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Yahoo: An 18-year timeline of events

Yahoo: An 18-year timeline of events


January 1994: Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web launched

Stanford University graduate students, Jerry Yang and David Filo, created an organised hierarchical directory of other websites. The offering differed from similar sites that went for a more searchable index of pages.

April 1994: Search engine is renamed “Yahoo!”

Yahoo is an acronym for Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle. Hierarchical described the layered approach Yahoo’s database used. Oracle implied it was the source of truth and wisdom and officious was related to the office workers who use Yahoo while at work.

December 1994: Yahoo sees one million hits

Yang and Filo realised the potential their website held, so much so that even at such an early stage in the web property’s life the two founders were already considering incorporation.

March 1995: Yahoo is incorporated

The word, “Yahoo” was already trademarked for barbecue sauce, knives and propelled watercraft. To gain a trademark, Yang and Filo added an exclamation mark to the company name and called it “Yahoo!”.

April 1996: Yahoo goes public

A little over a year later and Yahoo had its initial public offering. It sold 2.6 million shares at $33 each, which was up 270% on the IPO price. There was even a peak of $43 during the first day of trading for the company.

September 1996: Yahoo UK launched

A comprehensive guide to UK websites was announced on the back of traffic averaging 9 million page views a day across its global properties as of June 1996. Yahoo boasted that 10% of its traffic came from European domains, which represented 30 million page views per month.

January 1999: Yahoo acquires Geocities

The company added website-building tool GeoCities to its network. Yahoo stated that users would quickly be able establish an online neighbourhood using GeoCities in combination with its suite of other web services.

January 2000: Stocks reach an all-time high

On January 3rd, during the pinnacle of the dot-com boom, Yahoo’s stocks closed at a staggering $475 per share. The company’s shares posted a pre-split price intra-day high of $500.13 the day before.

June 2000: Yahoo and Google sign search agreement

The agreement meant that search became a part of Yahoo’s web directory and navigational guide. It was at a time when search deals with large web portals like Yahoo and AOL were a substantial part of Google’s business.

September 2001: Stocks at all-time low

Closing at $8.11 on September 26th was a low ebb for Yahoo and provided more proof the dot-com bubble had officially burst. The day before its stocks suffered an intra-day low of $8.02 at pre-split prices.

February 2004: Yahoo drops Google

The move came after the search purchases of Inktomi and Overture, which included AltaVista and AlltheWeb assets. It meant Yahoo was transitioning from its traditional directory listing to a more modern algorithmic search technology index and ranking mechanisms.

March 2005: Yahoo acquires Flickr

Canadian Ludicorp Research and Development, the company behind the photo-sharing website, was thought to have been purchased for $40 million. Yahoo intended to run the service beside its own photo offering.

June 2007: Jerry Yang becomes CEO

The co-founder took the reins after previous CEO, Terry Semel, reportedly pocketed $71.7 million from Yahoo in 2006 and did very little for Yahoo’s underperforming stock. Shares were down 30% since the end of 2005.

February 2008: Microsoft bids $44.6 billion for Yahoo

An audacious attempt by Microsoft to claim more market share in its battle with Google for search users. The offer represented a 62% premium above the closing price of Yahoo common stock as of the end of January.

May 2008: Microsoft abandons Yahoo bid

Microsoft’s historic acquisition attempt ended after it raised its initial bid by about $5 billion and Yahoo still failed to accept the offer. The reason given by the software company for its offer withdrawal was that the economics of Yahoo’s valuing were not in the best interests of its shareholders.

January 2009: Carol Bartz announced as new CEO

Three months after Yang resigned from his role, Yahoo brought in the former Autodesk Chief to steady the ship. The outspoken Bartz was fired after two years because she failed to revitalise the company in the eyes of its major investors

May 2012: Yahoo announces Thompson is no longer with company

In what will probably be the most publicised resignation by an executive this year, Thompson decided to call time on his short lived Yahoo career after reports emerged that he’d used some artistic licence in the writing of his CV.

July 2012: Marissa Mayer appointed CEO

Yahoo’s latest recruit was previously responsible for Google’s Local, Maps and Location products. As well as being CEO, Mayer will also be Yahoo’s President and hold a seat on the board. She will be hoping to lead the company to the kind of technological innovation it was known for in the nineties.

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Simon Holland

Simon Holland

Simon is the news and research reporter at Existem. Previously a technology journalist, he now spends his time investigating both future and developing trends in performance marketing whilst producing editorial content for

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