OngoingWorlds blog

News & articles about play-by-post games, for roleplayers & writers


A nail in the coffin for Yahoo Groups

CoffinYesterday I received an email which makes me worried about the future of Yahoo! groups.

Yahoo! Groups have been around for over 10 years, and before that they were called eGroups. This was where I played my first roleplaying game, as Yahoo! Groups was popular with roleplayers as it was free and easy, and allowed users to send emails out to members of the game. This was a proper PBEM (play-by-email) game.

I used a Yahoo Group to run my Blue Dwarf game for 10 years and in that time there were no new advancements made to the system, giving me the impression that Yahoo had abandoned the service, only continuing to run it for legacy purposes. That’s when I moved Blue Dwarf over to OngoingWorlds (If you want to know more about this process, here’s an article I wrote at the time).

Today I received this in an email from Yahoo!

Unfortunately, the time has come to say goodbye to Yahoo! Groups Labs Applications (beta) and Groups Chat. We thank all the users that were a part of this program.

On July 04, 2012, we will shut down the Yahoo! Groups Labs Applications (beta) and Groups Chat. We request you to backup any data that you might have created using the applications.

This isn’t a message saying Yahoo Groups is closing (although I wouldn’t be surprised if that came soon), it’s just saying they’re closing down some features.

Who uses Yahoo! Groups anyway?

The thing is, many roleplayers still use Yahoo! Groups. Most of Starbase 118 fleet’s games are ran in a Yahoo group, and many have been for years, making it difficult for them to move away like Blue Dwarf did.

So what happens if Yahoo did close down their Groups? (Actually they seem to prefer the term “sunset”) like they closed Geocities, Site Explorer and Delicious (although the former had it coming – gah!). Yahoo will hopefully provide a way to transfer their archive of posts (which could be thousands) to another service just like Windows Live Spaces were transferred to Hopefully everyone’s roleplaying archive will be kept and not lost. I’d hate to lose an entire archive of stories written over such a large period of my life.

Maybe it’s a positive message?

In the email they do say “We intend to use this learning to enhance Yahoo! Groups further with new features” so it sounds like they ARE working on new features, although in my 10 years of using them I can’t say I saw many. It’s possible this message is a good thing and they’re going to start developing Yahoo Groups and finally bringing it into the new decade (what do we call this decade anyway – the “teenies”?).

Keep an eye on what happens next. Maybe Yahoo will manage to prolong their death a little bit longer, or maybe they’ll bounce back. Who knows?