Net Culture

The History of Yahoo!

Inspired by a footnote in Information Architecture for the World Wide Web which reveals the secret name of Yahoo, I have undertaken a search on the site in question for information on its history. Here are a few facts that you might not know about the benevolent patriarch of internet directories:

  • When the site first began, Yahoo! had no more than one hundred accesses a day.
  • Across 1994, the site’s growth rate doubled almost every month.
  • By May 1995, the site was receiving 2 million page accesses a day. God only knows have much it receives today.
  • Yahoo! started off listing sex sites, but stopped doing so because every time they listed one, the amount traffic it would receive would bring it down. Porn sites rarely lasted more than a couple of days after being listed on the site.
  • And I quote: “The San Jose Mercury news recently noted that ‘Yahoo is closest in spirit to the work of Linnaeus, the 18th century botanist whose classification system organized the natural world’.” Yahoo! – Company History
  • ‘The two developers of Yahoo!, David Filo and Jerry Yang, Ph.D. candidates in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, started their guide in April 1994 as a way to keep track of their personal interests on the Internet.’ Yahoo! – Company History
  • Yahoo was one of the first, and is still one of the few, internet companies to actually make a profit. And its annual revenue is huge: “For the fiscal year ended 12/31/00, revenues increased 88% to $1.11 billion. Net income rose 48% to $70.8 million.” Market Guide.

So what is the secret name of [god]Yahoo![/god]? David Filo and Jerry Yang insist that the name was chosen by themselves because they considered themselves ‘yahoos’, but many others suggest that the name is an acronym from a more wild geek frontier, an acronym which stands for: “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle”.