Today Yahoo! announced that it is acquiring Tumblr . This marks a revival of Yahoo’s efforts to get into the social space. This inspired me to look back on the history of Yahoo’s social efforts. The following is listed in chronological order by when Yahoo! acquired/launched the property:
Flickr (March 2005 to Present)
Yahoo! acquired Flickr to get into the photo sharing business, and Flickr later replaced Yahoo! Photos as it did not make sense to have two Photos properties for Yahoo!. Flickr is still going strong today, ranked as the 82nd most popular website in the world according to Alexa.
Yahoo! 360 (March 2005 to July 2009)
Yahoo! 360 was Yahoo!’s homegrown effort to enter the social networking world, which in 2005 did not yet have a clear winner. Facebook was clearly up-and-coming, but it was still restricted to only students at that time. Unfortunately, Yahoo! 360 was unable to compete with Facebook once Facebook opened up membership to everyone over 13, and Yahoo! eventually shut down the site. Interestingly, Yahoo! 360 was extremely popular in Vietnam, where Yahoo! launched Yahoo! 360 Plus Vietnam to keep the service going after Yahoo! 360 was shut down in other parts of the world.
blo.gs (June 2005 to April 2009)
blo.gs was a service based on RSS feed aggregation. Yahoo! transferred the business to Automattic, which runs WordPress.com, in 2009.
Upcoming.org (October 2005 to April, 2013)
Upcoming.org was a social event calendar site. I was not a regular user of upcoming.org, though Andy Baio, who founded upcoming.org, shared his thoughts after the shutdown announcement came out.
Delicious (December 2005 to September 2011)
Delicious (then called del.icio.us) was the largest social bookmarking site at the time when Yahoo! acquired the company. During Yahoo!’s ownership, though, the only tangible feature change that I saw was the Delicious-Yahoo account integration, which didn’t exactly encourage more usage. Yahoo! ended up selling Delicious in 2011.
Bix (November 2006 to June 2009)
Bix was a site that ran online contests. It never found its place in the Yahoo! world, and was shut down on June 2009.
MyBloglog (January 2007 to May 2011)
Yahoo! bought MyBloglog, a site whose widget was omnipresent in the blogosphere. In fact, we had two articles on MyBlogLog: Top 50 MyBlogLog Communities and MyBlogLog: A Marketing Tool. The expectation was that Yahoo! would be able to leverage the huge amount of data MyBlogLog has gathered in some way to help the company gain more user intelligence, but sadly that never materialized.
Wretch (July 2007 to Present)
Yahoo! Taiwan bought Wretch.cc, the largest social community in Taiwan at that time. Today Wretch.cc is still a popular site in Taiwan, though according to Alexa, Facebook and Pixnet (also a local social community site) now have more users than Wretch in Taiwan.
Yahoo! Mash (September 2007 to September 2008)
Yahoo! Mash’s main differentiation was that anyone can create or edit anyone else’s profile. This concept never caught on, and Yahoo! Mash never gained traction. It was shut down just one year after being launched.
In summary, the fate of the Yahoo! social properties are as follows:
Ongoing: Flickr and Wretch
Sold: Delicious and blo.gs.
Shut down: Yahoo! 360, Upcoming.org, Bix, MyBlogLog, and Yahoo! Mash.