In those heady days of the fledgling World Wide Web, Yahoo! ended up being a pretty big player. The times, they are a changin', though and Yahoo! is retiring it's namesake product - a curated directory list of websites.
In January 1994, Jerry Yang and David Filo, graduate students at Stanford University, created a hierarchical directory of websites, "Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web." In March of that year, they gave it the name "Yahoo!," for "Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle."
In the early days of the Web, these categorized, human-curated Web listings were all the rage. Search engines existed, but rapidly became notorious for their poor result quality. On a Web that was substantially smaller than the one we enjoy today, directories were a useful alternative way of finding sites of interest.
As the Web grew, directories became less useful—there was no way they could ever hope to be exhaustive—and Google, in particular, made search engines useful. The directory fell out of fashion. Yahoo kept its directory around, but while its scale is now immense, with hundreds of thousands of sites listed, it clearly no longer captures the interests or imaginations of Internet users today.ArsTechnica
|Yahoo directory in April 1997 (courtesy www.waybackmachine.org)|