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The Story Behind the Yahoo.com Domain

Yahoo was incorporated on March 2nd,1995 by Jerry Young and David Filo

Yahoo is a web services provider whose portfolio includes search engines, World Wide Web directory services, news, email, finance, and more. It is one of the leading players in the internet services space. But how much do you know about its beginning? 


This article looks at the journey of Yahoo to its current position in the Internet services space.


How It All Started

The story of Yahoo started at Stanford University with two electrical engineering graduate students, Jerry Young, and David Filo. In January 1994, they started a website named “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web.” The name has quite the ring to it, huh? 😀


It was a hierarchical web directory as opposed to a searchable pages index. Shortly after, the site underwent another change.


The Transformation to Yahoo

The domain name “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web” had one weakness: it was too long to recall. The founders had to look for a short name that would flow with users. 


They considered “Yet Another Compiler Compiler”(YACC), an acronym associated with a programming language program. But the name didn't quite fit their description, and the search continued. 


In April 1994, they settled for Yahoo, an acronym for “Yet another Hierarchically Organized Oracle.” 


But the name had an even more exciting meaning. They related to Yahoo’s meaning: “rude, unsophisticated, and uncouth.” 


In a previous interview, Yang said they considered themselves “yahoos” due to their straight-talking personalities. The name was also the inspiration for the fictional beings of Gullilver’s Travel with the same description. Finally, they had found a name they could relate to. But there were more glitches on their way.


Yahoo Name Not Available

Even after going through the trouble of looking for the domain name Yahoo, they could not legally use it. It was already a trademarked brand by a barbecue sauce and knives company (EBSCO Industries). 


They were back to the drawing board again! After much deliberation, they came up with the idea of adding an exclamation mark to add uniqueness to the name.


Finally, www.yahoo.com became a registered domain on January 18, 1995




The Growth Journey

Yahoo rapidly grew owing to its unique directory structure. Web users found it easy to sift through the burgeoning online web content, courtesy of its web directory categories. 


Soon after, it transitioned from a directory into a web portal, giving rise to the Yahoo Search search engine. What followed was a period of rapid leap in growth, leading to several developments.  


The brand attracted major venture capital funding that fueled its high-level acquisitions, including Geocities and Broadcast.com. Another notable mark in the brand’s evolution is the failed acquisition bid by Microsoft Corporation, though it went on to strike merger deals with other major corporations along the way. 


Future Prospects

The Yahoo brand name has been on a positive trajectory, with the site receiving over 700 million active users monthly, making it a force to reckon with in the internet services space.  


Along this tortuous journey, the only unchanging constant has been the Yahoo.com domain. That is the value of a stable domain in creating a solid business foundation on its journey to success.

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