The Other Purple One

Proving that nothing really lasts forever, Yahoo has been sold and yet another internet OG has come crashing down. Everyone form a prayer circle and have a moment of silence, because 2016 is hellbent on taking everything we once held dear. Things will never be the same again.

Yes, this was a long time coming. The writing’s been on the wall for years. It’s been a slow slide downhill for poor, purple Yahoo since Google, that precocious little upstart, burst on the scene and started gaining ground in the early aughts. I barely use my account anymore and probably check my Yahoo e-mail twice a year, but once upon a time Yahoo was the first site I would go to whenever I got online.

Lycos and Altavista always felt a little too clunky, and Ask Jeeves was only my thing for a quick minute. Yahoo was the first online portal that actually seemed user-friendly.At the end of the millennium, it was what people used to trawl the internet for random bits of trivia. You could play online games like Scrabble, TextTwist and Typer Shark. (Just me? Okay.) You could read the news, watch music videos, get recipes. You could meet people – I made a number of good friends and saw some really interesting characters.  When my best friend and eternal co-conspirator, making good use of his allotted half hour at SU’s Cyber Library, created my Yahoo account for me, how was I to know I’d meet the guy I’d eventually end up with in one of its chat rooms? Although I virtually abandoned it for Google along with 95% of the world’s online populace, Yahoo holds many happy memories for me.

Verizon has now purchased Yahoo for practically peanuts, effectively putting an end to it’s life as an independent website/portal. Incidentally, Verizon also owns AOL, another original internet giant. This sale has brought two former internet greats – long gone to seed – together in their continued fight for relevance. It makes for a weirdly nostalgic duo, like an online version of the time the New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys got together to form a  boyband supergroup called NKOTBSB.

It works when done right, but time will tell if this acquisition and subsequent merger will work.  It’s a delicate balancing act. No one enjoys the smell of desperation and the graveyard of the internet is littered with websites that were once so full of promise but are now husks of their former selves (see: MySpace).

Not that the sale means anything major to anyone still using their Yahoo account. You’ll be happy to know the main e-mail service isn’t going away – not yet, anyway. Still, I’m thinking it may be time to start backing up all the old missives I used to send over a connection that used to get cut each time my mom picked up our house phone. (“Moooommm! I’m online!”)  You think internet in the Philippines is crappy now? You haven’t lived till you’ve tried to watch a music video on RealPlayer over a dial-up connection.

So good night and good luck, Yahoo. It was a good run.

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