October 23 2007

Yang Decides to Shut Down Yahoo 360—Nobody Notices

Erick Schonfeld

61 comments »

yahoo360-logo.pngOkay, we admit it. We’ve been busy here at TechCrunch, and totally missed this announcement last week that Yahoo is finally going to pull the plug on its stillborn social network, Yahoo 360. Jerry Yang even mentioned it in a blog post on October 16: “Our new decision-making framework also informed what we’d no longer invest in. . . ., we intend to transition Yahoo! 360 to a more integrated Yahoo! “profile” experience.” But it wasn’t just us. I could find hardly a mention of it anywhere.

That’s what happens when nobody uses a service. Nobody notices or protests when it shuts down. (Although, to be fair, the Yahoo 360 blog post announcing the shut-down did receive 1,521 comments, most of them from users wanting more details about what is going to happen to all of their data. The actual transition won’t happen until some time in the first quarter of next year, and Yahoo is promising to help move blog posts and friends lists over to a more general Yahoo profile). Yahoo 360 was always a weird amalgam of social search and a social network. The original idea was to create a community around search, so that sites your friends had bookmarked would be highlighted in general search results, and you could use it as a blog platform as well. But few people ever figured out what it was good for (and being a social application it required more than just a few people for it to be much good at all).

Other services like Yahoo’s own delicious or eBay’s StumbleUpon do a much better job with social search and discovery. And in terms of social networking, Yahoo has decided to start from square one with Yahoo Mash. My sense from speaking with Yahoo execs is that they want to incorporate social features throughout Yahoo so that it just becomes part of the overall experience. Locking those features away in a sandbox where no one could play with them never made any sense.

Yahoo 360 hits the DeadPool.

(Update: Just checked with comScore. They show a 51 percent decline in monthly U.S. traffic, from 5.7 million unique visitors in September, 2006 to 2.8 million in September, 2007. That compares to 30.6 million for Facebook, and is even smaller than Bebo, Imeem and Hi5. These figures do not capture Yahoo 360’s global appeal. Worldwide uniques were 10.5 million in September, 2007, but that was down 22 percent from the year before.).

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Comments

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  1. AW

    Man, Yahoo.

    Why would an end-user invest time and effort into a Yahoo-anything when its evident that they’ll carelessly destroy it when they get bored of working with it?

  2. Sean

    360 is probably the worst product Yahoo has ever released. They should have killed it before it was ever released, and then beat the developers over the head with a blunt object for several hours.

    It’s that bad.

  3. Thilo

    It may be not so popular in the US but it is quite popular in Germany

  4. MGZ

    So is David Hasselhoff.

  5. tim

    I agree that 360 wasn’t a very compelling product. In other Yahoo! news, they revamped MyYahoo! which is a very useful product.

    http://blog.kelseygroup.com/in.....-facelift/

  6. Rollo

    @MGZ: nice one

  7. Mike Dragan

    Yahoo 360 never got off the ground. It wasn’t popular but it wasn’t dead either.

    I believe that 360 had one big problem: lack of exposure. It was a good (i wouldn’t say great) product with a huge marketing problem - no marketing. I believe that it’s getting more buzz now, once closing.

  8. Killeroid

    As Commenter #3 said, Yahoo 360 might not have been popular here in the US but it is very popular in other countries. For example in Iran, it is the most popular social network.

  9. June

    I am still blogging on yahoo 360, which is quite sufficient and easy to use for blogging purpose.

  10. Michael Arrington

    MGZ - well done.

  11. chris

    The few of us “nobody”’s who do use 360 enjoy it. No, it’s not the best platform available. In fact there’s more wrong with it than right with it, from a technical standpoint. Still, the user base tends to be more mature, and seem to be very NOT into the MySpace/Facebook thing.

    @AW & Mike Dragon: Dead right! Put it up, don’t tell anyone, watch it burn, then bury it, leaving the few faithful who did discover it looking for a new “home”. Great strategists those Yahoo!’s.

  12. Calvin Glenn

    I agree with chris on this one. 360 is a lot more grown-up friendly than myspace or facebook. Still, i’m not sad to see it go. I just hope that they migrate some of the features over to Mash in some form or other. And, for the record, some of us did notice that 360 was closing down. A few weeks ago I commented to the story introducing Mash, indicating that 360 had even been removed from the list of services on Yahoo’s home page. Keep up, man!

    :-)

  13. Young Engineer

    Why was 360 even created? I only activated it once, visited it once, and that was the end of my personal experience with Y!360…

  14. Duncan Riley

    Interesting to note though that it’s not a complete shut down and the blogging part will live on, merged into the general Yahoo offering (or maybe Mash, or even a Yahoo Blogger??).

  15. Yahoo is shit

    Yahoo is without a doubt one of the shittiest companies out there. Despite having billions of dollars, Yahoo hasn’t really built anything *good*. The few good things it has (flickr, delicious, konfabulator..) are all acquisitions, and the fairly good IM client. Otherwise, yahoo is shit.

  16. exapted

    @13
    Young Engineer: It was created for you.

  17. Wes

    I think they just looked at the popularity in the US without considering other countries. But in the add the numbers have to add up, I think.

  18. Exchange3D

    I wonder how long till Mash follows to the Deadpool. Mash seems to make as much sense as 360 did. It is yet another social network that has no useful features when you compare it to existing social networks.

  19. Luxy

    Y360, is great for the more mature group out here sharing things. MASH is facebook. If I wanted that I would be there! No, it’s not perfect, but there is a group of us that like it anyway!
    Would love if some of the blurbs were fixed, but hey, not a perfect world is it??

    I know that some don’t like 360, but several of us do, and I for one hate that it is heading out!

  20. Steve

    I personally enjoyed the 360 that yahoo put out, I think a lack of some features such as being able to search through your own blog posts, and lack of integration with other yahoo services like messenger and games was a disappointment, however it’s biggest problem was timing. Releasing a social network right at the time when myspace was blowing up and all over the news (with a lot of negative) is not really the time to start a new product in the same arena.

    I think there was some ground breaking things in 360, and I hope that lessons learned form it will make mash better. With the combined flickr ideas and other yahoo products, yahoo is set to have the only social network that could compete with myspace IMHO. They just need to get it all together.

    I’ll have to write more on this on my own blog. Thanks for pointing this out, I don’t think I have gotten anything from yahoo alerting to this..

    Now if I could only get a way to download my 200 blog posts from 360!

  21. Rajan Tawate

    They should also shutdown yahoo email..

    That is one of the slowest email user interfaces I have ever used… kinda frustrates you everytime you use that.

    Other than that…it is good that yahoo is speedily re-organizing itself and dumping off in the sea all the dead weight.. maybe we will shortly see a new yahoo which will give a tought fight to google.

    http://www.meetingflex.com
    Custom Social Networks

  22. Wendell

    Y!360 had a small following of users - I was one - who Really liked the service. But, major internet companies / networks, like all major media companies / networks, are driven by numbers. Obviously, the big numbers weren’t there for Y!360, so that’s that.

    I am puzzled about Yahoo’s Mash plans.

    It’s is so obviously a Facebook clone, complete with the ability to stream your FB pictures on your Mash page (and about to open itself up to 3rd party apps in hopes of a FB-like explosion of interest), but… surely Yahoo users who like Facebook are already on Facebook!

    Do they really think people will leave their FB networks and start over again on YM?

    Meanwhile, the 3000 or so North American Y!360 users are starting to look at Multiply.com

  23. Steve Ballmer

    Yang? 360? Yahoo who?

    http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com

  24. Marc

    If Yahoo didn’t tie down every product they have by jamming the Yahoo name on the front of it. Then hiding it on a generic looking subdomain, maybe they would have some luck.

    Does News Corp or IAC shove everything into a single overarching website?
    No they don’t. A company’s got to know it’s brand limitations.

  25. srtew

    OMG, wat will happen with my entries? Everything will disappear, wont it??

  26. Hashim Warren

    @marc

    I agree. The first marketing mistake they made was insisting that the service live as a subdomain.

    Yahoo should take a look at the success of AOL’s TMZ to learn how to build a brand that can be a success outside of the parent company.

  27. Hammer

    360 was a stupid name and that’s the price you pay for stupid decisions

    “Mash” sounds cool.

    If it’s “social”, it has to be “socializable”

  28. Missy A

    I’ve just posted a blog about this, one of my 360 friends gave me the link for here.
    It’s not the user base of 360 not using it its Yahoo forgetting about the user base!
    I’m just wondering what are the 4.7million 360 users? Chopped liver?
    You do realize that Yahoo automatically gave a 360 page to every single user who installed and ran Yahoo Messenger 7 don’t you?
    They made the user of Yahoo Messenger get a 360 page that they didn’t even know they had in a lot of cases

    A LOT of people have worked hard to make 360 the community that it is now, one 360 user has 2 groups with over 2000 members in each one which he set up because Yahoo help was hopeless for 360 . Those 2 groups alone have run 360 not Yahoo they couldn’t run a chook raffle if they could they wouldn’t be shutting down a service with 4.7 million users!

  29. micfo.com

    They’re having good user base at yahoo answer, mosh will be an addition to their network, I think it will get overwhelming response.

  30. sanmat

    Yahoo better plan the Yahoo mash before hitting the market itself.

    http://blogkatt.blogspot.com/2.....ebook.html

  31. Ryan

    Man that sure is a funny, although disturbing, article. I think it’s so true that nobody even heard the announcement! I am sooo glad that I used it in the beginning only to dabble in blogs before going head first and learning the ins and outs of installing and maintaining my own wordpress blog. I guess that’s another reason that proves why opensource software is so damn good and reliable. I bet this decision has pissed off a great many users and I too would be if after having a several year blog someone pulls the plug on it. It kind of got me thinking about how much data I have floating around on other people’s servers and it’s kinda scary to think that anyone of them might be axed and along with it tons of memories. Ouch!

  32. barefootmeg

    As Wendell said, there’s been a huge influx of Yahoo refugees pouring into Multiply.com. Here are a few of their comments so far:

    “I am extremely impressed with Multiply’s response so far. To someone from 360 it is almost frighteningly good.” — mykelo

    “I can’t believe I have an answer already. Your support team is incredible…. wow…. we are SOOOOOO not used to that.” — itsmedj

    “I am estatic that you guys are so wonderful and flexible and can respond to change. That’s something Yahoo! could (or would) NEVER do.” — zebaron

    I don’t work for Multiply, but I’ve been a member of the site since the fall of 2004 and I maintain that it’s the best social networking site available. And from what I’ve seen so far, the Y360 refugees are a great match for Multiply — they’re mature users who want good conversations with a feature rich, well made site.

  33. Dantcer

    Multiply rocks, and with it’s new import tool that is being fine tuned as we speak, Y360′ers are being welcomed with open arms, and a tool to move their content in one swoop. Gotta’ love a site that loves, listens and responds immediately to it’s members.

  34. Yahoo360User

    Yahoo 360 wasn’t that bad. It had some bugs that they forever promised to fix, but……..never really materialized. It’s definitely a better product than their horrible Myspace attempt called Mash.

    They couldn’t make up their mind who they were marketing to….tweeny-boppers or adults. Post very mild adult content, and then the censors would come yank it. But would leave all kinds of porn pages up and untouched by their censors.

    Now, folks are scrambling to find other places to go and to port their data, while some are still remaining to see what happens in 1Q08.

  35. Marcialee

    I just want to say that I think that Yahoo 360 was the very best site out there that I have ever seen or used this is a huge drag for me to loose it and I’m hoping that whatever they come out with will be even better! For your information it will not be Mash and is way better then msm,myspace,facebook and the list could go on and on…..
    Thank you!

  36. Rizvi

    We, the friends, were like a family in 360. Specially the blogs tied each other. Now what will happen? Will all those blogs be transfered to any where? If so, where. Otherwise we’ve to copy and reserve them all in our hard disk…
    Yahoo 360 was not dead. Not at all. It was a place for people those are above standard-considering mentality. Surely it was not for mass people. May be that’s why shutting down is not being protested.

  37. Marty

    I enjoy Y360 for what it is. The best part of it is the people on it (or should I say WERE on it because many have now migrated to similar platforms like MULTIPLY and VOX).
    I suspect some of the problems were caused by a lack of customer service. If there is no communication about bugs, then people will leave. Also, as said, Y360 has a grown up feel to it that makes it a bit niche market. I don’t care much for MASH. It’s just another FACEBOOK clone as far as I’m concerned. Just waiting to see what happens in the new year. There has been so much mis-information. First, Yahoo stated that blogging would be dumped, then late in the day they state blogging will be preserved with their new product. Most users have migrated elsewhere.

  38. Mac

    If you actually took some time to read some of those 1500 some odd post that were on the Y360 team page you would have actually have noticed that most of those comments were letting Yahoo know that we the users of Y360 didn’t want a change except for the repairs of a few minor discrepancies that they have always turned a blind eye to. The CEO of Yahoo also posted a blog regarding shutting down Y360. Strange but he seems to have a feature on his page that no one else has. The comments are screened and only the ones he seems to deem worthy are shown on his page. We the users of Y360 find it more of a site for adults. The other sites out there such as Mash, Myspace and Facebook ect. are all designed for the younger crowd. Y360 was a site for baby boomers and just like that, it will be shut down and the millions that use it and have built the so called site one member at a time do not have any say in the future concerning the matter.

  39. The Dude Dean

    I agree with Mac. What a waste. What Yahoo should do is retool the sites that they have and network them together. A la 43people.com

  40. The Dude Dean

    Meg for a loyal Multiply girl you sure do get around! ;-)

  41. Will

    Y’know, it’s a sad thing - because 360 worked pretty well when it worked.

    The even-sadder thing is, as one of the earlier commenters said, creating a product, then not supporting, promoting, or opening it up outside of a private-sandbox-within-Yahoo is a GREAT way to guarantee it’ll die.

    Yahoo, by the way, acknowledges that it screwed up on 360, big-time.

    Their new Univeral Profile System (yes; that’s what they’re calling it) will *not* be the “Mash” product — “Mash” is an experimental product; floated to find out if the concept works.

    There are around 3,000,000 consistent users of Y/360. That’s not the number of zeroes on FaceSpace or some of the others - but it’s a consistent user base which is demographically older, more mature, and who have more disposable income than their teenage counterparts.

    Fertile ground for advertisers.

    While the “360 Refugees” at Multiply are busy snarking those of us who remain at 360 and go on with their rather immature ‘anti-Yahoo’ campaign, there are still a few of us left who are standing-pat, and seeing what the first of the year will bring.

    Yahoo’s made some mistakes - I think we’ll all admit that. They may turn around and surprise us all with the replacement for 360.

    Best,

    –”Astra”

  42. TOCATOAD

    Well, as a 360er, I took a philosophical view of the yahoo360 issue, until half my blog entries disappeared during a back up exercise. Now I’m not so sure. Is it ultimately about search engines? Is there a war going on out there maybe…

  43. Placebo

    As the 8th commenter said , 360 is the most popular social network in some countries like Iran. There are about 200,000 people using 360 in Iran and it is a great number camparing to its whole Internet users.
    And it is one of most rare social networks that is not blocked by its government .
    Iranian Yahoo!360 users are afraid of this fact that the new Yahoo! social network be blocked soon after it starts working.

  44. Betty

    First let me say that I take offense at the use of the word “NOBODY”. I am one of those Yahoo 360 bloggers who is migrating to another Blogging community because of the closing of Yahoo 360. And I am angry!

    I have blogged on 360 for 2 year’s, and until recently I was happy where I was. Then the site turned into a joke. Technical problems became a nightmare. Comments and emails that were lost in cyber space for day’s, or weeks at a time… Blog post’s that disappeared and reappeared days later… Misdirected links… Feed’s that don’t work… Vanishing groups, and friends… and the list goes on!

    When we tried to get Yahoo to fix the problems, our plea’s feel on deaf ears. Then when the rumors started about 360 closing, the gave us a whitewash story about “Transitioning” to a more uniform profile system. Trying to smooth ruffled feathers, without causing a panic. When in truth they knew it was a sinking ship all along.

    Most of the friend’s I made thru blogging on Yahoo 360 are in the process of migrating their blog’s and friend’s list’s to other blogging site’s as I type this. While others refuse to accept the inevitable. I will tell you this though… Because of their thoughtless actions and deceitful nature, Yahoo has alienated thousands of once loyal bloggers. Many of us are not only moving our blog’s, we are also moving our email address’s and paid websites. They will realize the error of their ways when they see Yahoo MASH fall flat on it’s face as well.

    So when you say “NOBODY” noticed, you are seriously mistaken.

  45. Shane

    what a load of crap! there are a lot of good people on 360 (I’ve been a member and blogged DAILY there since early 2006!) …. it blows that bullchit site “WHYSPACE” outta the water! 360 is more for FRIENDS than any of those other crap sites! I have accounts on those other sites and they are nothin more than dating or porn! the friends I’ve met from 360 (and YES I’ve MET some face to face!) are REAL , GOOD HEARTED FRIENDS OF MINE! WHYSPACEEEEE IS A FRICKIN JOKE! and if 360 closes, I promise you this, I will keep in close touch with allll my friends I’ve met there….. it won’t be thru yahoo, or myspace or any other site

  46. CJ

    I loved Yahoo 360. People called it Yahell but I stayed positive. It was a free place, after all.

    The deceit bothers me the most. When they took away photos, I figured, maybe they need the space because there are so many of us.

    Now I feel lied to. I will not trust my new blog site nearly as much.

    There are many 360 folks who will miss Yahoo. I know I will.

  47. PatM

    “Just checked with comScore. They show a 51 percent decline in monthly U.S. traffic, from 5.7 million unique visitors in September, 2006 to 2.8 million in September, 2007. That compares to 30.6 million for Facebook, and is even smaller than Bebo, Imeem and Hi5. These figures do not capture Yahoo 360’s global appeal.”

    You know why there is a drop off? because your users are leaving because YOU screwed the pooch on 360 by letting it stay in Beta for over 2 years. There are millions of users on 360 worldwide and you are too blind to see it. YOU have let 360 die and YOU have caused people to leave. YOU are the ones that ignore pleas to fix bugs. You people here have lost so many users because of your own stupidity. You had a good thing with 360 and I will tell you that your Mash idea is a farce and a joke of a platform. Think what you may but you even now have loyal users that think you wont close 360 because they don;t think you’d do that to them but yet here you are planning your continued deception. Way to go bozos!

  48. Carrie

    had my commercial blog hosted there, BIG mistake! but the social contacts i have made have resulted in an international celebration over the past two years which will not end as Yahoo 360 goes belly up. my wedding is November 3rd and I have 360 friends from Japan, Mexico, USA, Puerto Rico and Canada attending. thanks to 360 i met all those wonderful people. sorry 360 will be abondoning ship~ C

  49. Carrie

    Also noteworthy~ the groom says he fell in love with my writing then me~ all on 360, so I will be sad to see it all go.

  50. Marie

    Apparently, you are in the deadpool with your reporting. You obviously have ever been to Y360 either. Of course, the nobodies you report on are those that do not visit Yahoo 360, because the rest of us have noticed. For those of us who do, well , maybe you should go read what we have to say….do a real job reporting the truth not lies. Crunch that!

    http://yodel.yahoo.com/2007/10.....head-next/

    I no longer support Yahoo!

  51. gamblers_gal

    I’m one of the millions who aretrying out many other places along with trying to stick it out and just wait..I write many of my own blogs so who cares idf they get lost? Isn’t blogging like writing in a hournal? It is and was to me…Mett Warburton says it best in the y-360 team blog…I don’t know who this guy is up above but o well, I’m sticking with it until it’s gone…
    And about the person who hates yahoo email????? why?? It’s fine for me…
    Theres always gmail too…my way, hotmail, hundreds of other free stuff all over…thats my rant 4 today!! Go Matt Warburton!!!

  52. Brendon

    I’m one of those who has used 360 almost as long as it’s been around, and who find the notion of “nobody noticed” offensive–Yahoo 360’s always been a small but closeknit community; and I guarantee you, WE noticed. You damn well notice when one of your favorite sites starts to degrade and suffer from neglect, and friends start abandoning ship–thankfully, I’ve added most of my closer 360 friends on Multiply so that I can still somehow keep in contact with them. The appeal of 360 was that it was simple, customizable but not too difficult to figure out, integrated with other Yahoo services many of us already used, and wasn’t fraught with hordes of mindless, grammatically-challenged teeny-boppers. I’m no teeny-bopper, nor am I a baby boomer; I’m on the cusp of Generation X and Generation Y. I have MySpace and Facebook accounts, but I use them mostly just to keep in contact with real-life friends I already had.

    The sheer number of users is NOT an indication of how good the site is, particularly if that popularity is based on the tastes of a bunch of teenagers or preteens or tweens or whatever the hell those kids are referred to now. They might generate a lot of traffic; but that age group can’t generate the kind of REVENUE an older crowd–with jobs–can. The main advertisements on Facebook are for juvenile-themed T-shirts, and the main ads on Myspace? Grammatically-incorrect flash ads that have you wack people with chairs or shoot zombies so that you can “find out who ‘UR’ crush is!” (I’m guessing they meant “your”… I didn’t know Prince was writing internet ads these days.)

    I guess it depends on whether you value quality over quantity. 360 was simple, user-friendly, relatively teenybopper-free, and had a vibrant, intelligent, interesting user base. Yahoo dropped the ball and is doing too little, too late to fix it, if what they’re doing can even be called fixing it. They did something like this with Yahoo Photos last month… I’d been using that service for close to ten years and literally had thousands of photos there; I was forced to find another website and ended up having to pay to get basically the same service I’d enjoyed for free at Yahoo… and no, I did NOT choose Flickr. I went with Smugmug.

    I will continue to stand by 360 in the hopes that Yahoo will learn a hard lesson from this and make the upcoming replacement service worth-while and still geared towards intelligent blogging and socializing. In the meantime, I think I’ll be making more of a presence on Multiply.

  53. Diamond Star

    I have a myspace page also, and as far as networking, their page is better. However, those who like to blog on a regular basis know that if you are at work, 9 times out of 10 myspace is blocked. Yahoo works great when you are at the workplace.

    For those who don’t like Yahoo simply don’t use it. I noticed when I started blogging on 360 that it was for the more mature crowd, actually blogging and commenting about differetn issues. That what makes it so unique from all the others. It needs some work though, which is hopefully where Mash will come in.

  54. Scott

    The bookmarking thing your’re speaking of is not part of Yahoo! 360. You’re thinking of Yahoo! “MyWeb” which is more or less a competitor to Yahoo!’s own del.icio.us (which they didn’t yet own when MyWeb started).

    There was no mention of MyWeb in Yang’s blog post.

    However common sense dictates that just like Yahoo! Photos and flickr, having two very redundant services doesn’t make much sense.

    I just hope that the final product (killing MyWeb is inevitible) includes MyWeb’s “save this page” feature. They had it before ma.nolia and it’s the only thing missing from del.icio.us.

    I use both services