Archiving Yahoo Groups

Yahoo! Groups logo from January 30, 2001

I’m a little sad that Yahoo is ending Yahoo Groups, one of the world’s largest collections of online discussion boards.

Most times I used it as an email newsletter service. Anyone could subscribe to get various newsletters I would make. From 1999 to 2005, I made 17 such newsletter groups dedicated to niche topics ranging from Chicago tennis to Pepsi Blue.

During these times there was no Facebook or Twitter. People communicated via email. Yahoo Groups was a great way to get people together.

My first group was artchicago. There really wasn’t any place online dedicated to discussing art in Chicago, so I made this group in March 1999. We would post thoughts on art shows, local artists, job openings.

The following year in 2000 I made a group for croquet fun in Chicago. We’d post fun summaries of our Extreme Croquet events in WWF style storytelling.

Whenever a fun topic would come up, I’d make an email group for it. Tired of carrot cake at work birthday celebrations? Sure! Let’s make a group, Carrot Cake Boycott. Love your work’s pencil sharpener? Yeah! We need a group to share the fun of sharpening pencils. No joke. We had the “14th floor pencil sharpening club.” That was one of the fun aspects of Yahoo Groups, you could make it like a club. I even made a fan club for my on-court croquet personality, the Mighty Mauler.

Looking through all the groups I made in those years is a flashback to all the interests and hobbies I had in my mid-twenties. Chicago Tennis, croquet, space picture of the day, Pepsi Blue, comic strip experiments.

This this time capsule of items, it’s like a time captured from 1999 to 2005. Now, some 20 years later, Yahoo is taking it all down on December 15, 2020. Because I love preserving history, I went to each group and pulled the stats like member count and date created. I really wish the original emails were still up, but those were taken down on February 2020.

I also archived each of the “about” pages on archive.org.

All 17 Yahoo groups I made, sorted by member size

Group nameMembers countDate formed
the VISUAL ARTS in Chicagoland404 members3/26/1999
PepsiBlue320 members5/8/2002
funny comic strips170 members1/23/2003
Let’s play some tennis in Chicago74 members7/31/2000
Let’s play some croquet in Chicagoland58 members8/1/2000
Matt’s Link of the Week44 members10/1/2001
Crystal Clear Pepsi43 members4/24/2002
Spudart.org Updates31 members12/7/2001
Shawon Dunston19 members11/14/2001
Graphic Design Links16 members3/7/2002
ceiva15 members9/26/2002
Mauler Fanclub11 members12/3/2001
14th floor pencil sharpening club11 members1/9/2003
Carrot Cake Boycott9 members6/8/2001
Chicago Design Network9 members5/5/2005
Astronomy Picture of the Day5 members1/31/2002
Common Comic4 members12/14/2004

Details about each group

For each of the 17 groups I list:

  • 2020 thoughts: My thoughts today, looking back at why I created each group 15-20 years ago.
  • The original group description: Yup. Copied straight from each Group’s page before Yahoo deleted them from existence.
  • Member count: The number as of 2020, who knows what the member size was back in the day. Probably more, I’d guess.
  • Date founded.
  • Slug name: This slug is used in the URL for the group, and it also appeared between brackets in the subject line of every email
  • Info archive link: The place on archive.org where the info page is now archived and kept alive for anyone to see.

the VISUAL ARTS in Chicagoland

  • 2020 thoughts: Chicago needed a place to discuss the visual arts in 1999
  • Archived group description: Anything relating to the VISUAL ARTS in the CHICAGOland area. (this is not a group for the theatre arts, this is strictly focused on the visual arts)
    Ideas for posting:
    • Future art events in Chicago (i.e. shows, exhibits, openings, performances, talks, art fairs)
    • Opinions, reviews, thoughts on art events you’ve seen
    • Opinions on art galleries and musuems in Chicago
    • Artists living in Chicagoland area
    • Future art contests
    • Jobs available and jobs needed postings
    • Any Questions
    • Surviving in the real world tips (and questions)
    • Requests for help
  • Member count: 404
  • Date formed: 3/26/1999
  • Slug name: artchicago
  • Info page archive

PepsiBlue

  • 2020 thoughts: I made one of the first product blogs ever. When Pepsi Blue came out, it was so hilarious that I had to blog about it. And naturally, it needed an email newsletter too!
  • Archived group description: The fan club for all Pepsi Blue lovers. Voice your opinion on pepsi blue. Love it, hate it?
  • Member count: 320
  • Date formed: 5/8/2002
  • Slug name: pepsiblue
  • Info page archive

funny comic strips

  • 2020 thoughts: In 2003, I worked for a comic syndicate (I still work there today in 2020). Curating funny comic strips from our comics made a lot of sense. I would also include comics outside of our roster.
  • Archived group description: ‘Don’t have time to read the funnies? Too many lame comic strips out there? I read a bunch of comic strips, and i will select only the funny ones for you (only a few links in a semi-daily email). This is a newsletter only group, so you will only get email from me.
  • Member count: 170
  • Date formed: 1/23/2003
  • Slug name: funnycomicstrips
  • Info page archive

Let’s play some tennis in Chicago

  • 2020 thoughts: Living in the city, I wanted to find people to play tennis with. Funny, I never ended up playing tennis with anyone from this group.
  • Archived group description: Where to play tennis in Chicago. Tennis events and tournaments in Chicago. Find a tennis partner in Chicago.
  • Member count: 74
  • Date formed: 7/31/2000
  • Slug name: chicagotennis
  • Info page archive

Let’s play some croquet in Chicagoland

  • 2020 thoughts: A fun way to share my family’s croquet adventures.
  • Archived group description: A group of clubs to get together to play croquet in the city of Chicago and its suburbs. All playing levels welcome…from expert to never played before.

    If you have your own club, you are encouraged to have your club become a member of the Chicago Croquet League. Through this league we can organize times to play and where. This league will also store all results from games played with all the clubs inside our Chicago Croquet League.

    Right now, the only club in the Chicago Croquet League is the Chicago Croquet Squirearchy of Gentlefolk. We welcome more clubs to form and join.

    If any club of the Chicago Croquet League plays a game, it would be appreciated if someone can report the results of the game(s). You don’t have to previously announce a game for it to be official. i.e. If I play with my relatives, I can call that a CCL game. Or if you just play with your friends, that can be a CCL game.

    But we will have official planned CCL games for everyone to play too.
  • Member count: 58
  • Date formed: 8/1/2000
  • Slug name: ChicagoCroquet
  • Info page archive

Matt’s Link of the Week

  • 2020 thoughts: Back in 2000/2001 I would change the footer of my emails every week to have a different “link of the week”. This weekly featured carried over into an email newsletter.
  • Archived group description: A weekly email with Matt’s Link of the Week.
    A funny link sent to you every Monday. Good ol’ oddball fun, quirky websites. You’ll only get one email a week with this group, so join the fun.
    (this is a group affiliated with Spudart Productions http://www.spudart.org )
  • Member count: 44
  • Date formed: 10/1/2001
  • Slug name: LinkOfTheWeek
  • Info page archive

Crystal Clear Pepsi

  • 2020 thoughts: If you are going to make a discussion group for Pepsi Blue, you gotta make one for Crystal Clear Pepsi too! I loved that drink!
  • Archived group description: for all Crystal clear pepsi fanatics
    Group Website: http://www.spudart.org/pepsiclear
  • Member count: 43
  • Date formed: 4/24/2002
  • Slug name: crystalclearpepsi
  • Info page archive

Spudart.org Updates

  • 2020 thoughts: My blog started in September 2001. A few months later, I have an email newsletter to distribute the posts. Internet marketing at its finest in those years!
  • Archived group description: New original ideas and discoveries from Matt Maldre’s spudart.org. This is a newsletter-style email group that sends one email almost every day. Sign up to get thoughtful, fun ideas from spudart.org.
  • Member count: 31
  • Date formed: 12/7/2001
  • Slug name: spudartupdates
  • Info page archive

Shawon Dunston

  • 2020 thoughts: My favorite baseball player. Gotta have a group for the Chicago Cubs All-Star shortstop from the 80s/90s.
  • Archived group description: Fan club for Shawon Dunston, great shortshop of the Chicago Cubs from 1985 to 1997. Then hopped around from Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Indians, San Franscisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, and New York Mets.
  • Member count: 19
  • Date formed: 11/14/2001
  • Slug name: shawondunston
  • Info page archive

Graphic Design Links

  • 2020 thoughts: Just like how I had a “link of the week” I also loved sharing graphic design links.
  • Archived group description: The email group for: http://www.spudart.org/design/links Get updates on new graphic design links to articles and sites. Suggest some links. This group is moderated.
  • Member count: 16
  • Date formed: 3/7/2002
  • Slug name: graphicdesignlinks
  • Info page archive

ceiva

  • 2020 thoughts: I bought my parents a digital frame in 2002. You could set the frame up to display various “channels” of content. Outside the official Ceiva list of channels, there were a lot of homemade channels. But not many places sto promote these channels.
  • Archived group description: Frustrated by the limited choices of Ceiva’s standard channels? This group is to share independent channels for the Ceiva frame.
    (Ceiva frame explanation for beginners: Ceiva is a popular internet connected digital picture frame. The frame works by connecting to the Internet daily to download images selected by its owner or provided by a channel that automatically displays content through the frame. Although most Ceiva owners probably keep their own frames, another option would be to give the frame to loved ones and use it to send fresh digital images to them regularly.)
  • Member count: 15
  • Date formed: 9/26/2002
  • Slug name: ceiva
  • Info page archive

Mauler Fanclub

  • 2020 thoughts: The club nature of Groups is a lot of fun, so why not make one for my on-field croquet persona, the Mighty Mauler!?
  • Archived group description: This is the Mauler’s fan club. The Mauler is the best player in the Chicago Croquet Squirearchy of Gentlefolk.
  • Member count: 11
  • Date formed: 12/3/2001
  • Slug name: maulerfanclub
  • Info page archive

14th floor pencil sharpening club

  • 2020 thoughts: The most hilariously weird niche club one could think of. This one is so bizarre, that I actually kept up with it every now and then through the years. Occasionally sending emails to this group many years later.
  • Archived group description: This is a exclusive club only for those who sharpen pencils with the automatic pencil sharpener on the 14th floor. If you haven’t ever sharpened your pencils on the 14th floor, GET LOST. But if you have sharpened a pencil, even once, on the 14th floor, that is our initiation right into the group. You are welcome and we rise our pencils for you.
  • Member count: 11
  • Date formed: 1/9/2003
  • Slug name: 14th-floor-pencil-sharpening-club
  • Info page archive

Carrot Cake Boycott

  • 2020 thoughts: No comment, really.
  • Archived group description: Carrot cake got put onto this planet by mistake. Help us destroy and prevent any more carrot cakes from appearing ever again. (exception is Tom Saaristo’s carrot cake. It’s the best in the world and oh so grand.)
  • Member count: 9
  • Date formed: 6/8/2001
  • Slug name: carrotcakeboycott
  • Info page archive

Chicago Design Network

  • 2020 thoughts: The chance to connect with more local graphic designers. I don’t think the Chicago chapter of the AIGA had anything like this at the time.
  • Archived group description: This group serves to connect graphic designers in the Chicagoland area. Feel free to share: events, tips, networking, etc.
  • Member count: 9
  • Date formed: 5/5/2005
  • Slug name: chicagodesignnetwork
  • Info page archive

Astronomy Picture of the Day

  • 2020 thoughts: The NASA image of the day is just so fantastic. But in 2002, they had no email newsletter to subscribe to. So I made this group.
  • Archived group description: This group discusses the Astronomy Picture of the Day. There is a really neat website where each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. And on this yahoo group, you can post any comments on the current day’s photo. Here’s the website with the picture every day. http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html
  • Member count: 5
  • Date formed: 1/31/2002
  • Slug name: spacepics
  • Info page archive

Common Comic

  • 2020 thoughts: A funky-crazy idea for a comic strip. I wish this one took off.
  • Archived group description: it would be so fun to do a comic strip. But it would take so long for one person to make 365 comic strips a year!
    So why not pick one theme, and have a bunch of artists write and draw their own strips? Like there could be a character guide where everyone has to use the same characters. And maybe every month there could be a theme that the artists work with. Each person can draw it in their own style and their own jokes.
    That way, it doesn’t become a boring stale comic strip like how many others are in the newspaper. And you got lots of variety and talent working on it.
    Who’s in? It would be fun to get a large group of people, like thirty people. So then you only have to do one comic a month. No drawing talents required. ANYBODY can join.
    Group website: http://www.spudart.org/blogs/randomthoughts_comments/2653_0_3_0_C/
  • Member count: 4
  • Date formed: 12/14/2004
  • Slug name: commoncomic
  • Info page archive

For the record, here’s the screenshot of the notice from Yahoo about the Groups ending.

Announcement: End of Yahoo Groups
We’re shutting down the Yahoo Groups website on December 15, 2020 and members will no longer be able to send or receive emails from Yahoo Groups. Yahoo Mail features will continue to function as expected and there will be no changes to your Yahoo Mail account, emails, photos or other inbox content. There will also be no changes to other Yahoo properties or services. You can find more information about the Yahoo Groups shutdown and alternative service options on this help page.

Did you ever use Yahoo! Groups?

Which groups were you in? Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear your memories.

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James
James
6 months ago

Ah, memories. You might appreciate this related story. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/99-invisible/id394775318?i=1000497113925

Astrolabe
6 months ago

what was the last active post

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