It is staggering that Yahoo has moved to close Geocities -- a site with a decade worth of content. An Internet treasure (... of sorts.) And it's STILL being used by over 10 million people monthly. It's a top 100 site, according to compete.com.
Look at Google Sites, Google's website offering that has been around for a fraction of the time. They're only about 1/3rd the traffic of Geocities... but they're closing fast. Geocities has been taking a beating.
Why? For a completely reversible reason. Geocities has remained static and unchanging for years and years... and web software is like a shark. You stop moving and you die. I can only speculate about the team that got stuck in maintenance mode here.
There is an oft-repeated meme with startups around how it is staffed with commandos, infantry, or police
. Commandos are the founders -- they go in guns blazing and destroy everything they see. But there aren't enough commandos, and when the front is breached, they make way for the infantry. They actually score the victory, building up upon the success of the commandos. Most mid-stage startups are waging battle at this level. And then... the police come in. They're bumbling, but the market is already owned, so they can eat donuts and get fat.
What if Yahoo had brought in a new set of commandos? Real gunners. Probably akin to what MySpace has done recently with their radical reorg. I can think of a dozen smart crack commando web startups out there that would chomp at the bit to save an Internet treasure like Geocities. Build new features, update the software to the 21st century, and get the ball rolling again. Zap that shark with a defibrilator and get it swimming again.
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