March 2, 1995: Yahoo!, a pioneering web search engine and digital platform, is founded

Like other American tech giants, Yahoo! It was developed in university rooms. In his case, in those of two Stanford electrical engineering students, David Filo and Jerry Wang, in the 1990s. While surfing the web, Filo discovered the Mosaic graphical browser to visit pages on the Internet. The turning point came when both young people began to organize them by theme: without thinking about it, they were creating a web directory. In 1994 they published it as ‘Jerry’s Fast Track to Mosaic’, then ‘Jerry and Dave’s Guide to the World Wide Web’. The invention became popular in the university environment in just a few months.

After several name changes, the master’s students decided on “Yahoo”. The term has been extended as an acronym for Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle, which refers to the purpose of generating an order of Internet information. However, Filo and Wang have stated that the choice of the name was due to its meaning in English, which refers to an uncultured, rude or rude person. With this decision, they created a short and easy-to-remember domain. His famous exclamation at the end was added shortly after. After the last domain change, the Yahoo! company was founded on March 2, 1995.

From breaking into the market to falling before Google

Although it was not the only one, Yahoo! It didn’t take long for it to dominate as a web search engine. With the IPO in 1996, the first shares were sold for thirteen dollars, and by January 1999 they reached a value of 1,335. The company had no competition and its rise in popularity was accompanied by a range of services in the late 1990s: email, free instant messaging and news, sports and finance portals, among others. It was a pioneering platform where the user could find information and services.

The great dotcom crisis of the early 2000s did not affect Yahoo! in a sudden manner, as Google would do years later. This new Californian company, founded in 1998, initially asked Yahoo! for financing, which responded with a resounding rejection. Later, however, Google developed the best algorithm on the market for its search engine based on automation. Such was its success that Yahoo! He ended up linking his own search engine to that of the new competition. The last chance Yahoo! to put an end to Google came in 2002, but its then CEO, Terry Semel, did not want to offer the additional 2 billion dollars that separated him from buying his rival. This mistake would be repeated in 2006, when Yahoo! He could buy Facebook and he didn’t do it either.

By then, the search engine had already lost its appeal in favor of online advertising. After Yahoo! did not do so, Google acquired the manager DoubleClick and left the company without the search and digital advertising businesses. In 2008, Microsoft offered $45 million for Yahoo!, an offer that was also rejected. The company also failed to find a niche in social networks: the purchase of Flickr in 2005 and Tumblr in 2013 have not been able to compete against Facebook and Instagram. With all this, in 2021 Yahoo Answers, the most popular forum on the Internet during its sixteen years of activity, closed.

Yahoo(?): an uncertain future, but not very hopeful

Cybersecurity and privacy problems have also affected Yahoo!’s image. The company admitted in 2016 to the theft of one billion accounts and users’ private information. That same year she was accused of developing a software that allowed clients’ emails to be tracked at the request of the FBI in the United States. After a succession of management changes, Yahoo!, which reached a value of $125 billion, was sold in 2017 for $5 billion to Verizon. Although the project is still alive under the ownership of Apollo Global Management, it has not led any sector in which it is present for years.