Is Delicious aiming to become the next Twitter?


The bookmarking service Delicious has had an interesting life. It was one of the first social services available, later bought by Yahoo and almost canceled, then being sold to Avos about a month ago. Avos was founded by the same people who've created YouTube (Chad Hurley and Steve Chen), and these guys obviously know what they're doing. A few days after acquiring Delicious, Avos also bought a social media analytics startup Tap11, and here's what they had to say about it:

"Our vision is to create the world's best platform for users to save, share, and discover new content. With the acquisition of Tap11, we will be able to provide consumer and enterprise users with powerful tools to publish and analyze their links’ impact in real-time."

While some bloggers think Avos will start competing against Google and by analyzing social data, I can imagine a different strategy may be plotting. Let me explain.

Delicious was always ahead of its time, but did not really make it to broad mainstream. It allows online bookmarks, which you can tag, bundle and keep in a library for later use. It knows asymmetric relationships, so you can check out bookmarks by the people you follow. The bookmarking engine is really powerful, but something was missing. Delicious' biggest problem is its social layer - too weak and of secondary importance. In the mean time, other services such as Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon took their place on the web and added communities and different types of recommendation to link sharing. And of course, there's Twitter, the current ruler of content and real-time.

Actually, Twitter is slowly becoming a content sharing platform rather than a microblogging platform (I guess microblogging should involve content creation, not sharing). But while your links may bring you audience, they are not categorized and useful to you. Still, most people use Twitter that way, and even authority-measuring services such as PeerIndex and Klout encourage you to share links, because that's what Twitter is all about and that's what will make you influential.

I'm not saying Twitter is not useful, it is very much useful. But imagine having a solid bookmarking platform, very useful for the person who uses it (save). Add a generic social layer of friends and followers, a few comments, perhaps something similar to what YouTube has (share). Now add a hard core mathematical layer which is able to calculate what you'll like based on what you already liked (discover). What you get is something that could be very special, something that could compete even with Twitter. And it could be happening right now in Avos' laboratories.

One guy said that the age social sharing is coming to an end. I think not, there's loads of information thirsty people surfing the web. What's really missing is a new innovative and powerful platform, something useful in many different ways, for keeping, dispatching and receiving new, personalized content. Delicious 2.0?

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written 26.5.2011 18:03 CET on chronolog
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