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Deleting Yahoo Groups will leave a permanent stain on Yahoo’s legacy

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Quick, what was the most important internet company of the 1990s? There are several legitimate contenders, but any list that didn’t have Yahoo at or near the top would be woefully incomplete. In the pre-Google era, Stanford pals and Yahoo cofounders David Filo and Jerry Yang organized the teeming World Wide Web into an easy-to-use directory. Then they turned their hobby into a company and built it out into the definitive “portal” site, with email, news, games, and a whole lot more.

In 1998, Yahoo introduced Yahoo Clubs, an easy way to create a community about any topic. Two years later, the company acquired a competitor called eGroups, which had beeen cofounded by Google cofounder Larry Page’s brother Carl. Yahoo merged it with Yahoo Clubs and called the results Yahoo Groups.

A Yahoo Group let its members share photos, polls, and files, create a mailing list, and—above all—commune with kindred spirits. And people did, in vast quantities. In 2001, there were 3,194 Yahoo Groups about food and drink, 1,968 about musical instruments, 4,685 about movies, and 2,159 about alternative medicine. Looking back at my archived email from early in this century, I see that I joined a bunch of Yahoo Groups, including ones about pop music, cartooning, and apps. I still belong to one about classic comic strips.

What Yahoo Groups looked like........

© Fast Company