Okay, 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.).