Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Unhappy End of a Once-Vaunted Web Site


Today is the first day in at least 17 years that Yahoo! no longer offers content specifically for children. Launched in 1996, Yahooligans! was a groundbreaking Web site, celebrated for its canny mix of entertainment and education.

But the years were not kind to this once market-leading property. By 2006, it was neglected and overlooked, but Lloyd Braun recognized the supreme value of building Yahoo! brand loyalty in children. Yahooligans! became Yahoo! Kids and for a brief time flourished with promise under a sharp product team (which I joined).

But multiple CEOs and reorgs took their toll. The Y!Kids team was dispersed and laid off until only I was left. With (now former) Yahoo! Movies Exec Producer Sean Phillips, we fought the good fight, arguing for Y!Kids' value to Yahoo! and proposing realistic plans for its rebirth.

But, alas, children don't have credit cards and the fertile youth market of the future was abandoned when I too was laid off last July. Y!Kids sat fallow, unchanged since my exit, like a corpse lying in the street, until it was mercifully brought down this week.

May it rest in digital peace at last.

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