As Yahoo looks to its newly acquired Tumblr to keep the company relevant for a younger generation, Internet Life serves as reminder of what the Yahoo brand once was: a sleek, sexy, and even edgy vision of the future and a cultural touchstone of the dot com generation.
Published by Ziff Davis, the company licensed the Yahoo name in 1995 to capture some of the web portal's explosive popularity and commissioned work from prominent names like Roger Ebert, who had a regular column in the publication. The formula worked and in its heyday the magazine enjoyed a circulation of over 1.1 million before lackluster ad revenues caused it to shutter in 2002.
While the magazine reads like a time capsule from the dot com era, with its now-comical references to 'the net' and instructions on "how to play .MP3 music," it's a throwback to a time when Yahoo's cultural cachet was a lot like Tumblr's now — a cutting edge service that really felt like the future.
It dealt with some of the edgier issues that the internet still struggles with, like surveillance.
And some issues that've gone away for most, like agonizing download speeds...
...or the novelty of email.
It tried to be fashionable...
...even a little risqué...
...and "web entrepreneur" Monica Lewinsky was even on the cover.
It correctly predicted a few trends...
...and dropped some hard truths.
Charlie Warzel is a senior writer for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Warzel reports on and writes about the intersection of tech and culture.
Contact Charlie Warzel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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