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Yahoo Doomed del.icio.us

Of all the executives jumping off the good ship Yahoo, del.icio.us founder Joshua Schachter’s departure should be among the least surprising.

When Yahoo acquired del.icio.us in 2005, del.icio.us was red-hot. It was the bookmarking service on the Web – popular, valuable, useful and cool. Then, Yahoo came along – a move that Schachter believed would bring “new features and more servers in the future”.

Sadly, del.icio.us went from the belle of the ball to the girl who stands in the corner waiting for something to ask her to dance.

Rather than encourage/allow del.icio.us to innovate, Yahoo ignored it or discouraged it from moving forward. The silver lining is by doing nothing with del.icio.us, Yahoo didn’t destroy it.

In the 2+ years that Yahoo has owned del.icio.us, the amount of innovation and new features introduced as been, at best, minimal. Sure, there have been some rumblings about a super-duper beta being developed but after months of waiting, nothing has happened.

Like many of Yahoo’s acquisitions, del.icio.us has wilted on the vine. Sure, it’s still popular but it could have been and should be so much more. It’s my belief, for example, that del.icio.us could easily become a vibrant search engine given there’s so much data that has been selected and tagged.

In a comment left on TechCrunch, Schachter leaves no doubt he was disappointed by Yahoo’s treatment of del.icio.us:

“I was largely sidelined by the decisions of my management. So that was mostly the result rather than the cause, if that makes sense. It was an incredibly frustrating experience and I wish I was a lot more like Stewart [Butterfield] in terms of pushing my point of view.”

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  • Ian

    I might be in the minority here (It would be nice to see some figures), but del.icio.us is still cool, and useful. I still use it every day. It could use a few new features but I think people who still use it like it for its simplicity. Maybe these folks might not wish to have it crapped up with a lot of business-driven changes. IMO there’s an irritating trend of making things cuter rather than better these days *cough cough Mozilla*

  • http://www.markevanstech.com Mark Evans

    Ian,

    You’re right. I guess the upside is that by leaving del.icio.us alone, Yahoo didn’t destroy it. My point is that Yahoo could have used its resources and reach to make del.icio.us even better, or even roll out a side project (e.g. del.icio.us search).

    Mark

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  • JoeMunc

    It seems that some times the user community forgets the old addage “If it aint broke, don’t fix it”. What exactly was/is wrong with del.icio.us that it needs fixing in order to advance? Authors like this article’s too often offer the criticism without proposed solutions/improvements and definitely don’t account for the logistics required to make those changes. Another opinion piece that is nothing more than opinion. I wish I got paid for my opinion.

  • http://www.markevanstech.com Mark Evans

    Joe,

    Actually, I’ve been keen on the idea of del.icio.us evolving into a search engine in addition to being a great bookmarking service. It wouldn’t require a major shift in direction but perhaps a new/different UI or spin-off service.

    mark

  • http://www.givemeaning.com Tom Williams

    Mark,

    The responsibility has to be shared (at least in part) with the founders of Del.icio.us Could it be that they got lazy after their sale?

  • http://www.markevanstech.com Mark Evans

    @ Tom: Fair point. I guess Schachter will now have the freedom to talk about what happened…maybe.

  • http://kennethfinnegan.blogspot.com/ Kenneth Finnegan

    Not to mention: launch day for FF3, and no del.icio.us plugin to be seen… so it’s loosing features through code rot already.

  • http://www.andysnotebook.com Andy Davies

    Info on the FF3 extension is here: http://blog.delicious.com/blog/2008/06/delicious-bookmarks-for-firefox-3-signed-sealed-and-delivered.html

    I find the “supa-dupa beta” a real disappointment…

    Andy

  • http://www.strategicmarketingmontreal.ca/otherbb/ Barry Welford

    @Andy Davies – thanks for that link. It looks useful, but why this difficult transition from the old extension (not compatible with FF3) and this which so far looks good. Why can’t more people be customer (user) – centric and make sure we enjoy the experience.

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  • Sushant Srivastava

    Del.icio.us is still my favorite bookmarking service.
    It is clean and fun. This is the only ‘google’y feature Yahoo owns.

  • A. Yahoo

    You don’t know what you’re talking about. It was bad but it didn’t happen the way you think. Delicious was and is an active project and Yahoo was very interested in it. They thought they were going to get a billion dollars plus in improved search quality once Delicious data was flowing into Yahoo search.

    But that and the Del 2.0 project failed because of Yahoo incompetence and they may never be able to bring 2.0 out without starting over from scratch. Maybe Joshua will straighten you all out someday. It’s a really sad story.

  • http://www.markevanstech.com Mark Evans

    @ A.Yahoo:

    Thanks for the insight. At some point, it will be interesting to hear the inside story on what happened with Yahoo and del.icio.us. I think the Flickr story could be fascinating as well.

    Mark