Yahoo Answers will be shut down forever on May 4th

Nick Statt, writing at The Verge:

Yahoo Answers, one of the longest-running and most storied web Q&A platforms in the history of the internet, is shutting down on May 4th. That’s the day the Yahoo Answers website will start redirecting to the Yahoo homepage, and all of the platform’s archives will apparently cease to exist. The platform has been operating since 2005. 

Yahoo, which is now part of Verizon Media Group following the company’s sale to the telecom for nearly $5 billion in 2017, announced the change at the top of the Yahoo Answers homepage. The message links to an FAQ, which details the timeline of the shutdown. Starting April 20th, the platform will no longer accept new submissions, the FAQ explains. 

Users will also have until June 30th to request their data or it’ll be inaccessible after that. That includes “all user-generated content including your Questions list, Questions, Answers list, Answers, and any images,” Yahoo says, but “you won’t be able to download other users’ content, questions, or answers.” 

A note sent to active Yahoo Answers members provides a little more detail as to why Yahoo is shutting down the platform, including that “it has become less popular over the years” and that the company “decided to shift our resources away” from the product to “focus on products that better serve our members.”

I was vaguely aware that Yahoo Answers was still a thing, as I’d occasionally see it pop up among various search results. Out of morbid curiosity, I went to Yahoo UK’s homepage (be forewarned, you’ll most likely get hit with ‘please let us track you’ overlay) to find out what they currently define as ‘products that better serve our members’:

  • Celebrity
  • Finance
  • Mail
  • Mobile
  • Movies
  • News
  • Safety
  • Search
  • Sport
  • Style
  • Weather

The only common link I can see between those are that they’re a) things that people will actually want to look at, meaning b) more people for Yahoo to track, profile and sell that data on.

(I was somewhat bemused to see references to other no-longer-services such as Messenger and Groups on some of those pages. Make of that what you will.)

Perhaps the shutdown is for the best, considering the site appears to be overrun with far-right conspiratorial garbage. The current Yahoo Answers homepage is highlighting such introspective gems in its discover section as, “Will America survive 4 years of Joe Biden?” and “Will this summer be record riots by BLM and antifa?,” as well as this instant classic, “Was Stalin right about everything?” 

May all the wayward souls of Yahoo Answers now find the information they’re looking for somewhere more credible.