Last week, Yahoo finally shuttered GeoCities, which it purchased for $5 billion in 1999.
$5 billion is a remarkable number — one that helps put some of the mistakes of the Web 2.0 era in perspective.
Consider the following:
- People say former AOL CEO Randy Falco’s last big mistake was spending $850 million on third-place social network Bebo.
- They say Google’s failure to monetise its $1.65 billion YouTube acquisition proves its executives are more lucky then good.
- They point at Yahoo and wonder how, after it spent $30 million on Flickr, it let Facebook become the most popular photo-sharing site on the Web.
- They say former eBay CEO Meg Whitman shouldn’t stand a chance running for California governor because of how she spent $2.6 billion on Skype, which is profitable but so irrelevant to eBay’s core business that it is going to be spun off.
You already know where we’re going with this. That’s right, the sum total spent on those five acquisitions combined does’t amount to what Yahoo spent on GeoCities back in 1999, let alone the $5.7 billion Yahoo spent on Broadcast.com that same year.