Yahoo Answers closed on May 4, 2021, closing a major chapter in Internet history. The site had been active for 16 years, serving as a destination for people looking to get answers to just about anything and everything.
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The decision to shut down Yahoo Answers sparked various reactions. Some were nostalgic, remembering the role the site had played in their early life on the Internet. Others were happy to see it go, seeing it as a long past use. New Internet users were ambivalent, never having really used it.
Regardless of anyone’s opinion on Yahoo Answers’ demise, the fact remains that the internet has wasted 16 years of questions and answers, forming a huge cache of archived data. Understanding why can provide valuable information to other businesses looking to avoid the same fate.
Yahoo itself provided the following explanation as to why it closed Yahoo Answers:
“Yahoo Answers closed on May 4, 2021. Yahoo Answers was once a key part of Yahoo’s products and services, but its popularity has waned over the years as the needs of our members have changed. We have decided to move our resources away from Yahoo Answers to focus on products that better serve our members and deliver on Yahoo’s promise of delivering trusted premium content.
The main and most immediate reason for shutting down Yahoo Answers is “popularity decline”. If the site had kept the popularity it had when it started, it’s a safe bet it would still exist.
Much of this decline was a direct result of the quality (or lack thereof) of the responses provided by the site. Compared to sites like Quora and Reddit, the overall usefulness of Yahoo Answers had faded for years, with much of the site turning into conspiracy theories and absurd information. Unlike its competitors, Yahoo has never been able to harness these elements and maintain its property as a useful destination.
The bigger picture
While it’s easy to focus on the specific fall in popularity that ultimately put the nail in the coffin of Yahoo Answers, its problems started years ago and were among the bigger issues that Yahoo as a business more wide was facing. Yahoo was one of the oldest and most successful search engines and portals on the Internet. The site was the destination for countless millions of users. Unfortunately, Yahoo is now a case study for snatching defeat from the clutches of victory.
The company had the opportunity to buy Google for $ 1 billion in 2002, but, in what may be the most shortsighted move in business history, reportedly felt the price was too high. He turned down the offer, one of a series of questionable business decisions that look dire in hindsight.
Then Yahoo had the opportunity to buy Facebook in 2006. Despite Mark Zuckerberg’s refusal of the $ 1 billion offer, according to the University of Maryland, Facebook’s board of directors forced Zuckerberg to sell to $ 1.1 billion. In what could be the second most shortsighted move in business history, Yahoo failed to increase its bid to $ 1.1 billion.
The list of failures goes on and on. Mismanagement of acquisitions, such as Flickr and Tumblr, a botched partnership with Microsoft after it rejected its takeover offer, and the inability to properly respond to fundamental changes in the way people used search and the internet have doomed it. business. Unfortunately – or perhaps fortunately – Yahoo Answers has fallen victim to the overall mismanagement of the business, and those who still have questions are urged to simply seek the answers instead.