Gone are the times when we religiously used the bookmarking function of our browser. Gone are the times when using a physical bookmark was a daily occurrence, and so common that we felt the need to decorate them. It’s all about social bookmarking now, and it has been ever since we’ve started accessing the internet on a multitude of devices.
Delicious is a social bookmarking service that started life in 2003 as del.icio.us. Founded by Joshua Schachter, who started working full time on the project in 2005, Delicious received almost $2 million in funding after its first two years. Yahoo acquired the platform only a few months later, and whilst the exact figure it paid for Delicious remains unknown, suggestions have been made that it could have been anywhere between $15 million and $30 million.
In 2008, the website was redesigned and rebranded. The URL del.icio.us was dropped in favour of delicious.com, and a redirect was set up on the old domain. At this time, more than 5 million people were using the service, and more than 180 million pages had been bookmarked on the website.
Sites bookmarked on Delicious are public, and it’s possible to access other users’ bookmarks by browsing through tags. Individual bookmarks can be set to private should the user decide to do so. New users can also import bookmarks from their browser in order to get started with the website quicker, and imported bookmarks are automatically private. The tags system makes it easier for users to find links they had bookmarked in the past, as well as to discover new content by exploring other people’s favourites.
In 2011, Avos Systems bought Delicious from Yahoo, although rumours of the acquisition spread early and prompted many users to migrate to rival sites in order to save their bookmarks. Throughout 2011 and 2012, Avos Systems rolled out a series of updates to Delicious, most notably the introduction of “stacks”, which allowed users to bring together related links and keep everything in one place. This was further developed by allowing users to work together in creating and maintaining the stacks, as well as subscribing to stacks for updates. Users could also reply to other people’s stacks by posting a new stack. The concept was dropped, however, and Delicious reverted back to tags in 2012. The change was due partly to feedback from users who believed the stacks system was too similar to rival website Pinterest.
Delicious is also trying to keep up with the rest of the social media world and to make its services more attractive to prospective users. In 2012, it introduced the option to connect Twitter profiles to Delicious, which resulted in all links shared on a user’s Twitter timeline being automatically saved on their Delicious account. In March 2013, it further emphasised its commitment to becoming more social by allowing users to log in to Delicious with their Facebook or Twitter accounts. With social bookmarking becoming more and more competitive, it will be interesting to see what Delicious has to offer in the future.