Revisiting Delicious

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Five years ago I worked on the launch of Yahoo! MyWeb, which was a social bookmarking service (it was moved into Yahoo! Bookmarks a a couple of years ago). MyWeb failed to go mainstream partly because it was a difficult concept for consumers to get their head around, God knows we tried.

By contrast, Delicious has been a success. It was never aimed at the mainstream, it never tried to over-extend itself in terms of its feature-set and has a brutally simple user experience.

Some five years later, many of Yahoo!‘s core constituent audience don’t really need a social bookmarking service because they are too business playing Farmville on Facebook to get out explore and remember. So where does that leave Delicious?

Well about the only numbers that Google Adplanner and can agree on is that the site has over 500,000 unique users. Delicious seems to have hung on to its early-adopter audience; well that is what seems to be the case when you look at the audience interests that Google Adplanner:

  • Venture capital
  • Search Engine Optimization & Marketing
  • Writers resources
  • Public relations
  • Development tools
  • Graphic design
  • Home office
  • Web design & development
  • Content management
  • Advertising & Marketing

Also when you look at related sites, they are social bookmarking sites with only a tenth of the traffic that Delicious has. So Delicious sounds like it is holding its own and is a very targeted audience, but there is a big question about how this fits within Yahoo!’s portfolio:

  • It no longer has the excuse of keeping Delicious to help improve its search technology since that now comes from Microsoft
  • It certainly doesn’t fit into Yahoo!’s tech-backward, low income, late-boomer core audience
  • Whilst Delicious is a fantastically useful product, the ‘heat’ or buzz in the tech sector has moved on to mobile, social gaming and micro-blogs