Today, geeks of all stripes took to the blogs to air their memories of GeoCities, a hosting service founded by David Bohnett and John Rezner in 1994, and purchased by Yahoo half a decade later. In closing GeoCities, Yahoo is drawing the curtain on an era: from now on, users will be required to enroll in a fee-based hosting service.
"We have enjoyed hosting web sites created by Yahoo users all over the world, and we're proud of the community you've built," Yahoo representatives wrote in a message to customers. "However, we have decided to focus on helping our customers explore and build relationships online in other ways."
In recognition of the passing of GeoCities, the folks at XKCD this morning dressed up their site as a faux-Geocities page, with blinking stars, that familiar GeoCities font, a heavily-pixelated logo, a neon green page-view counter – displaying an inaccurate count – and a bunch of extraneous HTML.
"GeoCities had suffered a long and drawn-out battle with its health over the past decade," PC World's J.R. Raphael joked this morning. "An antiquated service model and outdated technology are widely blamed for the struggle. An official cause of death, however, has yet to be determined."
Former GeoCities users now have the option of upgrading to a new Yahoo web hosting service, which includes a personalized domain name, matching email, and a bunch of new fees. "Please note that when GeoCities closes, you'll be able to upgrade your GeoCities Plus account to Yahoo! Web Hosting at no extra charge," Yahoo explains. "You will not experience any change to your site, and you do not need to download your files."
In other words, you can keep that bright yellow font and the dancing unicorn icons. But you'll have to wave goodbye to GeoCities forever.
Earlier this year, CompuServe Classic, another pioneering Internet service from the ’90s, also bit the dust. The shut-down was effective as of July 1, forcing remaining customers to switch over to CompuServe 2000, which remains active.
Were you a GeoCities user? Share your memories in the comments section, or at @CSMHorizonsBlog.