The only true defense for beleaguered users was to close off the ability for non-contacts to message them, obviating the proto-social-networking nature of Yahoo chat rooms.Once users had thus closed themselves off, any hope of Yahoo becoming a social media hub was vaporized.
Perhaps it was the company’s early obsession with being a production company that caused them to pass on the opportunity to buy Google for $1 Perhaps it was hiring known Hollywood stooge Terry Semel, who lost Google a second time, and then proceeded to lose Facebook and Double Click, and finally cost Yahoo a (remotely) dignified exit by turning down a $44 billion buyout offer from Microsoft, right before the global economy pulled its own Yahoo. A disgruntled chatter could easily find one of these programs and torment other users to their heart’s content.
Unfortunately all of these “Great Man” theories of cyber history ignore the inconvenient fact that no acquisition Yahoo made would have saved them, because everything Yahoo touches turns to crap. The holes were so well known and easy to exploit that chat booters were prolific and diverse, boasting all sorts of features for the discriminating troll. No matter what they looked like, though, they all did the same thing: crashed Yahoo.
finally came to terms with the sobering truth: they were the Nickelback of tech. And just as Nickelback fans ultimately abandon them for the Foo Fighters, most of Yahoo’s users have slowly osmosed over to Google. With private messaging, a common area to chat with and meet new people, and personal profiles, Yahoo had a sort of Web 1.0 social network in the early 2000s.
Hand in hand with this revelation came their humiliating sale to Verizon for $4.5 billion. Any other company might have parlayed this into a cornerstone of their success, but Yahoo, a languid “media company” run by suits and overflowing with what Paul Graham bluntly calls “bad programmers”, ran Yahoo Messenger and Chat into the ground.
Meanwhile, Tumblr hemorrhaged users and cultural currency to newer startups like Medium and Giphy.