Roses are Red,
Violece is Blue,
Yahoo sucked ALWAYS,
Now GEO does TOO!!!
Half a year ago speculating on what to expect from 1999 on Geocities, I didn’t mention may be the most important fact. It was the year when Yahoo bought GeoCities.
Till the end of June users reaction to this deal was rather calm. Annoyance was growing, people complained about pop ups, banners, water marks, but anger was still directed to GeoCities. The first (to appear in our archive) clearly anti Yahoo page comes on the 27th of June. It lists Yahoo sins as theGooCities owner and a search engine
You can’t see the last paragraph, so let me paste it here:
It was bad enough when Geocities got all commercially and intiated the geoplus and “pages that pay” crap, but now i’ll never go back to another geocities page. I hope all the companies that use Vortals continue to do so, so yahoo folds. THEY SUCK! I WILL REJOYCE THE DAY THEY ARE CRUSHED BY COMPETITORS AND FORCE INTO BANKRUPTCY. I’d rather Microsucks bought Geocities than Yahoo. DIE YAHOO!! DIE YAHOO!! 1
This page can be seen as a presage of the real upraise that happened later that week. For the first time homesteaders started to blame Yahoo when giving a reason for moving to another service or closing the profile.
Yahoo obviously made itself visible by announcing the new ToS on the 29th of June. After users read it, they got furious.
Section 8 suggested:
“By submitting Content to any Yahoo property, you automatically grant, or warrant that the owner of such Content has expressly granted, Yahoo the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive and fully sublicensable right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such Content (in whole or part) worldwide and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed.”
Users got as a sign to leave, and went to Xoom or Angelfire, or elswere… The screenshots below also show that some removed midis, texts and images from their profiles. They protested and called for the boycott.
Most of the protest pages were linked to boycottyahoo.htm on sitepowerup.com. Unfortunately the earliest file saved in the Internet Archived is from the 6th of July. It indicates that Geocities and Yahoo steped back, rewriting the ToS:
“As boycotters, we had asked for a number of issues to be addressed, including a definite ceasation of the rights they are granted when you leave the service, the ability to leave before agreeing to any new ToS change made regarding your content and how it is used, and the clear limitation of the use of your content solely for its display on the service on which you stored this content.
The new GeoCities ToS addresses each of these concerns in a clear, positive and concise manner which may well serve as a blueprint for similar Terms of Service agreements throughout the young internet community.”
If we’d have another super computer, the task we could give to it at the moment could be to go to the Wayback Machine and take snapshots of all updated on that date profiles to see how else users reacted to the “section 8″ and how many they were. GeoCities Research Institute can only share with you thoughts of people who protested and never came back. Above mentioned article Yahoo Angers GeoCities Members With Copyright Rules appeared on 30th of June in New York Times sais protests had mass character. I’m sure there were more than we can access now… at the same time GeoCities life of many users went on as usual, they were updating, just moving in and moving out because of reasons not related to copyright… Later this month Yahoo will abandon GeoCities neighborhood system to substitute it with vanity profiles, but nobody knows it yet.
Update: more protest sites from the first days of July 1999