Traditionally, Yahoo has let failed initiatives wither and die on the vine, but today the company's pulling a Google instead: it's publicly shutting down several projects all at the same time, in order to focus on other efforts. Citing the new Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Weather mobile apps as examples of what the company wants to build instead, Yahoo is shutting down Deals, Yahoo Upcoming (and its API), Yahoo Kids, Yahoo SMS Alerts, and the J2ME feature phone versions of Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Messenger, all on April 30th. Older versions of the web-based Yahoo Mail will also disappear beginning the week of June 3rd.
A brief rundown:
- Yahoo acquired Upcoming in 2005. It's a local event calendar, where users can host their own events as well. Yahoo offers these instructions to help users export future events, but we're not sure if there's a way to save records of past ones.
- Yahoo Kids, formerly Yahooligans, is a long-running web portal with kid-friendly news, games, jokes, and the like, established way back in 1996. Yahoo claims that "Our youngest users still have plenty of opportunities to engage with Yahoo! content and products," but by way of example, only suggests Mail, Messenger, and information about family-friendly films on Yahoo Movies.
- Yahoo launched Deals in 2008, providing online coupons and local Groupon-like deals, syndicated from other websites. The company provides instructions for saving coupons to a text file on a local computer.
- Yahoo SMS Alerts provided news alerts and horoscopes via text message. Yahoo recommends using its mobile apps or website instead.
- Similarly, Yahoo recommends replacing the J2ME versions of Yahoo Mail and Messenger with the company's mobile website or apps instead.
Update: Andy Baio, the creator of Upcoming, has weighed in on the site's sad decline and demise.
But, for me, finding events I care about feels like 2002 again. I'm missing geeky events I'd love, and when I travel to a new city, I'm back to digging through the calendar listings of my local weekly newspapers. It blows my mind that the problem Upcoming solved — surfacing interesting events in a city, driven by public social activity — is an unsolved problem again.