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Yahoo! - A brief history of the Yahoo! directory

Yahoo! Directory - a brief history of Yahoo!

Yahoo! is one of the most well-known Internet brands and it was also one of the earliest search tools developed for the web.

The Yahoo! directory was set up in 1994 by Jerry Yang and David Filo in an attempt to categorise all the new web sites that were beginning to appear on the new World Wide Web. The name of the directory initially came from a dictionary search using the letters of Jerry Yang's name and, once found, the 'joke' acronym was created: Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle. Yahoo! has since grown into a recognisable and very valuable brand name as the directory became a reliable and respected source of information on some of the best sites on the web.

As a directory, Yahoo! used a group of editors to review sites and ensure that their categorisation and descriptions were suitable. However, as the number of web sites exploded in the late 1990s, the pressures on Yahoo!'s editors increased to a point where, too much complaint, it started to charge websites for a listing at $200 a year in the US.

Yahoo!'s position as the portal - offering a range of services - grew, yet the directory started to fall behind the expansion of the web. Yahoo! therefore bought Inktomi and Overture, who themselves had recently acquired AltaVista and AlltheWeb, in 2004.

The directory has now been relegated to a subsidiary search level in the same way that Google uses the Open Directory listings. Getting a website included on the Yahoo! directory is now not such an essential requirement but it can still be useful. Yahoo!'s strength as a search engine and portal service continues to grow on the basis of its brand name, yet it is facing stiff competition from Google and MSN.

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