Yahoo closing Delicious? What next?

First of all, the fact that Yahoo is closing the social bookmarking site Delicious cements Yahoo’s reputation as having the uncanny ability to become completely irrelevant.  Let’s take a walk down memory lane.

Yahoo started as a human-edited directory of links to websites.  Back in the mid-90s, that was easy to keep up with.  There weren’t that many sites.  What started out as a free listing, then became paid-for-faster-inclusion, and finally became pay-for-inclusion.

Just as the proliferation of sites was making human editable directories cumbersome to both edit as well as use, search engines began to be developed.  First up was AltaVista, from DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation).  AltaVista was basically word matching to show how fast DEC’s new AltaVista chips were.  Everyone was impressed, but not as much with the chips as with the service.  DEC didn’t stray from its core purpose, and now AltaVista is part of Yahoo (also on the chopping block) and DEC was consumed by Compaq, which was then consumed by HP.  The same year Compaq bought DEC, a research project known as Google was launched.  To supplement its directory results (which you can still find at, Yahoo began serving search results from AltaVista, and later, Google.

The short history of the Internet is littered with stories of companies that “get it”, and companies that don’t/didn’t.  Yahoo has shown, time and again, it doesn’t “get it”.  Despite having a stable of awesome web properties (like Delicious and Flickr), Yahoo just can’t figure out what to do.  That’s kind of pathetic, really.  Think of it this way–Delicious was a human edited directory of websites.  Instead of single entries, a site could be submitted as many times by many people.  What more zeitgeist do you need?  These data are a gold mine of trend analysis.  No one wants Yahoo to reveal the specific user information, but few people would care if Yahoo said (or sold) the aggregate facts—1000 people linked to Site A in the 12 hours after a story about it was posted; over time, 350 people have visited the site more than once, and 50 repeatedly visit the site.  Like Pecos Bill used to day, there’s gold in them thar hills!

Well, too bad for us Delicious users.  So what’s next?  This falls in line with my belief that you, and you alone, need to be in control of your data.  I broke this rule with Delicious, and now I’m paying the price.  The export functionality does not produce well formed or valid XML, so the output will be difficult to work with.  In the end, I want to control my own data again, so I’m looking for a Delicious-style script or site to use.

One option is PressMark, an older WordPress-based bookmarking site you can host yourself (bonus if there is an Android client) or is a cheap fees.  Sabros and Scuttle are open-source pojects which claim to be similar to Delicious.  Akarru, GetBoo and Feed Me Links also make similar claims.  The website Diigo is sort of a combination of Delicious and Evernote.  I’m not sure which way I’m going yet, so drop me a line if you have experience in one of these products, or in such a similar situation.


Lifehacker has a couple more options listed at

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