Fun fact: Yang and Filo added the exclamation point to the end of Yahoo! because “Yahoo” was already trademarked by a company that produced BBQ sauce.
Yahoo!, a public company (YHOO) that was founded by Jerry Yang and David Filo in January 1994 and later incorporated in March 1995 (that’s four years before Google was founded by Larry page and Sergey Brin). The company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. Yahoo is globally known for its web portal, search engine (Yahoo Search), Yahoo Directory, Yahoo Mail, Yahoo News, Yahoo Groups, Yahoo Answers and more. Yang and Filo were electrical engineering students at Stanford University when they developed a website called “Jerry and David’s guide to the World Wide Web.”
The site was never intended to include searchable pages; it was more of a directory that included some of their favorite websites from across the web. Their name wasn’t exactly short (36 characters). They needed something catchy–something people would remember. In March 1994, they changed their name to Yahoo! and registered the domain on January 18, 1995. The company is currently CEO’d by Marissa Mayer, a former Googler.
Why is Yahoo called Yahoo?
The word Yahoo is an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.” Come again? According to Paul Gil, internet writer for About.com, “the word Yahoo! did roughly describe it as a web search directory. The term ‘hierarchical’ described how the Yahoo! database was arranged in directory layers. The term ‘oracle’ was intended to mean ‘source of truth and wisdom and ‘officious’ described the many office workers who would use the Yahoo! database while surfing from work.” However, Yang and Filo mainly picked the name because of the slang definition of “Yahoo,” which was used by college students in the late 80’s to refer to an unsophisticated, rural southerner; “rude, unsophisticated, uncouth.”
SEE ALSO: Why is DuckDuckGo Called DuckDuckGo?
Shortly after Marissa Mayer started saving Yahoo’s sinking ship, she implemented a strict “No Work From Home Policy.” She received a great deal of criticism, but she needed to take drastic measures to see results. Yahoo! acquired microblogging and social media platform, Tumblr for 1.1B on May 17th, 2013. Yahoo has been on an acquisition spree, already acquiring eight companies this year. Can you tell I am a fan of the progress, policies and strategy? More recently, Yahoo! kicked off a 30 Days of Change campaign, where Yahoo! displays a different logo on their homepage each day for 30 days. According to Kathy Savitt, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), “We wanted to preserve the character that is unique to Yahoo! — fun, vibrant, and welcoming — so we’ll be keeping the color purple, our iconic exclamation point and of course the famous yodel. After all, some things never go out of style.” Yahoo actually crowdsourced the new design of the logo, but ended up choosing the version that was created in house. Even if they were never planning on choosing a design created by an outsider, it sure received a lot of attention.
What was, what is…
See More: All logos from the “30 Days of Change” campaign.
It’s not simple!
“On a personal level, I love brands, logos, color, design, and, most of all, Adobe Illustrator. I think it’s one of the most incredible software packages ever made. I’m not a pro, but I know enough to be dangerous. So, one weekend this summer, I rolled up my sleeves and dove into the trenches with our logo design team: Bob Stohrer, Marc DeBartolomeis, Russ Khaydarov, and our intern Max Ma. We spent the majority of Saturday and Sunday designing the logo from start to finish, and we had a ton of fun weighing every minute detail.“ – Marissa Mayer
Do you think Marissa Mayer is steering the ship in the right direction? #whyisitcalledyahoo
Adam Lang is the founder and editor of Rewind & Capture. He is passionate about creative marketing, design and brand etymology.