Services & Software

Yahoo Directory -- once the firm's cornerstone -- to shut down

The service will shut down on December 31 -- just one of more than 60 products that the company has discontinued over the past two years.

Yahoo started as a directory called "Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web," named after the company's co-founders, Jerry Yang and David Filo. Getty Images

One of the Internet's earliest mainstays is going away by the end of the year.

Yahoo announced Friday that it's shutting down Yahoo Directory, along with two other products: Yahoo Education, a portal for education services, and Qwiki, an app for creating short movies from videos on a mobile device.

But the real significance, if only sentimentally, is the shutting down of Yahoo's Directory -- once the cornerstone of the company. The service, a search tool for a bygone era, lists popular sites by category, instead of surfacing search results by keyword, like search engines such as Google allow. Before Yahoo was Yahoo, company co-founders Jerry Yang and David Filo created the directory in 1994, calling it "Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web."

"Yahoo was started nearly 20 years ago as a directory of websites that helped users explore the Internet," Jay Rossiter, Yahoo's senior vice president of the cloud platform group, said in a blog post. "While we are still committed to connecting users with the information they're passionate about, our business has evolved."

The directory will officially close December 31, and advertisers will be given details on getting upgraded to a new service, he said. The shutdown is part of the company's attempt to streamline its product offerings. The company has shuttered more than 60 products in the last two years, said Rossiter.

Yahoo did not immediately respond to a request for comment specifically on the Directory's shutdown.

Under CEO Marissa Mayer, the company has homed in on a mobile product strategy, refreshing all of those properties, including Yahoo Sports and Finance. Shutting down the less relevant products allows the company to shift resources around to where they're most needed, said Rossiter.

"With even more smart, innovative Yahoos focused on our core products -- search, communications, digital magazines and video -- we can deliver the best for our users," he said.

The streamlining comes as Yahoo looks to shore up excitement over its product line and attract advertisers, while Google and Facebook have become dominant players in the digital ad space. Last quarter, Yahoo's display ad revenue -- an important financial metric for the company -- slumped 7 percent.