So delicious (my favourite social bookmarking service) has been sold to YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steven Chen who say they want to build an
information discovery service and are porting bookmarks and networks over to AVOS.
That will help reduce the uncertainty around the service and should prevent the current exodus of users over to pinboard, but let’s look at areas delicious needs to improve if it is to meet Hurley & Chen’s goal.
Stop The Spam!
It is way too easy to buy your way to the popular page of delicious. Spend a few bucks on ebay or some of the blackhat forums and you’re there - and if you get popular at the right time of day, you end up with a ton of traffic.
This sort of vote-buying is a problem for every social bookmarking service but every one of delicous’s competitors is much more successful at stopping this kind of spam. Analysing voting patterns and weeding out those accounts which are only ever used for spam votes will be vital if the new owners want users to trust the service.
Integrate, Integrate, Integrate
Delicious already displays Flickr photos very nicely and allows MP3s to be played right from your page of bookmarks but if it is to compete with richer services like Diigo and EverNote it must work harder to integrate more rich media and content creation too. Here are some online entities that could benefit from a simple bookmarking service:
- Videos - especially sections of video
- Music playlists
- Shopping carts
Its current mechanism of sharing bookmarks with Twitter is clunky and feels like it has been tacked onto delcious’s network sharing (which it was). There is room for improvement to the user experience and benefit to adding many other sharing options like Facebook, Digg, Reddit etc.
The delicious Firefox extension is a fantastic piece of work, but sadly it doesn’t work with Firefox 4. Thankfully, Hurley and Chen have said that fixing that is their number one priority.
Google Chrome is well catered for, as is Internet Explorer but Safari users have to be content with the third party (but excellent) Delicious Safari. Surely AVOS could spare some cash to bring them into the fold?
The delicious API and RSS ecosystem has been used for a huge variety of purposes, from simple database CRUD to email newsletters to archiving your tweeted links. Easy access to your bookmarks has been a part of delicious since the early days and AVOS need to continue in that spirit.
I really hope that as the Grandaddy of social bookmarking services is molded into an information discovery engine that the API and RSS feeds grow alongside the rest of the site.
The Interest Graph is currently finding favour among deep-thinking tech bloggers and delicious is that data - that’s the short version of why AVOS bought it. If AVOS can bring itself to make that data public (ideally through linked data) it will really shake things up.
Open Up To Search Engines?
There have long been complaints about the fact that delicious has prevented search engines from indexing its data.
The fact that delicious is no use for influencing search engine rankings has contributed hugely to its success - I’ve argued that it is selfish, not social bookmarking previously. That is all changing as social signals become more integrated into the search engines’ algorithms.
I think AVOS will eventually allow search engines to crawl delicious data but that they’ll enter into individual agreements with Google/Bing, just like Twitter did.
There is a lot for delicious users to look forward to and I’m really happy that it has new owners that want to move the service forward. Hurley & Chen still have a very difficult task ahead of them but their success with YouTube shows that they are willing to forgo short-term revenue for a great user experience.
As to how they can build the world’s best
information discovery service, well I don’t really know what that looks like but I’ll be watching with interest.
Does news of the purchase mean you’ll stick with delicious? Leave a comment to let me know.