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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 12/17/2010

Users mourn Yahoo's Delicious bookmark service in advance (update: perhaps unnecessarily)

By Rob Pegoraro

This is bitter news to many socially-minded Web users: Yahoo will apparently close its Delicious bookmark-sharing service.

TechCrunch's Alexia Tsotsis and AllThingsD's Liz Gannes separately reported yesterday that Yahoo plans to shutter the site as part of a consolidation of its Web properties. Their and other stories quote vague statements from Yahoo publicists that conspicuously omit any assurances about Delicious's fate.

delicious_home_page.png

Delicious, if you haven't used it lately, is a site that allows you to tag Web pages for your future reference, then share them with other users. Launched in 2003 at the cutesy, typo-prone del.icio.us domain name and then bought by Yahoo in 2005, it can take the place of a browser's bookmarks list, but it can also serve as your entire Web memory.

Users facing the loss of this resource are understandably grief-stricken. See, for example, the emotional farewell ReadWriteWeb's Marshall Kirkpatrick wrote; it's a better testimony to Delicious' usefulness than anything I can remember coming out of Yahoo.

There's also a "#savedelicious" campaign on Twitter. Other Delicious users just want to find a substitute service. At Lifehacker, Kevin Purdy evaluates a few Delicious-export options and recommends Pinboard as the best overall; Search Engine Land's Matt McGee compares 10 alternatives.

(There seems to be far less longing for the other, lesser-known Web properties Yahoo has apparently targeted for closure, such as its Yahoo Buzz news site. I can't be the only person thinking "Yahoo still runs AltaVista?" But, indeed, that long-irrelevant search engine continues to waste server space and bandwidth.)

But in the middle of all this commentary, one thing doesn't quite make sense. If the Delicious diaspora really encompasses that many people, shouldn't even Yahoo be able to make money off that level of user interest?

Then again, this is Yahoo. Outside of AOL, it's hard to think of a tech company that has vaporized more value than this beleaguered Sunnyvale, Calif., firm.

To cite one widely-quoted comment on Twitter: "The easiest way to shut down Wikileaks would be to have Yahoo! acquire it."

As one result, users of Yahoo's Flickr photo-sharing service seem a little nervous lately. Sure, Flickr is a great site with an enormous and active user base that represents one of the best alternatives to Facebook and Google's Picasa for photo sharing. But it's also been neglected by Yahoo's management--see this furious open letter to Yahoo chief executive Carol Bartz by Flickr user Thomas Hawk. Can you be sure that the site won't wind up with least-favored status on Yahoo's org chart?

Delicious and Flickr users, here's your chance to sound off. If you share bookmarks on the former service, what do you do next if the stories pan out? If you post photos on the latter, how confident are you in its continued operation?

Update, 1:50 p.m. The Delicious blog--which had not featured an update since last week--now has a post titled "What's Next for Delicious?" Here's the key paragraph from this non-bylined post:

No, we are not shutting down Delicious. While we have determined that there is not a strategic fit at Yahoo!, we believe there is a ideal home for Delicious outside of the company where it can be resourced to the level where it can be competitive.

By Rob Pegoraro  | December 17, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Search, The Web  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Games meet real life
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Comments

I use Flickr as my photo backup service. Loss of Flickr would be devastating (even if they refunded my Pro account...unlikely).

I've never used Delicious, but it seems like that would be something a competent company could make money from, somehow.

Posted by: pjgeraghty | December 17, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Oh, so now I know what that del.icio.us hyperlink I would see now and then was for... Pity.

Posted by: ozpunk | December 17, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Facebook should buy it.

Posted by: Cordelia0704 | December 17, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Might be nice to keep Delicious around since Diigo, one of the best alternatives others have found, seems swamped by people trying to import their bookmarks. I'm at 10 hours and holding.

Posted by: BDVienna | December 17, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

People looking to switch bookmarking services should consider Symbaloo, a visual bookmarking site with over 500k users worldwide. See more here: http://bit.ly/i2ecgJ

Posted by: DanielaB | December 17, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Having previously been shafted by Yahoo! by their purchasing and soon killing the MusicMatch service that I actually liked and used heavily (and which Rob has often disparaged), even the mention of Flickr fears immediately sent me into a panic.

Within 30 minutes of reading this, I had discovered that Flickr does not provide ANY means of bulk download of your pictures in original format, but there was a nice third party program called Bulkr that was available (and I immediately upgraded to pro version).

About 4 hours later, all of my Photostream pictures were on my external drive and my panic eased a bit.

I thought "the cloud" was supposed to relieve us of this kind of stress.

Posted by: Annorax | December 19, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Even though delicious may live on, the future is still shaky. Because of this, I have exported all of my bookmarks and have imported them into http://ocell.us as they are promising to be around for a very long time.

Posted by: theporscheguys | December 21, 2010 1:37 AM | Report abuse

One solution I recommend you try is the company I work for, YourVersion. http://yourversion.com. YourVersion is a free real-time discovery engine that lets you discover, bookmark, and share web content (news, blogs, webpages, tweets, and videos) tailored to your specific interests.

Making the switch from Delicious is easy. You can easily and instantly import your Delicious bookmarks and tags on the YourVersion site. The import process maintains your public/private settings for each bookmark. And, just like with Delicious, you can bookmark pages directly through the YourVersion website or by using our Firefox toolbar, Chrome extension, Safari extension, or bookmarklet for any browser.

It also provides a topic-based discovery engine which delivers you the latest, relevant content tailored to your specific interests. We also offer free mobile apps (iPad, iPhone and Android) so you can take YourVersion with you on the go. YourVersion offers a seamless, free transition from Delicious. Check it out at http://yourversion.com to discover your version of the web.

Posted by: sfidel123 | December 21, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

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