Yahoo was not the first internet chat room, but it was one of the biggest, most popular, and longest-running chat systems on the web.
It opened in 1998, and will be closing tomorrow, December 14th.
Yahoo chat was especially successful because it was integrated with Yahoo Messenger, meaning anyone who used Messenger could easily find it and give it a whirl.
The chat had its share of problems over the years:
- In the early 2000s, it was invaded by "bots" -- basically automated spam progams that masqueraded as actual chatters, for the purpose of advertising porn and webcam sites. While these bots were mostly easy to distinguish from real chatters, they were annoying and persistent. Yahoo never came up with an answer to stop the bots. Even implementing a captcha system failed, as it just inconvenienced real users and did nothing to stop the quickly-adapting bots.
- In 2005, Yahoo suffered both embarrassment and a loss of major sponsors, when their "User created rooms" were found to contain many rooms operated by pedophiles. This included sick rooms such as "Young girls 8-12 for fat older men", and other crap like that. Major sponsors such as Sprint and Pepsi were horrified to learn that they were listed as "sponsors" of such rooms, and they quickly pulled their Yahoo ads. Yahoo removed the user-created rooms days later.
- The Yahoo chat system was poorly designed, and allowed highly technical users to create "boot" programs to force other chatters out of the room at will. Again, like the situation with the bots, Yahoo did not make any real attempt to stop this.
Despite the aforementioned problems, the Yahoo rooms had a few big upsides.
As already mentioned, one of the big advantages of Yahoo chat was the fact that it had a constant stream of new chatters, which kept the rooms fresh and interesting.
Another big upside, somewhat related to the factor mentioned above, was that it was very easy to meet girls there, if you knew what you were doing. The girls in the Yahoo rooms tended to be very easy, and yet many were surprisingly attractive despite that. Even better, there was very little real competition from other guys in the room, as most of them were undesirable for one reason or another, and very easy to beat out. It was basically like playing at a poker table full of huge donks, knowing that you were by far the best player, even if your game wasn't perfect.
While I stopped using the Yahoo rooms during my two recent long term relationships, I have to confess that I had a lot of success meeting girls through Yahoo during my single days. I found it to be far superior to (and easier than) dating sites, if you knew what you were doing. I had a routine here that was pretty much foolproof and very successful.
Anyway, the quality of Yahoo chat eventually degraded, as social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter gained popularity.
Nowadays nobody really thinks of going into public chat rooms. It's just not something people want to do anymore. I think that's too bad, because Facebook and Twitter suck for meeting women, as people on those sites are really more interested in talking to those they already know, rather than meeting new people. If I were single, I wouldn't even bother with social media for trying to meet women. The whole thing just seems awkward.
Anyway, when Yahoo hired that new pregnant CEO, I had a feeling she was going to axe the chat rooms there. They've basically made zero revenue for the company since the 2005 user room debacle, and they are probably a huge headahce. It took a number of months, but sure enough, Yahoo has decided to cancel a number of its features, including Chat, Pingbox, and Yahoo Phone.
RIP Yahoo Chat