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Yahoo cancels invites site

The Web portal calls off the party, announcing the shutdown of its online invitation site in a move that underscores its overall strategic shift.

Yahoo is calling off the party.

The Web portal said Wednesday that it plans to shut down its online invitations site. Yahoo Invites is a stand-alone site that allows people to send and manage online invitations for events and get-togethers.

"We apologize, but the Yahoo Invites service is no longer offered," a note on the site read. "You can still view existing invitations until April 5, 2002. On that date, all invitations will be permanently deleted from the Yahoo Invites Web site."

The note added that people can still send invitations through a separate service in Yahoo Calendar.

Yahoo has been making a series of changes throughout its service, from implementing new fees to rejiggering its privacy policy. Some of these shifts have surprised longtime users of Yahoo services, leading to complaints about the quick changes and criticism about new practices.

Most of the changes underscore an overall strategic shift at Yahoo. Company executives have outlined plans to whittle down their businesses and to focus on their strongest areas. They also have emphasized a need to offset steep revenue declines from the online advertising collapse by applying fees to areas that were once free.

"We are focused on developing deeper, richer and better services for consumers, with better financial returns," a company representative said. "We determined that eliminating Yahoo Invites would provide us the opportunity to focus on services that provide more value to consumers and our investors."