Yahoo Plans to Kill Off Delicious Bookmarking Service

According to a leaked photo, Yahoo plans to close a number of services, including Yahoo Buzz, MyBlogLog and Delicious, the popular bookmarking site.

Most of the closing services are Yahoo projects that simply never went anywhere, but Delicious, which Yahoo acquired in 2005, was once the king of bookmarks and helped popularize many of the key elements of today’s social web.

Delicious (Del.icio.us in its original incarnation) popularized tags as a more flexible alternative to folders, introduced us to the idea of following other users and helped kick off the “share it with the world” trend that created today’s social websites like Twitter and Facebook.

Under Yahoo’s leadership Delicious ceased to be innovative. Delicious remains a useful service, but it hasn’t really improved on its original features in almost half a decade.

It’s unclear what will happen to Delicious. So far Yahoo hasn’t made any official announcement, nor has the company given any hint of when or how Delicious will head into the sunset, but one thing is for sure: the web will be poorer without it.

Fortunately for Delicious users its impending demise doesn’t mean your bookmarks will disappear forever. It’s actually quite easy to export your bookmarks, and there are dozens of services that can import them and replace Delicious in your workflow.

I’ve been a heavy Delicious user ever since the demise of its competitor Ma.gnolia. I bookmarked sites, scraped the API and stored the bookmarks on my own server (you can find the details of those scripts in our Django tutorial). I also relied on feeds from other people to find news, links and other tidbits for Webmonkey.

The first part of that workflow is easy to replace. I signed up for Pinboard.in, which lacks some of Delicious’ sharing features, but offers a mirror of the Delicious API. I imported my Delicious bookmarks into Pinboard, changed the root url in my scripts and effectively replaced Delicious in less than 10 minutes. If you don’t want to pay for Pinboard, Zootool, StumbleUpon and other services also make fine Delicious replacements.

But Delicious isn’t just a bookmarking service, it’s a fantastic resource for finding links, stories and the latest news about nearly anything that interested you. Its popularity make its reach extensive. You can easily tap into the minds of friends, colleagues and strangers to see what they’re reading on the web. The concept of tags makes it easy to find links related to any topic or combination of topics that interests you.

ReadWriteWeb’s Marshall Kirkpatrick likens the impending death of Delicious to “setting a museum on fire.” Where, asks Kirkpatrick, “are you going to find a reading list of the best collected written works and other multimedia about almost any given topic?”

Put simply: nowhere.

Twitter is a possibility. Delicious even used Twitter for some of its real-time search features. But Twitter isn’t dedicated to links the way Delicious is so you’ll have to put up with a lot more noise to find the same stories. Facebook may fill the gap for people. It’s also possible that Pinboard or another service will grow in the wake of Delicious’ collapse and come to offer a similar depth and breath of links.

Exactly what will happen to all those links currently stored on Delicious remains to be seen. It’s possible Yahoo may sell off Delicious, but in the absence of a statement from Yahoo, many users have already assumed the worst.

Hopefully Yahoo will at least keep the Delicious domain active, even if the service is not. Perhaps the Archive Team — which saved Geocities from death at the hands of Yahoo — can scrape and mirror Delicious.

For those that have only vaguely heard of Delicious and don’t see what the fuss is, just re-read the above replacing the word Delicious with the word Flickr or even Facebook. This is the template I’ll be using five years from now when Facebook meets the same fate.

See Also: