Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Something doesn't taste quite right at Delicious

First, a little history lesson.  The Social Bookmarking giant Delicious has been around in some form or another since 2003.  Originally, Joshua Schachter of memepool fame created a personal linkblog called Muxway.  This site quickly grew into what became del.icio.us in 2003.  By 2005 Schacter was working on the project full time and by the end of that year had sold out to Yahoo for an undisclosed sum (although according to Business 2.0 that sum was upwards of $30 million with Schacter netting about half that).  OK, all well and good.  Bravo for Joshua!
For some years, Delicious continued to function in much the same manner that it had since it's inception.  You were able to share your bookmarks with the world and have anytime/anywhere acesss to your favorite links.  No fear of a hard drive crash wiping out years of research, no worries about being able to find a link away from the office and best of all you could now easily share relevant information with colleagues.  With Yahoo being the backbone of the new Delicious things continued to get better as features became more robust.  I have been a Delicious user for some time and particularly in the last few years.  In fact, whenever I see someone using browser bookmarks I have fully encouraged them to use Delicious.  That is, until the last few months.
What has changed you asked.  Well as with most things in the Web 2.0 universe, eventually even free has a price.  Much to my amazement, a few months ago I was helping someone sign up for a Delicious account when Yahoo reared it's somewhat ugly head and asked for your username and password.  Say what?!  Since when did you need a Yahoo account to sign up for Delicious?  Well, it had to happen eventually.  Now when I suggest Delicious as an alternative to static bookmarking, I have to use the caveat that you must also sign up for a Yahoo account.  And while a Yahoo account is free (and I have a few myself) this deters a number of people from signing up to use the social bookmarking service and that's a shame.
If you already had a delcious account, fear not dear reader you are grandfathered in and all your old links are still there. Just sign in the way you always have in the past.
So why am I blogging about this?  Who cares? You ask. The cynic in me is questioning Yahoo's motives for this move.  How long will it be before our precious research and links are held hostage by a change in the Yahoo TOS (Terms of Service).  Will there be a fee?  Will we eventually have to have a Yahoo account to get our information.  Will they pull a "Facebook" and make all our private information public?  Who knows?  But you should care!
So what is a social bookmarker to do? Well, I would start looking for another resource to backup my Delicious information (Diigo, Blogmarks.net or Faves).  Better yet why not upload to all your Social bookmarking locations at once using something like SocialMarker? That way all your links have been cross-referenced and saved across cyberspace.
While Yahoo has left a bad taste in my mouth, I don't plan to stop using or encouraging the use of Delicious, however I will have a backup plan if Delicious decides to try and start using me!
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