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The blogosphere has been driven into paroxysms following the suggestion from Yahoo! that popular bookmarking site del.icio.us is being shut down. Delicious meant a lot to people. Jennifer Wagner perhaps sums it up best when she writes, "Sure, I can wander over to new options... but I hate saying goodbye when something really is working for me - and for others." For Clint Lalonde, as for so many others, "Delicious is where I 'got it'." Or as ReadWriteWeb says, You were so beautiful to me.
Writing for Harvard Business Review, Alexandra Samuel is quick to remind us that "Yahoo! is well within its rights to shut down the delicious service" and that "the cost of running the Delicious servers alone must be mighty fierce." Fair enough. But even though people can save their bookmarks, "the far greater value - the value you've created by networking your knowledge with other users - remains in Yahoo!'s custody." And that (to me) is why it feels like Yahoo! has taken something from the community that ti ought to give back.
Meanwhile, what to do? Alec Couros is crowdsourcing the documentation of alternatives describing to people what they can do instead. As of this writing, 52 people have contributed to the document. The best advice is at the top: "Before considering an option, if you are a current Delicious user, the ability to migrate is important. This goes both ways -- the ability to get your content into a new tool, and the ability to get it back out. [and] Eventually, with the death of many of the free or freemium options, it may be a good time to start looking at self-hosted, DIY options."
Delicious is just one of a number of services Yahoo! will be shutting down. Others include "Yahoo Buzz, AltaVista, Yahoo Picks, Yahoo Bookmarks, MyBlogLog and a few other web-based services owned and operated by Yahoo. Other products, such as Yahoo Events and Yahoo People Search, are being merged."
So what to do? The most common suggestions have included advice on how to migrate to diigo. Or you can import your bookmarks into your browser. D'Arcy Norman is transferring his bookmarks to a application called Scuttle. Edudemic lists five other services. Ross Dawson lists six alternatives. But we don't just need bookmarking, we need, as Vicki Davis says, social bookmarking.
Finally, there's no dearth of commentary on the meaning of all this for social networking and the cloud. Patrick Powres raises the challenges of free. "If anything, the end of Delicious and any changes to Facebook pages remind marketers of an invaluable lesson - it pays to be nimble." Martin Weller reminds us to use the cloud for what it's best at - connecting and publishing - but to "Store locally, share globally." And Ben Werdmuller notes, "it's arguably a symptom of Web 2.0 fever around five years ago; lots of great services were being funded, despite not having any business models to speak of. It's only a matter of time before many of the remaining services from the era go the same way."
Update: and after all that there's a statement from Yahoo (from here, reproduced here because you basically can't access it today) saying "While we have determined that there is not a strategic fit at Yahoo!, we believe there is a ideal home for Delicious outside of the company..." In other words, they want to sell it. But who would buy it?