Back in 1996, Yahooligans was the coolest place for kids to be online. My oldest daughter absolutely loved it. The site, powered by Yahoo and full of carefully-selected content for kids, provided everything she could possibly want. There were games, jokes, chat rooms, sports, news (mostly about celebrities and things of that nature) and much more. She even loved doing the daily quizzes. One time, she sent a letter to “Ask Earl” that was actually answered on the site! This feature was sort of like the old Dear Abby column found in newspapers across the country. Kids could send in any type of question that they were struggling with, and “Earl” would answer one each day.
Some of the things you could find on the website included categories such as:
- Sports – trivia, news of the day, and top stories.
- Messenger – Yahooligans Messenger was similar to the regular Yahoo Messenger, allowing kids to send texts to friends or voice chat.
- Shout Out! – This was the weekly survey that kids could take and then watch for the results of to see where their own answers fit in.
- Games – There were a TON of cool options here, including board games, word games, card games and lots more!
- News – This included everything from celebrity gossip to weather to newspapers, and what was new in the technology and science world.
Just underneath the main topic links, there was a search engine where kids could find anything they needed on the site quickly, or be able to search for things such as software, help with homework, screensavers, music and video games. Again, everything was hand-selected by Yahoo staff, to ensure that all results were always kid-appropriate. To me, this was a pretty huge deal. I am still not sure that the switch to AI these days is better than having actual people looking for things to be sure they are safe for kids to see and use.
The name changed from Yahooligans to Yahoo Kids in 2006. By then, my youngest daughter was using it. She spent most of her time chatting with her friends about boys and cheerleading, and finding cheer competition videos to watch. I’m sure she checked on her celebrity crushes to see what they were doing and possibly even – hopefully! – used it to help her with homework when Mom was working.
The site over the years was invaluable. It provided everything kids could possibly need in a safe and controlled environment. When it launched – and for many years after that – it was the only one of its kind. Sadly, Yahoo shuttered it completely in 2013 without any warning, goodbyes or fanfare. There was just too much competition on the Internet and mobile apps to justify keeping it running. At the time, CEO Marissa Mayer stated that she had decided to close nearly 70 of the then-current Yahoo properties in order to “focus more on mobile applications.”
Yahooligans brings back a lot of memories for anyone who was a kid during its heyday. You can find threads talking about it over on Reddit and in many other places. One user had noted that “Man… Yahooligans WAS my childhood. I was a latchkey kid, so when I got home from school, I made a snack and spent all my time on that website.”
Were YOU a Yahooligan? What was your favorite part of the site? What’s your favorite memory? Share it with us in the comments.
As always, happy surfing!