I’ve been a long time user of delicious.com, back from when it was had the hard-to-remember address of del.icio.us. Even though bookmark syncing is built into both Firefox and Chrome having your bookmarks available on a website that you can access from anywhere, and integrated into your browser using an extension is a big advantage for me.
Recently the was some cause for concern as Yahoo decided they wanted to offload the site. As it had been a Yahoo property for a long time anyone taking it on would have a big job just to extricate it from Yahoo’s infrastructure. AVOS, a new venture from the founders of YouTube took the plunge.
Several months on and the site suddenly relaunched. Superficially it looks very similar, but with a slight Web 2.0 sheen to it. The transition seems to have been handled very well given the scale of the rewrite that was required. Aside from a smattering of bugs which have been quickly squashed the biggest issue seems to have been with the people who ignored the warnings and didn’t agree to allow Yahoo to send AVOS their details.
The biggest change is the addition of stacks. These are curated sets of links on a single topic. While the old Delicious showed popular links on the frontpage the new site shows featured stacks. As you can associate an image with a stack this gives the frontpage a much more visual look. The old website was undeniably plain and the images really brighten it up.
Like many people when the Delicious troubles surfaced I immediately looked for an alternative. The most obvious choice is Google Bookmarks. Very quickly they produced a tool that imported your bookmark from Delicious making any potential switch very easy.
Should you make the switch though?
I’m glad I held off as the only advantage Google has is the closer integration with Chrome. The site is just a big list of sites with none of the social features present in Delicious. While Bookmarks might be suitable for just keeping a small list of links, Delicious’ better organization tools and style really help to manage a big list.
My biggest concern with the new site is the same as my concern with the old one. The business model, or rather, lack of. Delicious has never displayed adverts, never had any premium features and in fact has never had a way to make money (that I know of at least). Do the new owners have plan to make it profitable? I hope so, but it’s hard to imagine what feature you could add that would make people pay and taking features away is likely to create a huge backlash.
In short I’m delighted to see Delicious rise from the troubles that it faced looking stronger and better than ever.