I’m finding it interesting to watch the reaction to the news that Delicious is going to be shut-down by Yahoo (reported by Techcrunch here). There was an initial expression of disbelief that a tool that was pretty much universally accepted as being well-liked and valued was being abandoned with no clear understanding of why that should be. And within a short period of time there were petitions such as this one.
I saw a few comments on twitter along the lines of, that was the risk with social media-type tools, that they couldn’t be relied on. But I’m not convinced that that’s a feature that is necessarily just the case with social media tools. Any commercial company (and Yahoo falls into that category anyway – even if users haven’t generally paid for delicious) could make the decision to pull a product. While you might have a contractural arrangement with them, you could be left high and dry if they went out of business, for example.
But what has happened during the day was that people started to find alternatives, diigo for example. And there’s an excellent list on Phil Bradley’s blog to start you off. Delicious is still running, so there’s time to export your bookmarks to any of a number of alternatives. There are also the reference management tools such as Zotero that could be considered. We’re going to look at the alternatives for our tag cloud and list of tools on our website, and also have the options to go for static lists or even RSS feeds from blog posts.
But, what struck me about the story of delicious was two things. Firstly, you can’t rely entirely on these tools being persistent – fashions and business models (and the recession) can strike. So you need a backup plan. Secondly, web 2.0 actually has the plan – as Phil’s blog points out – he’s found 28 alternatives – maybe none of them are an exact match – but amongst the list there’s bound to be something that does what you want. You can export your bookmarks and move on to the next thing. Sort of an interesting case study really.
Well, apparently Delicious isn’t closing according to their blog. But is looking for an ‘ideal home for Delicious outside of the company’. Hope they find something.