Users mourn Yahoo's Delicious bookmark service in advance (update: perhaps unnecessarily)
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, 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.
| December 17, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Categories: Search, The Web
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