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From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, by MultiMedia

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Yahoo! GeoCities logo
Website name GeoCities
Commercial? Yes
Type of site Web hosting
Registration Yes
Owner Yahoo!
Created by David Bohnett and John Rezner

Yahoo! GeoCities is a free webhosting service founded by David Bohnett and John Rezner in late 1994 as Beverly Hills Internet.

In its original form, site users selected a "city" in which to place their webpages; the "cities" being named after cities or regions according to their content — for example, computer-related sites were placed in "SiliconValley" and those dealing with entertainment were assigned to "Hollywood" — hence the name of the site; now, however, this feature has since been abandoned.


GeoCities began as BHI, a small Web hosting and development company in Southern California. The company also created their own Web directory, organized thematically in six "neighborhoods" such as "SiliconValley" (for technology) and "SunsetStrip" (for nightlife and music.) Live web camera feeds were placed in several neighborhoods to strengthen the geographic context. In mid-1995, the company decided to offer users of this website (thereafter known as "Homesteaders") the ability to develop free home pages within those neighborhoods. Chat, bulletin boards, and other elements of "community" were added soon after, helping foster rapid growth, and by December 1995 the company, which now had a total of 14 neighborhoods, was signing up thousands of Homesteaders a day and getting over six million monthly page views. The company decided to focus on building membership and community, and on December 15, 1995, BHI became known as GeoCities.

Over time, many companies, including Yahoo!, invested extensively in GeoCities and the site continued to grow, with the introduction of paid premium services. In May of 1997, GeoCities introduced advertisements on its pages. Despite negative reaction from users, GeoCities continued to grow. By June of 1997, GeoCities was the fifth most popular site on the Web, and by October of that year the company had signed up its one-millionth Homesteader.

In June 1998 in an effort to increase brand awareness, Geocities introduced a watermark to user webpages. The watermark, much like a television bug, is a transparent floating gif which used javascript to stay on the bottom right side of the browser screen. Many users felt the watermark interfered with the design of their webpage and threatened to move their webpages elsewhere. The watermark also had cross-browser issues and clashed wih the markup of some pages. Geocities said in a press release that the company had received upbeat feedback regarding the watermark. [1]

In August 1998, the company went public, listing on the NASDAQ exchange with the code GCTY. The IPO price was $17, rising rapidly after launch to a peak of over $100. However, in January 1999, it was purchased by Yahoo! for $3.57 billion with Yahoo! taking control on May 28. [2] [3]

Yahoo!'s acquisition of GeoCities proved extremely unpopular and users soon began to leave en masse in protest at the new Terms of Service put out by Yahoo! for GeoCities. The terms stated that the company owned all rights and content, including media such as pictures. Yahoo! quickly reversed its decision. In July of 1999, Yahoo! eliminated neighborhoods and street addresses from homesteader URLs. These were replaced by "vanity" URLs consisting of http://www.geocities.com/membername. Soon after a lawsuit was filed against AOL by its volunteer group of community managers, GeoCities' volunteer program (Community Leaders) was terminated.

In 2001, amidst speculation by analysts that GeoCities was not yet profitable (it having declared an $8 million loss for the final quarter of 1998), Yahoo! introduced a for-fee premium hosting service at GeoCities.[4]

GeoCities neighborhoods

According to a February 1999 archive of the site [5], the forty-one "neighborhoods" were (in alphabetical order):

Area51 - Science fiction and fantasy
Athens - Education, literature, poetry, philosophy
Augusta - Golf and the finer side of the fairways
Baja - Four-wheeling, SUVs, off-roading, adventure travel
BourbonStreet - Jazz, Cajun food, Southern culture
Broadway - Theater, musicals, show business
CapeCanaveral - Science, mathematics, aviation
CapitolHill - Government, politics, and lots of strong opinions
CollegePark - University life, from academics to extracurriculars
Colosseum - Sports and recreation
EnchantedForest - A neighborhood for and by kids
Eureka - Small businesses, home offices
FashionAvenue - Top designers, beauty and fashion
Heartland - Families, hometown values
Hollywood - Film and TV
HotSprings - Health and fitness
MadisonAvenue - Advertising
MotorCity - Cars, trucks, motorcycles
NapaValley - Food, wine, dining out, the gourmet lifestyle
Nashville - Country music
Paris - Romance, poetry, the arts
Pentagon - Military men and women
Petsburgh - Pets and the people who love them
PicketFence - Home improvement and real estate
Pipeline - Extreme sports
RainForest - The environment, conservation, recycling
ResearchTriangle - The future of technology
RodeoDrive - Shopping, upscale living
SiliconValley - Hardware, software, programming
SoHo - Art, poetry, prose, the bohemian spirit
SouthBeach - Hanging out, chatting, meeting and greeting
SunsetStrip - Rock, grunge, punk, the club scene
TelevisionCity - TV fan clubs, sitcoms, talk shows
TheTropics - Vacations, resorts, travel
TimesSquare - Computers, games, role-playing
Tokyo - Anime and all things Asian
Vienna - Classical music, opera, ballet
WallStreet - Personal investing, finance, economics
Wellesley - A community for women
WestHollywood - Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered
Yosemite - Hiking, rafting, and the great outdoors


Geocities, like AOL Homepages, is seen by some internet users, particularly those who had been using the net prior to the late 1990's, as a substandard host, and tend to generalize most Geocities pages as amateurish. It is seen as the web host for "newbies". The controversial decision to run ads on Geocities pages and set daily bandwidth limits only helped further this reputation.


  1.   Hu, Jim, "GeoCitizens fume over watermark", CNet, 1998-06-28.
  2.   "Yahoo! buys GeoCities", CNN.com, 1999-01-28.
  3.   Nuttall, Chris, "Yahoo! moves in on GeoCities", BBC News, 1999-01-29.
  4.   Schiffman, Betsy, "A Community That Stays Together, Pays Together", Forbes, 2001-08-28.

External links

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