Friday, December 17, 2010

Goodbye Delicious

One of the main drawbacks to using all the free tools and services on the net is the fact that at any time the owners can pull out the plug leaving you high and dry. That is just what is happening with the social bookmarking tool Delicious, as the owners, Yahoo, have decided suddenly to close it down. I have used Delicious for a couple of years now and have collected an awful lot of bookmarks there, all classified and tagged. I have also built up a very useful network of researchers and enthusiasts whose bookmarks I can follow thanks to RSS subscription. Now it's all being shut down because Yahoo don't seem interested in social bookmarking any more.

Social bookmarking has always been the ugly duckling of the social media scene and as a result is vulnerable to cuts. Since the users are mostly academics it isn't ever going to bring in lots of advertising revenue. I've suspected for a while that no-one was really trying to develop Delicous since I saw very few new features being introduced. Unlike many other social tools it was available only in plain vanilla flavour with few options for personalisation. However I'm convinced that social bookmarking is vital to researchers and business intelligence workers since it enables you to store enormous amounts of bookmarks, tag them for reference, access them from anywhere and share them with colleagues. On the other hand it's never going to make megabucks and is of very limited interest to advertisers.

In the world of free it's inevitable that services will come and go and we just have to accept it. But it is still frustrating to have put a lot of work into building up a collection only to see it closed down. Maybe the academic community or some other public body should try to adopt such important tools and run them as a public service instead of putting our trust in market forces.

The answer to the closure of Delicious is to transfer all bookmarks to the rival and admittedly more versatile Diigo (to see how to do this see Michael Wacker's easy instructions). I did this a few weeks ago just in case but I still have to do a lot of tweeking and adjusting to find the same functions in the new environment. I'm sure I'll find many new openings with Diigo but I'm also sure I'll lose some useful functions from Delicious.The question is how long Diigo will last and if it doesn't is there anyone out there willing to maintain this important service and guarantee continuity?

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