Yahoo Lays Off 600, Plans To Shut Down Buzz, Delicious

Several hundred Yahoo employees received the opposite of a Christmas present this week, learning the company is letting them go to ease its payroll burden. In addition to shedding 4 percent of its workforce, the shrinking web giant is shutting down AltaVista, Buzz and Delicious — according to an internal company slide.

The Wall Street Journal quotes a Yahoo spokesperson who verified the information on the slide and said the company is “evaluating its options” for the seemingly doomed sites. The spokesperson continues:

“Part of our organizational streamlining involves cutting our investment in underperforming or off-strategy products to put better focus on our core strengths and fund new innovation in the next year and beyond.

“We continuously evaluate and prioritize our portfolio of products and services, and do plan to shut down some products in the coming months,” she added. “We will communicate specific plans when appropriate.”

I’ll miss Buzz, which I found to be a handy and powerful news aggregator, capable of, say, picking up a story about an obscure personal finance book and launching it to a top-300 Amazon ranking for a couple days.

What role do the soon-to-be-shuttered Yahoo products play in your online expeditions?

Yahoo Plans to Shut AltaVista, Other Sites [The Wall Street Journal]

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  1. xl22k says:

    Back in the day, AltaVista was the best search engine.

    • Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

      Actually, I missed the article title saying they were also shutting down AltaVista since everyone is focusing on Buzz and Deli.co.us. AltaVista was my preferred search engine, then hotbot, then google. Nothing has bettered google yet on a day to day basis for me.

    • rpm773 says:

      Indeed. I used it exclusively from 1995 through mid-2000. And prior to that, Webcrawler (which is apparently still around)

      • caradrake says:

        Those were my two first search engines back around ’95. I was a kid and I think I was first attracted to the design of Webcrawler – loved the spider. I moved on to the simplicity of google sometime this last decade, but will still hunt down AltaVista’s babel fish. I wonder if they’re getting rid of the babel fish or if it’ll be staying on somewhere.

    • PsiCop says:

      This.

      I particularly loved AltaVista’s advanced search language, which included AND, OR, and even NEAR operators, as well as wild cards (as endings to words with at least 3 specified letters).

      Yes, I know you can do some of the same things with current search engines … but AFAIK no current major engine supports a NEAR operation, or wild cards. (They DO figure proximity and alternate spellings into their results … but that’s not the same as what AltaVista used to do.)

      What a lot of folks don’t know about AltaVista is that they once offered a free desktop version of their own indexing/search software, which I found useful. It preceded Microsoft’s Windows search, Mac OS’s Spotlight, and Google Desktop, by years. It was remarkable in its time.

      • Aesteval says:

        Wild cards are more or less obsolete in modern search engines. For the most part, search engines are stemming search queries which more or less creates an automatic wild card search whether you want it to or not.

        Now, I personally like to have the option to make use of it or not, but that’s getting a little more off topic.

        • PsiCop says:

          The search engines’ own intrinsic wild-card searches are based on their own suppositions about what you’re trying to get. That’s a far cry from being able to specify one’s own wild-cards.

      • kingmanic says:

        Google seems to do an implicit ‘near’ when you type something that is close to more popular searches it suggests the more popular search and even pulls some results to show you. For people who do’t know the jargon this can be valuable. It is also far better at suggesting the right spelling of uncommon words. It also implicitly stems even with ‘ ‘ which is occasionally annoying. Their index is much better. The old engines could be a month out. Google/Bing is days in the case of unpopular sites and hours for popular ones.

    • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

      Me too (or three or four). It’s not quite a relic, but I remember being disappointed with all the others back in the nineties (remember how awful AskJeeves was?) and when Google first came along, I was actually a bit of a skeptic.

    • stevied says:

      ah yes, the first search engine that I intentionally and repeated used.

      much better than lycos, AOL, Excite etc.

    • TasteyCat says:

      This. I used it all the time for years. Don’t remember when I stopped using it, or why. Eventually, I went over to Yahoo, before stumbling onto the behemoth that Yahoo created because they were too stupid to buy.

      Granted, even if Yahoo did buy Google, they probably still would have failed to come with a competent publisher advertising program.

  2. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    I seem to remember this Yahoo you speak of being relevant back around 1998 or so.

    • obits3 says:

      I only use Yahoo for fun news these days.

    • PsiCop says:

      A lot of my company’s clients are very loyal to Yahoo. They use Yahoo Mail, they have Yahoo (or a subsite, like Yahoo Finance) as their browser home page, and they love Yahoo Search. The truth is that Yahoo has been “relevant” all along.

      Yahoo may no longer be “dominant,” but “dominance” and “relevance” aren’t the same thing.

    • DanRydell says:

      http://www.alexa.com/search?q=yahoo.com&r=home_home&p=bigtop

      # Alexa Traffic Rank: 4
      # United States Flag Traffic Rank in US: 3

      Apparently you’re out of touch with what is popular on the Internet. Yahoo! may not be a top search engine anymore, but they’re still a great information portal.

    • TasteyCat says:

      I use Yahoo for mail because Microsoft couldn’t get Hotmail right with their 2MB limit. No plans on changing, which means I will continue to visit Yahoo numerous times a day. I wanted to switch over to Gmail, but it was in beta for like 12 years, so I eventually lost interest.

      I also like Yahoo local and sometimes news. Yahoo Answers is typically a good resource as well.

      Granted, Yahoo search is something I rarely use, typically only when Google tells me I’m not a human and/or am sending automated search queries.

    • jamar0303 says:

      Most of Asia disagrees with you. Especially Japan, where Yahoo Auctions kept eBay from making it, and it runs its own broadband and VoIP service.

  3. Red_Eye says:

    Only a Moronic Yahoo could not figure out how to monetize Delicious!

  4. Red_Eye says:

    Only a Moronic Yahoo could not figure out how to monetize Delicious!

  5. Daverson says:

    i had no idea that AltaVista was still in operation.

  6. Murph1908 says:

    I have been getting away from Yahoo for a while now. Their practices just kept getting more and more annoying.

    Ads emerging from the page, obscuring your view, making you search for the close button.

    Links to slightly related other topics incerted into articles and blog posts.

    [See other practices that are alienating customers here.]

    The annoying functionality of the email login screen, where if you start entering your account and password before the entire page loads, it’ll wipe it out when the page finishes.

    The news articles on the front page are always teased, forcing a click through in order to see the key point of the article.

    All of this and more has caused me to go elsewhere for searches and sports news. I’m weaning myself off them for other activities slowly.

  7. ganzhimself says:

    RIP Altavista…

  8. Brunette Bookworm says:

    Wait, what does that mean for all my Delicious bookmarks? I use it all the time. It’s way more efficient for accessing bookmarks between computers than emailing a link to an account. If I see something when I’m at home that I think would be useful at work I save it to my Delicious account and vice-versa. It’s especially useful when researching papers for school. I tag all the links for that class so I when I finally write it I can put them into the works cited page quickly.

    Lifehacker has a few options for Delicious bookmarking importing but the best ones cost money. Anyone have a recommendation for another site the may be free that offers the same kind of service?

    http://lifehacker.com/5714329/the-best-services-for-migrating-your-delicious-bookmarks?skyline=true&s=i

    • dulcinea47 says:

      Thanks for the link…. I use Delicious all the time too.

    • SG-Cleve says:

      This is exactly why they’re going away – because you’re not willing to pay a nominal fee for a service you find extremely useful.

      • Brunette Bookworm says:

        I am considering going to Diigo and paying but when you start out with something so useful and it’s free, it’s hard to start paying, especially when you don’t have a bunch of extra money. Blah, I recently reduced my internet bill, I supposed I could use that to pay for a similar service. I just want to KNOW it will be as useful before I pay.

        • rdm says:

          Diigo has a free service, can you just try that?

          • Brunette Bookworm says:

            I am. It’s still importing my Delicious bookmarks because everyone else is doing the same thing so if anyone else tries it, be warned they are VERY busy traffic-wise today.

            • James Sumners says:

              It took a few hours to import my bookmarks into Diigo yesterday afternoon. It still hasn’t finished building my “tag cloud.” But so far, I like the service.

        • Verdant Pine Trees says:

          Diigo is free in many respects; you can pay for even more options. But it’s free to begin with.

      • James Sumners says:

        Or Yahoo! could have realized that they had a goldmine of data available to help make their search engine useful (instead of using other companies’s search products). Delicious was many users telling a search company exactly what sites they found useful and under what relationships. How they could overlook that is baffling.

    • The Brad says:

      If you are using Windows Vista or 7 on all of your computers, check out Windows Live Mesh. It will sync your bookmarks and Office documents across computers.

    • Gandalf the Grey says:

      Xmarks is a bookmark sync service, now owned by LastPass. You can use the service for free on chrome, firefox, and safari. If you’re willing to pay $12/year you can use it on iphone and android too.

    • Gandalf the Grey says:

      Also, it looks like Consumerist former 3rd-step-cousin-4-times-removed (or whatever it is) Gizmodo has a guide specifically built for this question.

      http://gizmodo.com/5714498/the-best-services-for-migrating-your-delicious-bookmarks

      • Brunette Bookworm says:

        It’s the same story, it’s cross-posted from Lifehacker, both Gawker owned.

        • Gandalf the Grey says:

          I’m Sorry, I realized that just a bit too late. My morning routine is Consumerist, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, in that order.

          Guess I need to either look at each before posting about any of them, or add more caffeine before I start reading any of them.

  9. SG-Cleve says:

    AltaVista was my go-to site for searches… until Google came along.

    I just popped over to AltaVista and ran a search for old times sake before they disappear.

    They have the Babelfish translator too.

  10. Cyniconvention says:

    As of late, half of the time, Buzz kept giving me error messages and wouldn’t accept new articles that Yahoo themselves had posted.

    Let’s not even touch on the comments there.

  11. UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

    I’m sure that there will be some comments to the effect of “good riddance” to Yahoo!, but I’m personally sad to see it having so much trouble. I may like Google and its offerings, but I’m not thrilled by the idea of such a monopolized search market. Unfortunately, I can see no likelihood of Yahoo! recovering much.

    • jessjj347 says:

      I get the feeling that the search engine is not so much their priority, anymore. They have loads of other services as well.

  12. davidsco says:

    Company is run horribly anyway. Top to bottom, and couldn’t care less about Buzz or Delicious. It’s a shame, cuz it used to be a great search engine.

  13. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    That just leaves “Associated Content” as Yahoo’s hallmark product – the crapastically re-written, keyword loaded articles that clog up Google search results.

    • JennyCupcakes misses her grandson says:

      Hey, I write lots of crappy articles for that site. It’s helped me pay for my wedding.

  14. Jimmy M says:

    I fear for Flickr.

    Why couldn’t someone competent have bought them?

  15. DanRydell says:

    h jz, Phl wrt bk? Smn pd Phl t wrt smthng mr thn mstk-flld blg psts?

  16. mikeluisortega says:

    So would yahoo have been better off selling to Microsoft earlier this year? Oh would MS have just dismantled yahoo and kept tech for bing?

    • rdm says:

      I forgot all about that offer from MS earlier in the year.

      Shame that they have to let people go during the holidays. Couldn’t they wait until around Jan 15th?

      • DanRydell says:

        Notifying employees of layoffs doesn’t necessarily mean their jobs have ended immediately. It’s not uncommon for a person’s end date to be set a couple of months after they are notified.

    • TasteyCat says:

      I don’t doubt Microsoft would have shut down underperforming assets as well. The purchase may have helped some, but we’d be seeing some cuts regardless. It would have been interesting to see how the deal of having two search engines worked. I’d guess they would have just scrapped Bing for Yahoo. Can’t imagine it being the other way around.

  17. Destra says:

    Ah, I remember when I had Yahoo.com as my home page. In 1999. I don’t think I ever clicked on anything besides my mail though, even then.

  18. momtimestwo says:

    AltaVista… there is a name from the past! It was my search engine of choice back in the old days.

  19. Dan T. says:

    What’s the logic behind spending huge sums acquiring all of those Internet properties, then killing them?

    • TasteyCat says:

      Other sites among those being considered for closure include MyBlogLog, a social network that Yahoo bought in 2007, according to the internal company presentation–which was published on the Web by a co-founder of MyBlogLog, who has since left Yahoo. The MyBlogLog co-founder, Eric Marcoullier, said in an interview that if he were Yahoo Chief Executive Carol Bartz “I’d probably do the same thing.”

      After their purchase by Yahoo, sites like MyBlogLog became “little pieces of technology inside Yahoo” and “languished,” he said. They often weren’t fully integrated with other Yahoo sites and never reached the same scale as popular sites such as the Yahoo homepage, or its media content and email sites, he said. The Yahoo spokeswoman declined to comment.

  20. Weighted Companion Cube says:

    Boy I bet Yahoo! wishes they could go back in time and reconsider the Microsoft offer a few years back.

  21. shufflemoomin says:

    Nice move Yahoo. You couldn’t foot the bill to keep these people on for one more month and avoid ruining the holidays?

    • Gulliver says:

      Thats silly. When is the “proper” time to lay people off? January? Can’t do that I have Xmas bills. Companies tend to lay off at the end of the year because that is the time they get people off the books for the next year. It is the only logical time to do it.

  22. Bitingback says:

    I got a Yahoo account just to use Freecycle (as others have mentioned). I was doing some geek maintenance, after the Gawker fallout ya know, and thought it would be a good idea to add my disposable Yahoo account to Apple Mail. Must PAY to do IMAP OR POP? Are you cussin’ kidding me??? Not that I didn’t already think Yahoo was a bit antiquated, but that really seals the deal for me that they suck. Read a pretty fantastic open letter to Yahoo’s CEO from a guy who was steamed about Flickr. Good read. http://goo.gl/YbxcY

  23. thedarkerside.to says:

    The Only Yahoo service I use is Flickr. Yahoo essentially pissed me off with their overloaded and badly designed site in the early 2000s and most of my web services have migrated to Google.

    I never understand how Google missed Flickr, it seems like the one photo site that they should have gone for from the get go.

    Under Yahoo it has been pretty static and there are a-many who worry about Flickr’s future. Photos are bandwidth intensive and it seems Yahoo’s managament is more about cost cutting than anything else.

    Anybody know of a similar site? Picasa clearly doesn’t fit into this.

  24. silas says:

    Still pissed at them for closing yahoo 360 (worldwide) in May of 2009…they should move from Sunnydale to Death Valley

  25. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    I can’t say I’m surprised – they’ve been going downhill for years.

  26. BStorm says:

    I wonder if Carol Bartz is wishing she could take back her “advice” to Google?

  27. Kevin says:

    AltaVista! No! First it was my local dial-up BBS, then GeoCities and now this. The next thing you know, my token ring network and my 486 will be gone too.

  28. OnePumpChump says:

    Well, their business model for the last decade or so has been to purchase also-rans. This is not surprising.