What can social networking investors learn from GeoCities?
April 29, 2009
Before MySpace, Facebook and Twitter there was once GeoCities. Yes back in the 90’s, GeoCities was going to take over the world and change the face of the Web. So Yahoo spent a bunch of cash ($3 billion) and bought up that very ‘valuable’ piece of Web real estate.
…. Hmmm this kinda reminds me of the Facebook and Twitter hoopla.
Geocities is closing its’ doors
After a decade of spuddering about, it seems that Yahoo has finally figured out that there is no money in having a bunch of lame web sites filled with lame content:
Yahoo Inc. said Thursday that it would shut down its GeoCities free Web-hosting service after paying about $3 billion for the unit in 1999.
GeoCities isn’t accepting new accounts and will close later this year, Yahoo said. GeoCities, Yahoo’s second-biggest acquisition behind Broadcast.com Inc., lets users design personal websites to show off photos, promote local clubs or publicize business services.
.. As reported by the LA Times.
So let’s see, Geocities was a place for people to: ” design personal websites to show off photos, promote local clubs or publicize business services.”
It’s a good thing that Myspace and Facebook came around; we didn’t have a place for people to post their photos etc …
The only real difference between Geocities and more modern social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter etc …) , is that now you have built-in tools to tell people about your crappy content – the ‘connecting’ that everyone is so excited about.
So, what’s the bottom line?
You can’t make a profitable business out of the blather of the masses. Let’s face it, 99.99999% of the content on social networking sites is not monetizable because it is:
- Too crappy
- Too personal
Add to that, that the social networking audience is at best fickle, ready to bolt to the next social networking site at a moments notice. I already see it with Facebook nerds I know, who are already moving over to Twitter.
My bottom line:
Only a fool of a company would invest any serious money to buy an audience that will eventually move on … like a heard of roaches, looking for their next free meal.