Yahoo! shuts down GeoCities

Yahoo! on Monday closed GeoCities, a free Web hosting service that it purchased for over three billion dollars at the height of the dot-com boom.

"We have enjoyed hosting websites created by Yahoo! users all over the world, and we're proud of the community you've built," the California-based Internet pioneer said in a message at the GeoCities website.

"However, we have decided to focus on helping our customers explore and build relationships online in other ways."

Yahoo! said GeoCities would not be available after Monday and recommended GeoCities refugees set up new online homes at its paid Web hosting service, with an introductory offer of just five dollars for the first 12 months.

The closure of GeoCities comes a week after Yahoo! reported that aggressive cost-cutting helped it more than triple its net profit despite a 12-percent decline in revenue in its third quarter.

Yahoo! said net profit soared more than 244 percent in the quarter to 186 million dollars, or 13 cents per share, from 54 million dollars, or four cents per share, a year ago, easily surpassing analysts' forecasts.

The better-than-expected performance was due in large part to cost-cutting measures implemented by Carol Bartz since being named in January to replace Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang as chief executive.

Yahoo! has reduced its headcount by some 2,000 during the past year and presently has some 13,200 employees.

Yahoo! announced the planned closure of GeoCities early this year, saying it was "increasing investment in some areas while scaling back in others."

GeoCities was founded in 1994 as Beverly Hills Internet and bought by Yahoo! during the infamous dot-com boom in Silicon Valley.

GeoCities provided people with tools to build interactive websites and eventually added chat forums and other community-oriented features.

Yahoo! eventually added fee-paying premium services in an effort to make money at GeoCities, which had trouble retaining users and getting profitable.

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