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Yahoo Starts to Hack Off Some Dead Limbs

Written on:December 16, 2010
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According to a leaked photo from an all-hands meeting at Yahoo, the web giant (which just finished laying off hundreds of employees) is planning to shut down several of its services, including the Delicious bookmarking site it acquired in 2005, as well as a Digg clone called Yahoo Buzz, and an early blog-based social network called MyBlogLog, which the web company acquired in 2007. In the all-hands slide, these are referred to under the heading “Sunset,” along with AltaVista — once a leading search engine — as well as AllTheWeb and Yahoo Bookmarks.

The slide photo originally showed up on Twitter, posted by MyBlogLog founder and former CEO Marc Boutillier, much to the surprise of Yahoo product manager Blake Irving, who suggested that the person responsible for leaking the photo would not be working at the web company much longer.

It’s not that surprising that Yahoo would want to close down most of the services mentioned on the “Sunset” slide — the older services such as AltaVista are so far off the map that many people probably aren’t even aware that they still exist, and very few of the new ones such as Buzz have gotten much traction, including the ones that Yahoo bought when they had well-established user bases, such as Delicious and MyBlogLog. The latter was one of the first prototypical social networks, built around the people who read blogs, allowing them to “follow” other users and allowing bloggers to see the traffic and links that were being shared by users. But Yahoo did nothing with it.

Delicious, meanwhile, was one of the first “social bookmarking” services, which allowed users to easily store bookmarks, but also allowed them to share them with others, to tag them with keywords and so on. But Yahoo did little with that acquisition either. Delicious founder Joshua Schachter said on Twitter after the news broke that he figured he should “hurry up with my simple delicious clone so I can back up my bookmarks,” and also hinted that he may have unfinished business with the company that acquired his startup.

The loss of Delicious seems to be the one Twitter users are most concerned about, with many complaining that they have stored hundreds or even thousands of bookmarks using the service. Some traded names of other similar services such as Diigo, which integrates with Delicious, as well as Instapaper — which saves the entire text of a web page, but doesn’t allow for tagging and other features that Delicious has (Ethan Zuckerman, co-founder of Global Voices Online, posted a link to a list of ways for users to export their Delicious bookmarks.

Yahoo has been scaling back a number of its services, including Yahoo Buzz — which announced earlier this week that it was discontinuing user-voting options. The company also removed the ability to upload videos to Yahoo Video yesterday and said that any existing user-uploaded videos will be removed, although users will be allowed to download their videos until March. In a statement sent to a number of media outlets, Yahoo said of the reports about service shutdowns:

Part of our organizational streamlining involves cutting our investment in underperforming or off-strategy products to put better focus on our core strengths and fund new innovation in the next year and beyond. We continuously evaluate and prioritize our portfolio of products and services, and do plan to shut down some products in the coming months such as Yahoo! Buzz, our Traffic APIs, and others. We will communicate specific plans when appropriate.

Related GigaOM Pro content (sub req’d):

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Post and thumbnail photo courtesy of Flickr user Trey Matula


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