If you've lived at least two decades, you probably remember the days when Yahoo was cool. Maybe you had a really embarrassing Yahoo email address (full disclosure, I was "madkats16"), or that you used to think the search engine was nothing short of godly in regard to all the information it held. Yahoo was the hip internet sensation, because "hip" was still a thing too.
So when Verizon bought Yahoo's core internet operations for $4.8 billion this week, it was a sort of final exclamation point on one of our first internet experiences. Luckily, this throwback video by CNET memorializes the beginning of Yahoo's journey to its height as a star in the 90s startup world, soon after it was founded by two Stanford PhD students, Jerry Yang and David Filo in 1994. We get to go inside the then-techie Yahoo offices, with ten computers doing all the work, handling over six million files a day. What more, our blue-haired host on CNET, who looks something out of the Osbourne family, reminds us of the great styles of the day, too.
Back then, Yang and Filo said they were making no money off Yahoo. So, "like the Yellow pages," Filo says (yup, we all remember the Yellow Pages), "You don't really mind seeing the ads in there."
At its height, Yahoo and sites it acquired including Tumblr, attracted a billion people per month. Nowadays, only about 204 million as of May. While 64 percent of search engine users go to Google, only 12 percent still use Yahoo. Only Ask and AOL (1 percent) are doing worse. And as for ad revenue shares, Yahoo holds only three percent, as compared with Facebook's 15 percent and Google's 39 percent.
That might account for its low price tag this week: $4.8 billion is a relatively small sum when compared to the worth of companies like Facebook ($348 billion) or Alphabet, Google's parent ($507 billion).
While selling itself to Verizon could be the last nail in the coffin for Yahoo, it should still always be remembered as one of the great pioneers of its time. With fun, colorful fonts and exuberant exclamation point, Yahoo, you'll be missed.
Correction: This article originally stated that at its height Yahoo attracted more than a billion visitors. That number also includes visitors to Tumblr, which Yahoo acquired in 2013. The article has been updated to reflect that fact.