Chill About Delicious Already





I really don’t get all the outrage about Yahoo shuttering or maybe, in a show of how to be swayed by the sound of nerds crying, selling bookmarking site Delicious.  Anyone who is surprised by this development hasn’t been paying much attention- or using much Delicious.

Delicious  was marginally robust back in 2005 when Yahoo bought it.  If it has improved in any meaningful way in the 5 years since, I certainly can’t tell.  Evolving technology is a fast moving process.  Let anything sit dormant for half a decade and it’s already dead.  Taking it offline is just the funeral.

I also don’t buy the argument that bazillions of people still heavily rely on Delicious.  I tried to use it as my primary bookmarking app, but the fact that I had to manually make every bookmark private was a buzz and deal killer for me.  So while I’m sure a lot of people have accounts, I question how active they are.    I still have a Delicious account.  I also still have an AOL account.  I use them about the same amount- almost never.

Not only is Delicious dated, both in look and in features, but there are a million better alternatives to store and share bookmarks.  I use the built-in synching in Chrome for most bookmarks and Google Reader for the few I want to share.

So, yes, Yahoo is a mess.  If you want to skip the crying over spilled links and really understand why, here’s the place to start (as an aside, I consider that post validation of my myth of the endless advertising dollar sermon that I gave for years until I grew bored with the whole internet non-business plan fiasco).

Would I care if Yahoo disappeared tomorrow?  Maybe a little.  Competition is good, and so to the extent I still believe (only a little) that Yahoo is competition for Google, I want it to stick around.  I also think My Yahoo is the best personal news portal option- much better than iGoogle.  But I would only morn the loss for an hour or so.

Yahoo Pipes is the most impressive Yahoo technology, but no one, probably not even Yahoo, remembers that it isn’t already in the Deadpool.

Flickr is the only Yahoo service I rely on heavily.  Google should seize this opportunity to put another nail in Yahoo’s coffin by fixing Picasa.  I doubt it will, though, because Google is busy on a lot of other stuff (hopefully including sending me a Cr48).

At the end of the post, I hope Yahoo can make it, but if it doesn’t, all that means for most of us is a couple of hours moving our photos somewhere else.

But no matter what, the loss of Delicious is not a blow to the internet.  Not even a small one.

6 thoughts on “Chill About Delicious Already

  1. Kent, two comments: first, it was precisely Delicious who taught us not to care too much about the privacy of our precious bookmarks: put them out there, nobody really cares. Flickr (and later Facebook) would capitalize on this attitude – as I type this, I can see your family and vacation photos alongside this post.

    Second, I agree that the bookmark service is not particularly useful nowadays, but I see people reacting to the news with more than nostalgia (this is definitely not some forgotten service like Geocities; a lot of people have something current and real stored there), but when Delicious shuts down, the aggregate tag clouds, the added value from the social aspect of the service will be lost; that can’t be backed up by storing your own bookmarks.

    And a third point (insert Spanish Inquisition joke here): I think we all fear that this may be a harbinger to what might happen to Flickr. If Flickrs shuts down, or is left to languish for five years before being sold, this would indeed be a huge blow to the internet. I recommend Thomas Hawk’s impassioned plea to Yahoo for the future of the service:

  2. I get that Delicious was a trailblazer, leading us to embrace the web as our data archive. What gets me is the way Yahoo bought it and then ignored it for years. I wonder what it would look like if Yahoo had nurtured it.

    I think the main problem is that these free Web 2.0 apps don’t fit all that nicely with where Yahoo (probably incorrectly) thought the money was. At least some people (including me) pay for a premium Flickr account.

    No doubt there is a lot of history and data within Delicicious, both individually and trends. I don’t know if and how the trend data is used now, but I agree that it would be good- if not critical- to preserve it. Having said that, other than a couple of tags I use for upcoming articles, there is nothing of mine in Delicious that I would try to export/preserve.

    I agree about the harbinger concern. It seems like much of the free Web 2.0 stuff is starting to disappear. I think that was inevitable, but I’m sorry to see it happen. I wonder how many of the services I covered in my Web 2.0 Wars series are open and active.

    I find now that most of the online stuff I really depend on (Flickr; Evernote; Dropbox; Vimeo, etc.) are paid services (at least for the sort of accounts I need to use them the way I want to). The exception is Google, who is still operating and trying to defend the ad-based online economy.

    I liked Thomas’s letter and it boggles my mind that she made that much money. The question to me is not whether Carol can save Yahoo, it’s whether anyone can. At the end of the day, Yahoo or the parts thereof will be owned by another company. I just wish Google could somehow acquire Flickr and install it in place of the feature-void Picasa.

  3. TL;DR: “Never used delicious much, tried to use it by making all my social bookmarks private, don’t know why anyone else cares after I didn’t get it.”

    That said, I pretty much agree with the rest. Delicious stagnated, Yahoo! is a mess. But, believe it or not there are some still-dedicated users – especially in affinity groups highly involved in research and curation (eg. educators, reporters, even fan fiction writers)

    Chrome (and Firefox! :D) gets you sync, Google Reader gets you sharing, but neither gets you everything Delicious does. Personally, I’ve found tags really useful for finding my own stuff and others’ in archives with much more longevity than semi-real-time sharing

    But, there are a few usable open source work-a-likes out there, and I’m guessing that a slew of weekend-built clones will start showing up on github. Delicious might be going down the tubes, but there should be no shortage of alternatives for determined groups

    Oh, but re: Flickr? It might be paid, but I don’t think it’s paid enough. Better make sure you have backups.

  4. I should have written more detail about that. It seems to me that in order to draw the most traffic, these sites should cater to those who want to share, and those, like me, who just want a central place to store, organize and access data. Allowing all new bookmarks to be private by default was probably one line of code. I like the way Flickr does it- you can set the default for new photos to any level of privacy. When that never happened, it made me think that no one at Yahoo was paying attention.

    I agree about tags.

    Also agree about Flickr. My photos online are just the ones I want to share. My primary archive has always been on my computer, backed up by WHS.

    Another excellent (though small) Yahoo technology I forgot to mention is the excellent Yahoo Music Player, which I use here and is used on many music-related blogs.

    I hope Yahoo makes it. More than that I hope the good parts of Yahoo find a permanent home. With Google shuttering stuff, and now all of this, it doesn’t give one a ton of confidence in the permanence of some of these web apps- outside of the core Google apps that will serve Chrome, etc.

  5. Public-by-default on Delicious is an intentional design decision, not neglect by Yahoo!. That’s pretty much the entire point of Delicious in terms of policy and value

    The point of Delicious wasn’t to draw traffic for the sake of. There were never really ads on the site, except for some experiments on public tag pages, so page views weren’t monetized as such.

    The point of Delicious was to draw public bookmarks – tagged public bookmarks, in particular. Flickr is much more social than Delicious, whereas Delicious is really just about making it worth your while to be a human web spider. Encouraging a lot of private data kind of dampens the value exchange there.

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