If you use either or both of these services, you’ve all probably wondered why they are called that. Don’t the names just seem kind of random? Or at least that “they” could have come up with something better? Someone just sent me the a one-liner about Yahoo! and just went online to find out the whole story about both. It’s actually interesting.
Yahoo!: The web site started out as “Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web” but then became Yahoo! which is an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle”. The creators insist they selected the name because they liked the general definition of a yahoo, as in Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift: “rude, unsophisticated, uncouth.” (I still don’t believe them, they’re just trying to mask their nerdiness under fake literary pretenses)
Hotmail: Hotmail was commercially launched on July 4th, 1996, Independence Day of the USA, symbolically representing freedom from ISPs. When the creators came up with the business plan for the mail service, they tried all kinds of names ending in ‘mail’ and finally settled for hotmail as it included the letters “HTML” – the markup language used to write web pages. It was initially referred to as HoTMaiL with selective upper casing. (but the “selective upper casing” was dropped because it looked “selectively” (un)educated).