This Day in Tech History

On This Day . . .

Couple ‘a Yahoos

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March 5, 1995: Yahoo! Officially Launches

The Yahoo! search engine officially launches on the Internet. 13 months later, Yahoo! will hold its IPO at a price of $13 per share. Yahoo!’s stock will peak at $475 in January 2000, and fall to $8.02 in September 2001.

Jery Yang & David Filo

Jery Yang & David Filo

In January 1994, Jerry Yang and David Filo were electrical engineering graduate students at Stanford University when they created a website named “Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web”.  David and Jerry’s Guide was a directory of other websites, organized in a hierarchy, as opposed to a searchable index of pages. In March of 1994, “David and Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web” was renamed “Yahoo!”.220px-David_Filo 220px-Jerry_Yang

Yang and Filo would track their favorite sites found on the internet. Over time, they spent more and more time on this project as more and more people found it useful. Eventually they figured that a business could be made from this information and Yahoo was started. January 18, 1995 the “yahoo.com” domain was created and registered.

x2_a931d1eAs of January 2010, Yahoo held the world’s largest market share in online display advertising. JP Morgan put the company’s United States market share for display ads at 17%, well ahead of No. 2 Microsoft at 11% and AOL at 7%. In 2011, Yahoo lost the top spot to Facebook.

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Data collated by comScore during July 2013 revealed that more people in the U.S. visited Yahoo Web sites during the month in comparison to Google Web sites; the occasion was the first time that Yahoo outperformed Google since 2011. The data did not incorporate visit statistics for the Yahoo-owned Tumblr site or mobile phone usage.

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The word “yahoo” is an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle”. The term “hierarchical” described how the Yahoo database was arranged in layers of subcategories. The term “oracle” was intended to mean “source of truth and wisdom,” and the term “officious,” rather than being related to the word’s normal meaning, described the many office workers who would use the Yahoo database while surfing from work.

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However, Filo and Yang insist they mainly selected the name because they liked the slang definition of a “yahoo” (used by college students in David Filo’s native Louisiana in the late 1980s and early 1990s to refer to an unsophisticated, rural Southerner): “rude, unsophisticated, uncouth.” Filo’s college girlfriend often referred to Filo as a “yahoo.” This meaning derives from the name of a race of fictional beings from Gulliver’s Travels.

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