danny sullivan on bartz's retconning
Search was Yahoo’s origin story. To say Yahoo was never a search engine is like saying Superman wasn’t originally from Krypton or that Spider-Man was never bitten by a spider.
Yes, at first Yahoo’s search was powered by human editors, rather than machines. By 1999, the majority of search engines out there used human editors as the basis of their search. When machine-based search took over, Yahoo shifted along to that eventually, spending plenty for its own technology.