Social bookmarking pioneer Delicious heads to the dead pool

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Delicious.com, once the internet’s top social bookmarking site, is shutting down later this month.

The announcement Thursday came from Maciej Ceglowski — owner and creator of Pinboard, a competing bookmarking service — who says he bought Delicious last month from its previous owner, Delicious Media. (Ceglowski’s announcement has a good, brief overview of Delicious’ troubled history and repeated ownership changes.)

Ceglowski says Delicious will go into read-only mode and stop accepting new bookmarks on June 15, but he plans to keep the site online after that date.

As for the ultimate fate of the site, I’ll have more to say about that soon. Delicious has over a billion bookmarks and is a fascinating piece of web history. Even Yahoo, for whom mismanagement is usually effortless, had to work hard to keep Delicious down. I bought it in part so it wouldn’t disappear from the web.

Delicious users will be able to convert their bookmarks to a Pinboard account ($11 per year) or wait until Ceglowski fixes the site’s export tool.

There was a time about 10 years ago when Delicious was one of the most important sites on the internet. In addition to being the primary way that many internet users saved and organized their favorite links, the del.icio.us home page also served a similar role as sites like Reddit, Digg and others. It presented the most recent and most popular URLs that users were saving, providing a snapshot of the hottest web content at any given moment. SEOs and social marketers actively sought to get theirs or their clients’ links bookmarked by enough people to hit the Delicious home page. But as Ceglowski points out in his announcement — and many others have pointed out over the years — Delicious’s long-term prospects were in jeopardy after Yahoo bought the site in late 2005.

Here’s a look at the Delicious home page in early 2006 via Archive.org.

Delicious’ home page, February 2006, via Archive.org. (click for larger version)




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