closedThink back to the mid 1990s and you’ll remember a time when AltaVista was a big player in the world of search engines. Fast forward 15 years and many people think AltaVista died years ago.

In reality, Yahoo! purchased AltaVista as part of its acquisition of Overture Services, Inc. (remember that name? Once a big player in the search advertising realm) in 2003, but it was already struggling before Yahoo! came into the picture. In 2011, Yahoo! announced it would shut down AltaVista, but the site hung on—until now.

AltaVista will close on July 8, 2013, but that’s not the only product Yahoo! is shutting down in its efforts to find focus (presumably on Tumblr, etc.). The full list of products that will close in the coming months, according to an announcement from Jay Rossiter, Yahoo! executive vice president of Platforms, on the Yahoo! Blog (incidentally, which is published on Tumblr) this week, along with shut down dates, include:

  1. Yahoo! Axis (June 28, 2013)
  2. Yahoo! Browser Plus (June 28, 2013)
  3. Citizen Sports (June 28, 2013)
  4. Yahoo! WebPlayer (June 30, 2013)
  5. FoxyTunes (July 1, 2013)
  6. Yahoo! RSS Alerts (July 1, 2013)
  7. Yahoo! Neighbors Beta (July 8, 2013)
  8. AltaVista (July 8, 2013)
  9. Yahoo! Stars India (July 25, 2013)
  10. Yahoo! Downloads Beta (July 31, 2013)
  11. Yahoo! Local API (September 28, 2013)
  12. Yahoo! Term Extraction API (September 28, 2013)

If you use any of these products in your publishing activities, find alternate tools immediately. It’s safe to assume that this isn’t the end of product closings that will come from Yahoo! in the near future. Truthfully, Yahoo! lost its brand focus many years ago, and trimming excess products needs to be done. It’s difficult to justify spending time, money, and manpower on products that aren’t delivering value to the bottom-line or don’t support the focused vision of Yahoo! for the future. Let’s hope the Yahoo! vision will actually live up to the new-found focus its leadership team is promoting. I still have hope for Yahoo!

What do you think of the Yahoo! announcement? Will you miss AltaVista, the Yahoo! WebPlayer, or Yahoo! RSS Alerts? Do you still use any of the products on Yahoo!’s list?

If there are products that are critical to your publishing activities, it’s always a good idea to ensure you have maximum control over them and find alternatives for products that you cannot control. You don’t want to be caught scrambling to find a solution like many people had to do when Google announced it would shut down Google Reader on July 1st and stop supporting the Feedburner API. If the loss of a tool will destroy your publishing, you need to make a change or develop a contingency plan as soon as possible.

Image: Michael Lorenzo