Example: [Collected via e-mail, May 2001]
This is not a internet hoax, my husband got this from his boss, it could happen in a week, it could happen in about a month. My hubby said to tell as many people as I can, so that you will not lose your site, and so you can be ready to move it to another place.
Below is part of the memo he received:
"Yahoo executives declined to specify which areas of its service will be affected by the cutbacks. In general, however, the company said the only areas spared would be those that directly produced revenue advertising, services to businesses and its new fee-based services for consumers."
"Big areas of its site like the Geocities service, which lets users build personal home pages are NOT part of this new, narrower focus, even though they contain some advertising. They will be closed."
Origins: In the manner of "even a stopped clock is right twice a day" or "even a blind pig finds a truffle now and then," false rumors from 2001 about Yahoo's announcing an impending shutdown of its GeoCities free web hosting service finally came true in 2009.
Back in April 2001, the New York Times (NYT) ran an article about Yahoo!'s financial situation which detailed stock market analysts' downgrades of the
The key part of the New York Times article read:
Eight years later, on 23 April 2009, Yahoo! did finally announce that it would be shutting down its GeoCities web hosting service. On that date, Internet users who visited the Yahoo! GeoCities login page were greeted with the announcement that "new GeoCities accounts are no longer available" and notification that "After careful consideration, we have decided to close GeoCities later this year." An interior help page elaborated on these statements:
Existing GeoCities accounts have not changed. You can continue to enjoy your web site and GeoCities services until later this year. You don't need to change a thing right
GeoCities had suffered a long and drawn-out battle with its health over the past decade. An antiquated service model and outdated technology are widely blamed for the struggle. An official cause of death, however, has yet to be determined.
The proliferation of low-cost hosting options, combined with the increasing popularity of social network-style services in place of personal home pages, only contributed to its demise.
Bergstein, Brian. "Users Say Yahoo Quietly Extending Porn Crackdown to Chat Rooms." The Associated Press. 1 May 2001. Hansell, Saul. "Yahoo Reports Quarterly Loss and Schedules Round of Cuts." The New York Times. 12 April 2001 (p. A1). Huffstutter, P.J. "Yahoo's Search for Profit Leads to Pornography." Los Angeles Times. 11 April 2001 (p. A1). Raphael, P.J. "So Long, GeoCities: We Forgot You Still Existed." PC World. 23 April 2009. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Yahoo's Blunder to Push Porn Quickly Fixed." 19 April 2001 (p. C3).