Talking tech since 2003

It feels like a lifetime ago, but there was a time when I used the Internet without Google.

yahooYahoo was the website to use back then when you wanted to find other sites. And the way you did that was by looking through the Yahoo Directory.

Now the Directory, which has remained online for nearly twenty years, is closing its doors. The move comes as part of what Yahoo is calling “Continued Product Focus,” which is about the most boring title you could use for such a plan. In fact, it’s almost disrespectful when you think about what the Yahoo Directory meant to the company. Search Engine Land makes the same argument:

I get that companies might not want to celebrate the closure of products. But there had to be something less shameful than the way Yahoo announced the coming closure of the directory from which Yahoo literally takes its name.

For a long time, the Directory was a big part of Yahoo’s business. That all changed when automated crawlers began indexing websites, and Yahoo partnered with several companies (including Google) to provide search results that weren’t compiled by humans. The Directory still existed, but it just wasn’t as important as it was in Yahoo’s heyday — the early-to-late ’90s.

Yahoo is essentially a non-factor in search now. The Directory hasn’t been relevant for years, either. It’s hard to know if it’ll be missed by anyone when it closes down on December 31, 2014.

But it’s the reason Yahoo exists, and it’s going away. As the company searches for a reason to go on, still looking for that next big hit, you have to wonder — will Yahoo ever do something as important as the Yahoo Directory ever again?

To survive, it probably has to.

Have some fond memories of the Yahoo Directory? Leave us a comment below.

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