. Don't get me wrong, SlashDot is great, but at the same time, it is a walled community, as is the Open Source Community. Almost like an oxymoron..huh?
  • by Moose4 ( 182029 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @12:31PM (#472235)
    ...ask any of us that were on Egroups mailing lists (seven, for me) and had to go through a half-hour of resetting crap after Yahoo just Borged Egroups last week.

    I'll grant that they are better about providing open access to content than AOHell or Disney (and we see how well that's working for Disney, don't we?) or any of the others, but do you think it'd really make that much of a difference if Yahoo got bought out?

    Oh, uh, I'm guessing, ninth post. Or something.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Most students THINK yahoo/aol IS THE NET.

    Pitiful. Education, folks.
  • by cpeterso ( 19082 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @12:32PM (#472237) Homepage
  • Since when has Yahoo! relied on Linux?
  • by crow ( 16139 )
    I'm on three egroups lists, and it didn't seem to cause any significant problems. I just made one small update to my filters to strip out the ads since they changed the text slightly.

    What was the big deal?
  • Although I think some of the articles that are posted on ./ should belong in the "OLD NEWS" department, this post got me thinking. I've never actually contimplated Yahoo actually getting aquired. What's mentioned in the article is true. I haven't actually contributed to the conversation, I just wanted to say bravo for slashdot for an intuitive post. -aphex
  • by Kyobu ( 12511 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @12:35PM (#472241) Homepage
    That's a pretty nonsensical proposition. The only thing to be gained by buying Yahoo and then making it a walled garden would be the name. And after about 7 minutes, even newbies would realize that if Yahoo doesn't have its index anymore, it's totally pointless. So the only reason AOL or whoever would do that would be to kill the competition, which is stupid, since there are cheaper ways of making money.
  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @12:35PM (#472242)
    The only reason people visit Yahoo is because it contains useful links.

    If it becomes a "portal", like AltaVista,, or any of the other "front page" sites, people will stop visiting it, and it will cease to be valuable to those who visit it.

    That's not to say YHOO won't be bought out. Merely to say that if YHOO is bought out by some generic media conglomerate, the conglomerate has two choices:

    • Leave it as-is, and own its revenue stream, or
    • Turn it into a "walled garden", and receive a negative return on their investment as it's abandoned.
    Portals are dead. A YHOO buyer who doesn't realize this will just be wasting his shareholders' money.
  • As mentioned, like most /.-readers, I do not like portals like those of Yahoo, MSN or Netscape. Why? Because they try to be a portal to 'everything', and that's just not in line with how the web is set up. Using a general portal is like joining a club that does a little of everything, but excels at nothing. I rather like to choose my interest and find sites that are related. A subject-specific 'portal' might come in handy with that. But no Yahoo-alike portals for me please.

    As for controlling the web. I don't think it will matter that much. Everyone who really uses the web for anything will eventually finds his/her sites of personal satisfaction. I cannot imagine people - even AOL members :) - keeping themselves locked into the choices "Shopping", "Entertainment", "Education", etc. that would pop up everytime they start up their browser, and browsing from there on. But I could be wrong here.

  • Yahoo is not the Internet. Regardless of whether it is acquired, there will always be "unwalled gardens" on the Internet. Granted, an acquisition of Yahoo would be damaging to the free Internet community, but it would not cripple it. For a search engine, people would have Google [], for messaging, AIM [] (yeah, not the best example), ICQ [], etc. For e-mail, there are all sorts of providers, such as MyRealBox [] and a certain "secure" e-mail service that I will not name []. News is available everywhere. Stock quotes can be had at the NASDAQ [] site. I'd go on, but Yahoo has grown to provide everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink.

    My point is that there is nothing that Yahoo has that isn't also available elsewhere for free. The free Internet idea would not be destroyed if Yahoo was acquired.
  • Yet among its competition as a mega-portal -- AOL and MSN -- Yahoo! is different, and not just because it relies on free software like FreeBSD and Linux.

    AOL [] runs on aolserver [], also free and open source.

  • .. and reley on word of mouth to creep out to new habitually surfed sites. (According to research of our very overpriced PR firm our company used). These basic 10-20 sites are not really breached.

    I personally used Google to find any various obscure howto or tidbit of info that I need. If I am really looking for a good index search engine I go to DMOZ. ( It's basically an 'open indexed web engine'. All the editors are non-payed contributors.

    The post is unrealistic.. even if Yahoo is bought out.. which I hope it is and makes the idea of services beeing free and subsadized with my 'profile' and banner revenue.

    Anyway, other indexes will creep up if Yahoo goes away.

    Would you like a Python based alternative to PHP/ASP/JSP?
  • by starseeker ( 141897 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @12:39PM (#472247) Homepage
    Such services are great. They are convenient, help us find info faster, and provide services. But if they ever grow too limited or hostile to certain segments of the internet, we are not bound by them. They have no legal claim on the internet. A new service would form, without the limitations. I don't tend to worry about any such company - they can only ever be one component of the internet, and not THE internet. There is no possibility of full control - too many countries, too many people, and too much individuality. Also, the law, while often as much a hinderance as a help, can in some cases prove to be a useful weapon against corporate tatics. Microsoft is being hurt more by the ongoing court case than it ever would be by a breakup of OS and applications. So don't worry, just retain the independant instinct and avoid what you dislike. That's the beauty of internet. There is no one door, and even if AOL trys to become the eight hundred pound monster the way Microsoft has in OS there will always be alternatives. Seek them out and encourage them. Competition is the ultimate weapon and security.
  • If yahoo gets bought and compartmentalized, then people will still have access to the big dirty internet. They may even start a new, non-purchaseable web directory and set of services. I know I'd chip in some time to making a free yahoo if the big one went away.
  • If Yahoo moves from indexing everything, to only things fitting the 'closed wall' approach, that's a pretty big change to their buisness model. What will happen will depend upon what the demand for each approach is.

    If there is a demand for one more closed wall approach, they'll thrive. If there's not, the fighting will become more intense for the eyeballs that make up that market. More than likely, one of them would change their approach back to the index-everything one.

    Either way, if there truely is a market for an index-everything site, someone else will come up and take yahoo's shoes. Either way, I'm not worried.

    Gotta love free markets. :)

  • by kaphka ( 50736 ) <> on Monday January 29, 2001 @12:40PM (#472250)
    Hey, I remember the days when Yahoo was [], or something close to that. They may be big and corporate and evil now, but you have to give them some credit... they worked their way up.
  • Allright the internet is free and unwalled no matter if Yahoo is aquired or not.

    Now lets thing of something completly diffrent. and this has bearing on the internet's future. wirless internet access devoices like though on cell phones and such are growing rapidly and basiclly allowing only ceratin content providers access to be seen through these devoices. sure the internet will be open and free but business are pushing portable intenret access from anywhere that is less free.

  • Slashdot is a community. Yahoo, MSN, AOL... are portals. Big difference!
  • Not in the same sense. Slashdot is *based* on the idea of providing links to stories from outside sources. In contrast, the "walled garden" sites in question try to provide everything internally, with as few external links as possible.


  • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @12:43PM (#472254) Homepage Journal
    I don't know about the rest of Slashdot, but, contrary to the article blurb above, I actually like Yahoo. My Yahoo(tm) is my newspaper in the morning, and the "See if there's something on an intelligent index and if not fall back to Google" makes a great way of searching for stuff. The webbased email, while not original, is damned useful. Sure, there are problems, I'm not overly happy about the fact that Yahoo has an enormous amount of personal information about me, from my name and address to my credit card numbers and sexual tastes (!), but I trust them insofar as I know that if they ever abused that trust with anyone, they'd lose business faster than a fried chicken outlet selling a rat.

    More, I'm curious how some of the conclusions/alarmist stuff in the linked to article were drawn. For instance:

    A Yahoo merger would have major -- and negative -- impacts on the Internet and Silicon Valley: It would substantially increase the risk that the Internet will be divided into so-called ``walled gardens'' that seek to capture and hold Internet users rather than enabling them to range widely across the World Wide Web.
    I don't see the connection. Sure, someone could buy Yahoo with the aim of turning off its indexing and searching features, but what would be the use in that? Yahoo's principle selling point is that of a Portal - of a point to start at on the Internet, and any attempt to corrupt that purpose is going to drive users away.

    Mercury Center's argument is much undermined by its own selection of apparent rivals, to whit:

    When the AOL service was launched in 1989, the World Wide Web didn't exist. AOL provided subscribers with dial-up connections to its own online network of content and services. Subscribers were free to "chat" with other AOL users. They could browse sections created by companies that signed up to become AOL content providers.
    This is very true. Now look at it, a one stop shop (ISP subscription, TCP/IP stack (albeit over a proprietry packet switching protocol), portal and search engine) for Internet access. In other words, why would Yahoo become a 1980's era AOL or CompuServe if AOL has had to become a combination of an ISP and Yahoo-like portal?

    Not that I want Yahoo to be bought - it works fine independently and seems somewhat more trustworthy that way. But the linked article is not a good argument against it. Any company that intends to buy Yahoo in order to control what users can and cannot see will have limited success, and will probably die trying.

  • by BDew ( 202321 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @12:43PM (#472255)
    Apple were to be bought by Dell?

    RedHat were to be bought by Microsoft?

    Slashdot was to be bought by AOLTimeWarner

    There are LOTS of possibilities and what ifs.That's why it's called a Free market! This whole thread seems to be one long bit of FUD, IMHO.

    It's ok, the internet has survived thus far. Even freeNapster is still alive. And the world appears to be in one piece still, even after the election of W. Sweet dreams, everyone.

  • But it is a portal... and, if memory serves, it is the original portal. Altavista,, and the rest of them are just copying yahoo...
  • The difference here is that among the giants, the small personal internet will always be accessible. Unlike television stations, a website costs very little to run. Even if yahoo were swallowed up by a larger company and turned into a "walled garden", the internet at large wouldn't skip a beat. Sure, it might prevent new users, who aren't familiar with the internet, from seeing the diversity available, but the underground will remain the underground.

    And as sites grow popular, it isn't always necessary that they collapse under their own weight, popular sites like blogger [] have turned to their audience/users for money to buy new servers and the users turned out in droves to pay for a service that they use and enjoy. The power of the internet is that it's a community and the imminent purchase of a large anchor site won't do much to affect the internet that we know and love.

    And, not always is it in the best interest of a large corporate entity to subsume their internet properties. The failure of [] is a powerful example of how corporatization of popular sites can destroy a user-base. And as this happens more and more, you can expect that companies will be more willing to let their affiliate sites be diverse.

    Bottom Line: As long as people are passionate about the internet, there will always be independent content. An undercurrent to the mainstream.

  • I would find that very curious. Yahoo should be commended for what they have done. Yahoo was the first major search engine I used, back when they were located at Stanford university. They have became much more commercial since them, and they have added lots of strange or silly concepts, but to me they are still the grass roots of the internet.

    They were one of the first, they have held out from being bought so long already, it would be tragic if it were to happen this late in the game.

    It was also an excellent choice for them to use google as the back-end to their searches as well.


  • i never used yahoo as a search engine, i don't like it... I have used lycos 5 years back, then, then google since it exists.
    Yahoo took all the stuff and made shit with it, now it's the turn of egroups... after going to, now i go to WTF? I want to use a diversity of sites!!!
  • I like Yahoo!. Not because it's a big company. Not because it's "got everything I'd ever need!" Not because it's the best for searching (I use Google for that).

    Yahoo! shows that two kids out of Stanford really can make a difference with their Graduate theses. That's why I like Yahoo!
  • This scares the shit out of me!
  • If slashdot is a closed community, how would you define an 'open' community'? Slashdot has options for news/links/search boxes from dozens of other sites to appear on the main page, if you set it up in such a way. Regardless, the 'walled community' the author of the news item was referring more to web portals/startup screens than single websites.
  • Each realy big corporation dreams of owning there own chunk of the internet.

    In a certain context, I can see the "Walled Garden" concept, for new users, for kids, etc.

    but for experienced users and adults, NO.

    There is a broader context for this. I found the following recently, and feel it is important enough to share here:

    Dreams Of The Two-Legged Lab Rats
    By Diane Harvey

    We who are being experimented on as a way of life certainly do have our dreams. Every day we are run through an increasingly complex labyrinth of genetically engineered food, undrinkable water, the steady deadly rain of unbreathable chemtrails, and the jangling pulses of electromagnetic chaos. The maze is getting smaller and smaller, with ever more invasive procedures being applied to manipulate all of our activities. Secret experiments, open experiments and everything in-between: all of it designed to force us into fear, dependency, weakness, stupification and stupidity.

    The entire elaborate construction of the so-called civilized world is carefully and incessantly being modified to function as a more impenetrable, less obvious and ever-more-inescapable maze for conducting experiments in human and systemic engineering. The sheer scale of the maze, and the breadth and depth of the experiments is exhausting to try to keep up with, kept on the run as we are. We are kept so busy force-marched at top speed through the tiny pathways left to us inside toxic governments, toxic military programs, and the overall toxic global corporate grip, that nearly all we have left is our dreams. The chocolate sprinkles, those decorative treats of television and movies, bigger cars, bigger houses, cleverer electronics, and a rat race up the corporate ladder, are merely more debilitating aspects of the maze: just so much junk-food materialism for caged souls. Above our heads, behind our backs, beneath our feet, the predatory controlling mechanisms only get worse. So we dream.

    We dream of freedom, of course. "The rat work suggests that dreams may be a rehearsal". Why yes, our best dreams, daydreams and night dreams alike, are definitely a rehearsal for an evolutionary revolution and mass escape from the degradations of lab rathood. We don't see a way out yet. Nevertheless in our dreams we know very well we are not born to serve as profitable and highly expendable lab rats for a relatively few demented groups of power-maddened greed-ridden experimenters. Under such deeply stressing and distressing conditions, we human lab rats are currently still chewing on ourselves, biting one another in sheer frustration, and in general, tending to blame each other or other groups of rats in adjacent cages, for our current genuinely miserable fate.

    Yet the first dream of the sentient captives should be identifying who the real enemy is- those vague and blurry figures hovering just out of sight, moving in the shadows behind the dazzling lights of publicity. Mistakes will be made in the identification process- it's well to keep that in mind too. But from this investigation will come a necessary realization of the deep overriding mutual interest of all who are slaves to this same increasingly global totalitarian regime. The dreams of the two-legged lab rats are the very foundation of a future world of freedom, if such a world is to come into being at all. The single goal here is to dream well: to rehearse patiently, in general and in detail, the overthrow of the worldwide Culture of Death.

  • The only reason people visit Yahoo is because it contains useful links.

    I must disagree...I use Yahoo quite routinely:

    1. It is my primary email because I have been behind several firewalls that did not allow telnet to an external server, but nowhere has blocked yahoo's mail.
    2. I use their file storage, address book, and planner as a convience...could I implement them on my server account? Sure, but why waste the time.
    3. Their customizable portal is actually useful for me (local movies, new links in their index in my areas, several yahoo bbs I am in, some business news, etc).
    4. Their notepad is a great way to pass myself notes for home/work from work/home.
    They are the only portal site I find useful and use their services routinely because of it. I think many people go there for more than links.
  • by jayfoo2 ( 170671 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @12:49PM (#472265)
    How about looking at it this way.

    A good percentage of the people have a 'home page' from one of the portals. Mostly AOL, MSN, or Yahoo. Almost everyone uses at least one for some net services (travel, email, news, etc.) And each has about the same market share of web users.

    Now why is this. It's because each tries to capture a different market segment. MSN goes for those who don't know how to change their homepage. AOL goes for my mom (lay off the mom jokes please).

    Yahoo generally targets the more sophisticated user (no not l33t d00ds with shell accounts). The average user who is interested in content over flash. Yahoo also has a bit more cachet with the 'techno-snob' that says 'I'd never use AOL/Microsuck)

    In other words if yahoo (as a 'vibe') became more like the MSN/AOL closed portals it would lose the attribute that makes it most successful. Yahoo as a unit of (AOL, MS, GE, NTT, ABC, 123) would not be a cool as yahoo standalone.

    Now just because it's not a good idea doesn't mean it won't happen.
  • But it is hard to argue against Yahoo! being an attractive acquisition target for any company trying to compete with AOL/TW and MSN. Let's see - of the traditional broadcast networks, NBC is partnered with MS already, ABC is owned by Disney, and CBS is owned by Viacom. This week, Disney is folding GO. CBS has done the most decentralized job, it seems to me. Is Fox even on the radar?

    My point is that if you look at MSN and AOL/TW, someone's going to want to compete with them, and Yahoo! is the prime option to bring into the fold.

    It may not be an automatic conclusion that a bought-out Yahoo! would become a preferential gatekeeper for those who own it. Though I admit that it is likely, if not probable.

    But isn't this just life in the foodchain? Won't another service come along that provides an open view if Yahoo!'s become's closed? And won't they eventually become large enough to get bought when whichever megacorp that buys Yahoo! runs it into the ground and ditches it, like Disney is doing to GO?
  • I think that the author may have missed the point. The "walled garden" may not have any direct hyperlinks out of the garden, but all it takes is one "Google" in order to break out.

    Far more dangerous and (in my opinion) more likely, is the idea that your ISP is part of a conglomerate which allows much faster interconnections with those in the garden than without. How many people give up surfing slow sites? As long as the conglomerate is large enough to encapsulate a large selection of services, they're not going to endanger themselves too much. Besides, most high speed ISP's are monopolies or duopolies.

    I believe that a number of ISP's have already considered approaching vendors to pay for "preferred" status (i.e. better connectivity to their site).

    Now *that* is the real way to slowly kill the internet.
  • As long as we have P2P the we don't need to worry that the internet can be controlled by "a few large corporations." I don't think the "masses" choose AOL because they want to, they do because they are not literate. Perhaps we need an education campaign to get people to venture outside these "walled gardens". Alghough, whether we have one or not won't matter in the end because all people venture out of the garden sooner or later.
  • The only reason people visit Yahoo is because it contains useful links.
    If it becomes a "portal", like AltaVista,, or any of the other "front page" sites, people will stop visiting it, and it will cease to be valuable to those who visit it.

    Ummm... and portals cannot contain useful links? Rather odd definition of what a portal is. Somewhat self-fulfilling analysis.

    I guess we're overlooking [] for the sake of the above argument. Definitely bears little to no resemblance to a portal site.

    Definitely :)

  • Like the article says, AOL and MSN tried the 'walled garden' approach, and found that it didn't pay off. If Yahoo! is bought out by a megacorporation, what's to stop me from using MetaCrawler [] or Google [] for searching the Internet?

    Yahoo, in my opinion, has really gone down in quality in recent months, almost to the level of AltaVista. I only use Yahoo when I'm searching for a specific subject, and even then, this is only when Google can't find what I'm looking for. Disney and just flat out suck, period.
  • >I use Yahoo quite routinely [for and]

    Sorry, I should have clarified - If the Yahoo search engine (which isn't really a search engine, just a directory of links that have been categorized by humans) gets turned into a portal-like "all content comes from us" thing, then it [meaning the search engine part] dies.

  • try [] or []

    it's not a valid yahoo URL, does Yahoo think they own the url laws or domains or whatever? If i make a mistake in a URL i want a DNS error, not a yahoo error!
    I know it's egroupS, but before yahoo came, both and worked.
  • If it becomes a "portal", like AltaVista,, or any of the other "front page" sites, people will stop visiting it, and it will cease to be valuable to those who visit it.

    Depending on what you think a portal is, they're already there [].

    Assuming "Portal" means "entry point", Yahoo was the first portal I came across. I liked it because it was clean, displayed quickly, and was very configurable. I could set up the news items in which I was interested, sports scores, weather, etc. You could set up multiple pages for various topics. All this in 1996.

    Over the years, I have checked out other offerings, such as Altavista, CNN and others, but I have always come back to Yahoo's clean, easy-to-use interface and lack of "walling off". It's still the first place I check when I get on the 'net.

    If it were to be bought and converted to an MSN type of site, I would probably leave. I like that it is a portal in the sense of "Entry Point" with a multitude of links to the wide and varied 'net.

    Is anybody working on a "My DMOZ"?


  • I completly agree with you on that.

    But your forgetting that alot of CEOs and Megacorps think "it only failed because we don't have control" /me looks to Mirosoft and the .net idea.

  • > whois

    Damn... and me without any moderator points. This has to mean something.


    America Online, Inc.
    22000 AOL Way
    Dulles, VA 20166

    Administrative Contact:
    Domain Administration, AOL
    America Online, Inc.
    22000 AOL Way
    Dulles, VA 20166
    Tel. 703 265 4670

    Technical Contact:
    Domain Administration, AOL
    America Online, Inc.
    22000 AOL Way
    Dulles, VA 20166
    Tel. 703 265 4670

    Domain servers:

  • Enough said! declaration.html

  • What was the big deal?

    The big deal was for those using the web resources tied to each group and not knowing in advance that they would have to update and/or create a new Yahoo! identity. File management was one area where this came into play.

    Or, the fact that Yahoo! does not seem to have one of the groups to which I belong (and had migrated over from eGroups) indexed, though a direct link to it works. Not a big deal, but refuses to believe I belong to said group (even though I did last week when the changeover took place), and so it will not appear on "My" Yahoo! page ...

    I think the biggest problem is already past: Yahoo! announced the migration in advance of the actual move, but failed to follow-up with a notice closer to the actual move date. And, judging from the experiences of others, the original announcement was not sent out to *all* members of eGroups discussion lists.

    I have my fingers crossed that the format of the newly migrated groups will become the norm at Yahoo! -- original Yahoo! clubs don't permit response to postings through email (you have to use a web form to do so), but the eGroups escapees still do.

    So far, more or less, so good. One particular list to which I belong has migrated from OneList to eGroups to Yahoo! in little under one year, and I am left wondering to where it will migrate next.

  • I don't know. What if Yahoo were acquired?

    Hemos, meet the subjunctive mood. The subjunctive mood, meet Hemos.

  • Uh, it's not a matter of matching singular/plural. It's the tense, namely subjunctive.
  • So how do we know Yahoo! won't turn into a walled garden all by themselves? I'll agree, I use Yahoo! for a lot of things, and for the most part, I always admired their service.

    However, over the past few years, their presence on the 'net has been to suck up as many companies as they can, and somehow try to meld them into the Yahoo! universe ... often badly. The Webring fiasco was probably the worst case and even today I continue to fight with the Yahoo! support team, telling them they really need to put back functionality that was originally on "Fight" probably isn't the correct word, since they haven't bothered to respond to any support Email from me since sometime in November. Near as I can tell, they simply don't care ... either that or they're too embarassed at having bought, broken it, and now refuse to fix it, or even acknowledge there are problems.

    Yeah, maybe Yahoo! was great once, and maybe it shouldn't take one (really) bad experience to tarnish such a reputation ... but at the point where they start ignoring support Emails, I can only see a downward spiral. :-(

  • You mean Yahoo! is more than amagazine []?
  • That's why it's called a Free market!

    Really? Cool, where do you live? How does it work?

    Where I live -- the USA -- the market is mostly controlled. With minor exceptions, what's not regulated by the government is manipulated by the corporations. (Often they work these things out together, and then tell the rest of us what's allowed and what's not.) There's some talk about a free market here, but despite lots of lip service the idea's never really gotten anywhere.

  • What is this?
    whois []
    and this?
    whois []

    What is all that stuff?
  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @01:11PM (#472285) Homepage Journal
    Portals are dead. A YHOO buyer who doesn't realize this will just be wasting his shareholders' money.

    From the point of view of a serious Internet user, portals are certainly a bad idea. But I don't see where they are dead. There have been some nasty failures, such as and Altavista. But these have more to do with a limited marketplace (the official story) and bad management (probably the big factor) than with the viability of the Portal as a business model.

    I'm suprised to hear you refer to the Yahoo portalization as something that hasn't happened yet. Portals are about keeping people on the portal, and Yahoo has pursued this goal as strongly as anybody. They bought up, licensed, or developed all kinds of web apps.

    This would actually be a good thing. Nobody forces you to stay on a portal site. The problem that Yahoo can't make the pieces fit. In theory, I should be able to use my Yahoo ID to read custom content, send email, maintain an address book, calendar, and other PIM stuff (all synchronized with my PDA), browse the Yellow Pages (and save the results to my address book), find backgammon opponents, play the game itself, etc., etc.

    In practice, none of this really works, because the pieces are crudely implemented, poorly supported and documented, and clumsily integrated with each other. And to top it all of, Yahoo imposes the weirdest security practices on its users. For example, I used to get a Medieval History newsletter in my Yahoo mailbox. Because the newsletter used rich text (and thus consisted of a single MIME/HTML attachment), Yahoo changed every instance of "Medieval" to "Medireview" -- just in case the file was a VBS worm in disguise!

    In any case, the lost of the Yahoo search engine would be no big deal. I've never seen the point in manual Internet indexes -- they can never keep up. I much prefer spider-based indexes, like Google. And if that's not enough, Google now neatly integrates the DMOZ index, which is really a better Yahoo than Yahoo.

    But Yahoo continues to prosper. Why? Because they were there first, and claimed a permanent place in the Web world.


  • or these?$ []








  • warning, this is a recycled post:

    prediction: by 2002, aol/twx/viacom/cbs will merge with citi/travelers, consolidating access/content/financial services into an uber bohemoth to "serve you better". In 2003, it'll merge with merke/ciba-giegy, adding medication to mass hypnosis, creating unprecedented pocket picking opportunities.. for few.. for short run.

    In the long haul, shareholder managed mediocracies like these will implode. Their urge to command and control the market will win fewer and fewer hearts. More cooperative competitors will route around the sword of the central censor. Wake up and smell the tsunami.

    Metcalfe's Law describes exponentially increasing returns as more nodes connect to a network. Hence, AOL MSN etc clobber one another to acquire customers, to aggregate eyeballs, with one simple aim: sell them. Customers defect, exploiting titanic price wars. The price for customer acquisition skyrockets. Investors hoping to cash in on tomorrow's loyal customer might just have their bubble popped.

    Long term loyalty can't be bought. And King Customer grows more powerful by the day. This will profoundly change all business relationships in the free trade of free ideas.

    Does a customer's capacity to store information quadruple every three years? Gilder's Law says there will be 27 times more pipe to share information every three years. So in ten years, TiVo nodes might store 75 times more info, but have 60,000 times the capacity to exchange it, and do so transnationally. Try to regulate it. Go ahead, hire more lawyers.

    Decentralization is bad news for vertically integrated cash registers. It's good news for reintermediators, and creators who avoid selling ownership out to ubercorps. Great news for chaorg []anizing traders.

    Shared ownership in client/server transaction is where it's at. ImagineRadio kinda got it, until they sold out to Viacom. Aolosaurus doesn't get it at all.
  • So what if Yahoo disappears. It's not the end or life as we know it, only of Yahoo. Yahoo offers excatly what can be gathered elsewhere. -> ( yahoo search -> google search ( yahoo directory listing -> Open directory project (

    In terms of the politics, I can't see any significant difference between yahoo and hotmail. Both are services offered for the purpose of making cash off of advertising. Sure Yahoo doesn't exist to destroy the little guy (yet) as MSN and AOL are, but it certaily doesn't have altruistic motives in offering services. If Yahoo were to become unprofitable it would close, or sell out, just a quickly as any other business. And when that happens we'll all pause for a moment to say that's too bad, and then get back to life.

  • exactly. what the heck is that?
  • I disagree: Slashdot doesn't own any cable, and nobody pays physical network access fees to Andover. Slashdot may be inbred and hostile to outsiders, but that doesn't make is a "walled garden" ;)
  • _to_shutter_go_com_portal_1.html
  • Slashdot is very closed. Yahoo has links to many outside sites, while still maintaining their own internal sites and keeping them consistent. Yahoo caters to many, many different kinds of people (just take a look at their clubs), and many different kinds of sites (look at their search engine, or Geocities). Yahoo links to everything on the web. Slashdot, on the other hand, is a proprietary, specialized, closed community.

  • wow, a labeled hyperlink that points to a different address than the label, confusing. Been using Yahoo since about '95 so I guess I caught it pretty early on. I'm glad they've remained true to form and not morphed into one huge banner ad like other portals.
  • What is Yahoo! anyhow? If we throw away the questionable multi-million dollar (billion?) market cap, all the fancy media sources like reuters news (of questionable value, anyhow), you're left with some very expensive scripts, some high volume servers, the mother of all internet connections.. and a list of links to other people's sites.

    Corporate control of the internet? Don't make me laugh. You could hack together something to emulate Yahoo and have moderated links, much like NewHoo! [] is now (ironically, it was bought. Need a GPL!. But, please, don't make me laugh. You could rebuild a much better open directory just as quick. The only people that would be affected by Yahoo! being acquired are the masses of people that are pretty content with AOL anyhow, and if strained, pre-chewed media content is what you want, then they got a lock on that.

    Yahoo! in 1994? 1995? was a much different place than it is now, and it was a lot more true to it's roots in the grassroots internet movement. To say that this could be coopted by coroporations misses the point; The grassroots will just move. To a large degree, it already has - and for the most part, I stopped using Yahoo a long time ago, and I got new haunts on the 'net - this being one of them.

    Just some observations.

  • Not really. Slashdot is mostly about links out to the "net at large" (whatever and wherever that is). The "walled garden" sites contain few links to pages not contained within the same site, or sites operated by those with whom they have a business relationship.

    It's quite likely that more and more users will be using "walled garden" versions of the net, but this doesn't bother me personally. In much the same way, Universal operates their "CityWalk" attraction just a few miles from the real places in Los Angeles which it simulates. The fact that millions of tourists pay to enter a dumbed-down, commercialized version of the nearby city doesn't make the city go away, nor does it stop me from enjoying the real thing and shunning CityWalk.

    If anything, the rise of "walled gardens" may be a good thing for the "real" (that is, geek dominated) net. After all, it keeps 'em off poor besieged Usenet.

  • Staking all your hopes on Google is short-sighted.

    Anyone who's ever run a NOC understands the concept of redundancy. When your proxy server goes down, do you say, "Oh, well, we still have the backup," and throw it in the trash? Most likely, if you're competent, you'll find that redundancy is a condition you want to preserve.

    Similarly, if the Chinese invaded and conquered California, would we shrug and say, "Oh well. Doesn't really matter - there's still New York."

    It is, in fact, a Good Thing that there is more than one large, easily accessible portal to the internet that doesn't try to constrict the internet to what it wants it to be. And the more of them fall, the more the trend will point to the internet becoming a "walled garden".

    Redundancy is a good thing. Redundancy is a good thing.
  • Egroups is one of the bigest public mailing list providers out there...many communities depend on these mailing lists for their members. A number of them are Pagan oriented, and now that the US is once again playing in the "Bush Leagues", a major media company might not want the controversy of supporting Paganism on their sites.

    That is what scares me.

    Druid, Erisian and sometime Thelemite
  • ummmm, Netbsd isnt linux.
  • One great feature of Yahoo is that it is sensibly simple in that it uses text when it is appropriate, and not some whizbang graphics that essentially communicate the same info as text would. Thus, Yahoo is useful and visitable by anyone from Lynx users to cell phone users to the latest greatest browsers. Google also has a nice "low graphics" appearance but most of the "walled garden" type portals tend to be bloated with superfluous graphics and it would be sad to see those dominate more than they already do. I don't understand why "big-time" web sites feel the need to make over their graphics every couple of months and needlessly complicate the presentation of information, sigh.
  • You're telling me! My rules broke in Outlook and I also spent a day and a half reconfiguring the yahoo/egroups thing. Grrr. now that it's done it's ok.:) i still liked egroups better. Maybe they'll be called Yahaol!
  • Well, Hemos could be just realizing the possibility of an acquisition and asking if it has already taken place. :-/

    (However alive [] or dead [] the subjunctive construction may be, if the term baffles you, it's never too late for a brief lesson [] or two [].)

  • Disney certainly wouldn't be buying Yahoo! Today they announced they're getting out of the Internet portal business.

    Here's the AP story [].
    Here's WIRED Digital's take [].

  • Yeah.. I manage about 5 egroups, and am a member of about 12 groups. But i had do nothing at all, *NOTHING*, and my old groups work as they were working till now...
  • I've found those, too. Try some others... is pretty long. as well.

    Some joker apparently figured out how to enter alternative domains, or something. I don't know the details. Hmmm...

  • by RedWizzard ( 192002 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @01:48PM (#472305)
    Slashdot is not a portal. It's a news and discussion site. It doesn't try to be everything for everyone which is what a portal is. It's pointless to try and debate Slashdot's open- or closed-ness, it's not relevant, but IMO Slashdot is quite open. The editors exercise fairly loose control over stories and anyone can join and post. How can that be a closed community?
    Yahoo links to everything on the web.
    Yahoo contains a directory and a web search run by Google. If I want to find something on the web I go directly to Google. I certainly don't expect my news site (Slashdot) to also be my search engine.
  • by TheFlu ( 213162 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @01:53PM (#472307) Homepage
    Maybe all the geeks here at Slashdot could chip in and buy it, to ensure that it remains free of the corporate controlled bureaucracy. I'm in for $5.00.

    Heck with it, why don't we just start our own Internet company. With the sheer brain power, engineering genius and geekiness of the average Slashdot reader behind the company, we'd be unstoppable. If I were a partner in the company I'd be much more willing to offer up more than just the $5.00 I mentioned above, in fact, I've got about 110 acres of land I'd be willing to donate to the project. 110 acres of pure, opensource geeky goodness. Wow, it'd be a geek paradise.

    Of course, if we were to fill 110 acres of property up with geeks, the neighbors (and the garbage collectors) might have a problem with the staggering volume of Mountain Dew cans that we generate. It'd be a mountain of Mountain Dew cans...then again, maybe we could use this to our advantage, and we could open up a year round snowboard park to help pay those ungodly electricity bills.

    Oddly enough, I'm only half joking.

  • by cluening ( 6626 ) on Monday January 29, 2001 @02:00PM (#472310) Homepage
    "...and the Internet would be that much closer to control by a few large corporations."

    You know, I really dislike it when people use the words "internet" and "web" interchangably. I somehow doubt the whole 'net, being that big pile of computers around the world, will be affected by Yahoo merging with somebody else and changing its links. The web, however, could be changed as people's web pages are walled out. Maybe I am just strange at thinking they are very different (seeing as how one is a subset of the other), but calling them the same thing makes me think of people who think that Netscape == The Internet. Rather foolish if you ask me...
  • This 'what if' crap doesn't matter to ME!

    Nuff said.
  • "but you have to give them some credit... they worked their way up"

    And so did Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Henry Ford, and Adolf Hitler (OK, Hitler didn't own a company, but he did work his way up from rejected art student to super-tyrant). A whole lot of giant evil companies started in someone's garage. That doesn't make them any less evil.

  • And so did Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Henry Ford, and Adolf Hitler (OK, Hitler didn't own a company, but he did work his way up from rejected art student to super-tyrant).
    Heh, can I invoke Godwin's Law? ;)


  • Portals, let's see: Excite, Xoom, Lycos, Go, Netscape, Northern Light ... Yup, pretty much dead.

    The big exceptions being MSN, which is the default homepage of you-know-what. And Yahoo, which is a portal of sorts, although never followed the heavy HTML and adverted links like the others did. (And maybe

    Which is why Yahoo's lack of integration is kinda nice in a way -- a bunch of small services that work and aren't trying to cram each other down your throat (see the MSN Explorer thing recently released).
  • As one of the biggest of the big on the Internet, Yahoo! is hardly a favorite of those Slashdot folks who like their net small and personal.

    Huh? Very doubtful. I don't know about anyone else, but Yahoo is my portal of choice. For a brief time I switched to Google, but since Yahoo started using Google's engine I've gone back to Yahoo.

    Yahoo combines the right amount of internet knowhow, big-name features (like their calender, which I use daily) and a strong search engine.

  • Uh dude, are you totally off-kilter?

    First, Yahoo has never accepted money for placing a site higher in a search, and probably never will. I should know. I was an intern at a startup site that wanted to try to do this and Yahoo said it was "unethical".

    Second, how is Google "competition", if Yahoo licenses their engine? If anything, Google is more like a "partner", or have you not gone to Yahoo recently to do your research.

    In short, kindly get your head out of your ass.

  • Not really. As anyone who's ever tried out their clubs and voice chat, Yahoo can be just as much a community as any other site.
  • Yeah. Change their homepage.

    Did that with my family (Win2K makes everybody's homepage MSN -- bleah) and they stopped using it immediately.

  • But this [] is still available.
  • Any service that charges $199.00 [] (non-refundable) to even consider adding your web site to their directory can hardly be considered something other than a "walled community."

    They certainly have the right to charge for their services, but don't put them on a pedestal above the other big directories.

    I doubt you'll be able to find many 'small time' sites (like mine) listed in Yahoo from this point forward.

  • Didn't say it was my only haunt, now, did I. Rather depressing how the cycle goes, though, isn't it?

  • Since when the search engine was powered by Google.

  • Portals, let's see: Excite, Xoom, Lycos, Go, Netscape, Northern Light ... Yup, pretty much dead. Excite may not be kicking ass, but it seems to be muddling along. Xoom still exists under another brand. Lycos is muddling along, though they're obviously not well-run. Go/Infoseek, which was an extremely successful search engine when Disney took it over, was destroyed by their parent's attempts to make them a media whore. The Netscape portal (which accidentally created the whole portal thing when somebody realized most users don't know how to change their home page) was never very impressive, but actually generated a big chunk of the company's revenue before they were taken over by AOL (a competitor, really). Northern Light never tried to be a portal -- they're still just a (bad) search engine.

    And there are a lot of successes. AOL (which started out as a bad online service and became a bad-portal-implemented-as-an-online-service; go figure), MSN (don't confuse that useless client with the web portal, which will probably continue to be popular), About. Plus every ISP has to have a portal (either their own or something co-branded) because the ad revenue is too much to pass up. And there are hundreds of low-rent portals that never attracted enough VC to get really big, most of which will probably muddle along forever.

    As for Yahoo: as I said before, the services mostly don't work. Their web email is better than the alternatives, but that's not saying much. PIM functions are uselss without proper integration. The only bought egroups because their own clubs software is hopeless (and they'll probably run egroups into the ground). All their other apps seem to be decaying over time (they used to be my first choice for directory/yellowpage lookups, but their databases have gotten too screwed up)...


  • I manage about 5 egroups, and am a member of about 12 groups. But i had do nothing at all, *NOTHING*, and my old groups work as they were working till now...

    I don't manage any groups, but I'm joined to several. Or was joined...
    It took 15 minutes of fucking around non-sensical yahoo pages just to be able to reply to a message via the web.

    Neither my egroups account or my yahoo account could be used anymore. I had to modify my yahoo account and use that. Next thing, it wants a second email address - it already has one, but it needs one for egroups. Except it doesn't - I read the groups online and don't recieve the messages by email, so a new egroups email address is not needed.

    But yahoo morons don't know this, because in ditching my egroups account without my permission, they lost my settings such as which groups I belong to and whether or not I get email or read off the web.

    So I have to track down all my groups and re-join on top of it all. The whole bloody mess just doesn't end. I could strangle someone.

    The bastards did the same thing with geocities. Totally fu(ked one of my best accounts. And I never got my (really nice) account name back.

  • 1. Because yahoo embraced and still embraces the web as it is meant to be.....accessible by anyone with a computer/devices and a connection. (even supporting text based lynx browsers ;)..)

    2. Because yahoo expanded on its services while maintaining the familiarity of its simplistic interface.

    3. Because yahoo established its name and presence on the web at the right time, using the right fundamentals/ideas, while gaining the right investors.

    I could easily dull u with a lonnng analysis on how they invested, implemented, and expanded their services need to...We all know their story.

    I've grown older with yahoo over the years...while sometimes i loved and hated it. I've been using it on a daily basis for years...and It ultimately served my needs very well.. in which search, communication and portable services are crucial since i access the web in different locations and on different operating systems/platforms frequently. From personal stock quotes... to bookmarks, to maintaining a buddy list that i can access anywhere through instant messaging using java.

    Granted that they completely ripped off or bought out some ideas from other services ..and may not offer the best incarnations of those services. But, what it has is the established centralization in which the others do not and never will. For better or for worse, I won't be surprised if they get really big in the media distribution market via streaming movies, music videos, maybe buying out a site like a portable "personal" mp3 streaming service such as time will tell.

    I won't praise them as the greatest major "dotcom" ever ...but they're good and still stayed true to their fundamentals while expanding. And with rapid advancement of the web via flash, media distribution etc..It's kind of a relief to see the familiarity of their simplistic interface ....after all these years.

    --By the way yahoo has around $1.62 billion USD in cash reserves, has no major debts, still making profit, while maintaining and expanding a huge market capitalization.....

    Yahoo is going to be around for a long time folk...
  • No, they don't let you pay for a higher listing. Now, they just make you pay for any listing. Then, they tell you that they may or may not end up putting your link in the database, they will use whatever title they want, whatever category they want, and whatever description they want. I'm glad they made me pay for that.

    My company is listed on Yahoo! under the wrong company name, a bad description, and in the wrong category. Did I submit it that way? No. That's just what Yahoo! thought was best for us, and they made us pay for it.
  • I disagree. In the US as well as other countries, the market is always free due to basic economic principles. If the gov'ment or the evil corporations (THEM, inc.) interfere too much with our consumerism, another entity such as (un)organized crime or free-thinking anarchists step in to provide an alternative.

    [laugh] By this reasoning, the late USSR had a free market economy. That's a hell of a stretch.

  • Northern Light never tried to be a portal -- they're still just a (bad) search engine.

    I wouldn't say that Northern Light is a bad search engine. I've actually found it to be quite good for some specific purposes. If you want a newspaper of journal article it'll find it right off. If you are looking for serious research on a relatively obscure topic you're much less likely to find a link to a page that reads "Welcome to Jim's Pancreatic Cancer Page!! Click on the Flashing Pancreas to Enter!!!" . For general searching I almost always use Google or Metacrawler, but Northern Light has it's uses and when you need it it really shines.

  • A few years ago the /. community was a lot more closed. Now people can say IE is better than Netscape without getting flamed to hell...

    Well, these days it's true. There's a big difference there. The other thing is that a piece of shit on a stick does a better job of showing webpages than recent versions (especially Linux versions) of Netscape. Thankfully, Konqueror is maturing quickly and is starting to feel like a really good browser.

  • Yes, but on Yahoo, anybody and everybody can and does chat. About the only prerequisite there is that they likely are not (!) aol subscribers (as aol subscribers are more likely to be attracted to aol communities).

    Slashdot - by sharp contrast, is "News for Nerds."

    People who consider themselves nerds, or consider the topics covered on /. interesting, are the primary constituents of /.. So the community itself is not by nature, exclusive (like aol; pay $, be our friend.), it does not contain people from all walks of life - it's a subculture.

    About the only people not welcomed on /. are posers (script kiddies, MS shills), pretty much everything else is welcome, but mainly, you really only find a bunch of nerds here. Like-minded people. Though a diverse bunch.
  • My wife's best friend's daughter is a big fan of aol (I get lots of good tease material out of her - why aol-er's love aol. . .)

    I'm trying to convince that family that there is more to the net than aol. I started by introducing them to Yahoo. By far, the lesser of the two evils; from there, Google, memepool, slashdot, and everything else.
  • It should not scare you.

    It should strengthen your resolve.

    If the fascists force you underground, then you're really better off anyway.
  • OK, mea culpa. I trashed Northern Light without giving it a proper chance. I'll try it for my next "obscure topic" search.

    I take it we're all agreed that NL is not a portal?

    Hey, where is Jim's Pancreatic Cancer Page? Sounds interesing!


God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker