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Google or Microsoft Should Buy Delicious

Posted by Bob Warfield on December 17, 2010

What a circus Yahoo has become, and not in a good way.  As often as Arrington is over the top in his snarky posts, his latestYahoo is a Train Wreck and Should Sell Delicious to Google or Microsoft about Yahoo is so on the mark that I’m even going to use his train wreck picture here, just to emphasize his point about Yahoo being in total disarray one more time.  Yahoo being screwed up isn’t exactly news, so why bring it up again and beat the dead horse? 

Well, because this time it’s personal.  You see, I use Delicious a lot and Yahoo seems to vacilate between intending to kill it versus intending to sell it.  Delicious is my second most essential blog research and information learning “todo” list.   The first is probably Google Reader, where I subscribe to nearly 200 feeds, but Delicious in many was is just as important and harder for me to replace.  You see, I do tons of research on the Internet when I get interested in a topic.  A lot of it doesn’t come to me in my RSS feeds, it comes through search, links others share, Twitter, and all the rest.  THOSE links are the ones I put into Delicious along with tags and notes to myself about why the link was interesting.

Delicisous has become my information archive for Samuel Johnson’s second kind of knowledge:

Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.

That second kind is pretty handy, and getting handier all the time as I get older.

So what’s the poor Delicious community to do?  First, Yahoo’s handling of it has been ridiculous.  Announce you’re sunsetting it without any real PR plan.  Apparently lose the team in the process.  And then come back and announce, “Oh by the way, we’re not killing it, we’re selling it.”  Whichever Yahoo exec failed to choreograph a better set of messages than that needs to be fired.  Today.  Seriously.  That’s ridiculous handling of the event and the asset.

As for selling it, I’m all for it, but there are only a few candidates available who make any sense as buyers.  Delicious has a fair amount of traffic, I’m sure.  2 guys with a credit card, time on their hands, and access to the Amazon Cloud probably can’t afford to keep it running and stable long enough to monetize it.  We need a white knight that is a real playa to step up.

Why should they do that if Yahoo couldn’t make a go of it?

Well take a look at Delicious and ask yourself how you’d make a go of it.  Here’s a web site where people tell you what web pages they like, and they do so proactively.  They do so because they obviously expect to like those things for long enough that they may refer back to them.  Here’s a site that has tool bars that reach out into many different web browsers and cover a lot of territory.  Here’s a site that helps others vector on to lists of links made by people with similar tastes. 

Now Google has managed to make a riculously almost sinfully successful business out of simply understanding what people are searching for.  A search is much more spur of the moment and requires a lot less investment than creating a bunch of bookmarks in Delicious.  We don’t get to follow up and see which searchs are traversed a second time very easily, an indication of even more interest.  We don’t get to see people running down lists created by others with similar interests. 

Are you seriously telling me there is no way to monetize this thing with advertising?  If so, you’re just not doing it right.  As I look at my Delicious page, I see not one single ad or other attempt at monetization.  That’s pathetic, Yahoo.  The medium is perfect for advertising and you aren’t even trying to make a dime off it before giving up.

That leads me to Google or Microsoft.  Both have excellent search technologies.  Both could monetize Delicious very quickly, Google probably even moreso than Microsoft.  I have often wished that Delicious was integrated with my Google Reader.  Heck, I’d like it even better if it integrated with Google Reader and G-Mail.  Can you imagine being able to privately tag web pages, RSS feed items, and email messages? 

That would be a very cool thing!

Think about what wonderful stickiness that would create too, Google.  I know you gotta love that, although as I see these services come and go stickiness worries me more and more.  Google and Microsoft, you know you could monetize this sucker, and you know Yahoo is in no position to dictate terms.  Come on.  Step up.  And Yahoo, get on with your train wreck, but sell this jewel off to a good home and don’t be too proud about how much you want for it lest you manage to squander your chance to sell and wreck the train further.

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Mathew Ingram rants about focus being a good thing for Yahoo.  But focus on the wrong things, an inability to execute even the most basic communication strategy about these decisions, and the apparent lack of coherent strategy for what to focus on that leads to real value will continue to kill the company just as surely as a lack of focus. 

One Response to “Google or Microsoft Should Buy Delicious”

  1. kalsing said

    I’m not convinced monetizing Delicious is that straightforward. Similar to challenges with monetizing on RSS feeds, the users of Delicious are not your typical “ad clicker.” But no doubt it’s a great product that deserves a better destiny.

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