Sold by Yahoo to the founders of YouTube, social bookmarking service Delicious is one of the great survivors of Web 2.0. But can a revamp convince new users to bookmark the web — and keep the old ones happy at the same time?


Less than a year ago news leaked that Yahoo was planning to “sunset” the social bookmarking service Delicious. Then the company backtracked, saying it didn’t plan to shut Delicious down; a sale was its preferred option.

After a wobbly few months, the site was bought by AVOS, a new company formed by YouTube founders Steve Chen and Chad Hurley, who promised “to take on the challenge of building the best information-discovery service on the web.”

Now we get to see exactly what they mean. The new-look Delicious launched overnight.

So what do you get? Let’s take a look.

First up, signing up is easy. Although I was a long-time Delicious user, first joining back in 2005, I stopped using the service last year and defected to Pinboard.in, a great clone aimed at power users. In fact, when AVOS moved to the new Delicious, they actually deleted my original account. So I was able to use the service as if for the first time.

Once inside, there are some obvious visual changes. Everything has a slightly warmer, softer tone; gone are the sharp edges and minimalist presentations that made Delicious look like the work of an engineer.

Popular links are presented in a straightforward list, while groups of links (known as “stacks”) are pushed to users in a glossy format supported by photographs. It’s nice eye candy, but takes up a lot of screen space.

In terms of functionality? Well, it’s tempting to say that the new Delicious is a bit like Pepsi of old: “new look, same great taste”. But it’s probably more accurate to simply point out that the revamp is less than radical.

Most of the obvious changes are essentially updating the slightly dated lexicon of Delicious and bringing it in line with a more modern, social web context. For example, users can now add avatars — something that seems almost idiotically simple, but had never emerged with its previous, spartan approach.

Elsewhere, users now “follow” somebody instead of adding them to their network. And collections of links — which were previously known as bundles — have become “stacks”. These are described as playlists for the web, a signpost that AVOS wants to make Delicious more appealing to mainstream audiences.

In truth, however, none of this is a major departure from what Delicious already did, and it’s certainly not much of a departure from other link collecting or list-making tools such as Bitly.

In a blog post announcing the launch, AVOS admits that most of the work was behind the scenes, rather than in adding new elements to the site.

We realized that in order to keep innovating over the long term, the eight-year-old site needed to be rebuilt from the ground up. The result is a new homepage, interface and back-end architecture designed to make Delicious easier to use.

We’re proud of what we built, but the process has also brought the site “back to beta” as a work in progress.

But in doing so, it’s also managed to break some things that old-time users were used to. A string of my Twitter followers pointed out broken features. For example, existing users complain that their old bundles seem to have disappeared completely; there are lots of reports of problems with browser plug-ins, RSS feeds appear to have stopped working and some of the old pages aren’t working.

Still, these are early days. The product is essentially starting over again, and if users are prepared to accept that this is a beta then there is time — and trust — to rebuild.

Can new users be enticed? Will old users stick around? Even though the new Delicious looks juicier, it’s not clear whether the flavor it had has disappeared or been improved upon. Either way, it looks like the hard work is only just beginning.

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  1. I had a fairly bad experience with the new Delicious today. Just last week I had spent a few hours curating my saved bookmarks and organizing tags. The new Delicious doesn’t seem to know anything about it. All my effort is lost. There is no longer a bulk-edit function to redo my changes. I can no longer manage my tags – could find no option for deleting old tags. Some of my tags with special characters are now broken, I get a 404 when I try to access them. I am done. Goodbye Delicious.

  2. Hehe, “bojo” :)

  3. Thanks for this.

    It appears that I can no longer log in. Is it true that all old accounts are gone?

    1. My account is gone, despite me going through the transfer process. I’ve emailed them and am awaiting a reply.

      1. …that makes two of us.

      2. …and then there were four.

      3. Still no response. I went to delicious earlier thinking I’d test the account, but was instead showing that I was logged in as another user. I’m just looking for my account…

      4. …and then there were four :(

      5. Me too. I sent the swapover email, was told all was well, and now have an empty account.

        This post explains how to recover lost bookmarks: http://brownbetty.dreamwidth.org/541789.html

    2. Me too – makes 5!

      1. poo – me too all locked out and nowhere to go… rubbish

    3. I’m Mike Manning from Delicious communications. We published a blog post tonight addressing users who can’t access their bookmarks: http://www.avos.com/missing-bookmarks/

  4. Delicious just commited most spectacular suicide ever. New bookmark management is USELESS.

  5. AnneMarie Cunningham Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    Where has my network gone?

  6. Well, I’m one of two users (been using Delicious since early 2005), who have just left. Browser plugin not working & most of my tags are gone!

    Moving what I can to Evernote as we speak…

  7. The new delicious sucks. What was there to fix int he old one anyway? http://wiki.dandascalescu.com/blog/the_new_delicious_com_sucks

  8. Normally formatting changes don’t phase me, but in this case I’m totally lost! I’ve invested a lot of time and effort into sorting out tag bundles with hundreds of tags… but now only a small fraction of my tags remain listed, and the bundles are gone! Instead of the bundles, I have new tags that have the format “has:previousbundlename”, but in no way provide the services of a bundle, as they seem to be tacked on to only my most recent links. Has anybody else had these problems?

  9. Way to go, AVOS. You ruined Delicious.

  10. Yuuup. The RSS feeds are busted, which means my embedded Delicious widgets on my website are gone. Not good.

  11. They should have just sunsetted it. It is totally unusable now. Can’t see more than 10 tags. Can only sort by date. No tag bundles. No bulk edit. Can’t hide bookmark detail. So many terrible changes to a previously perfect bookmarking service. I don’t get it.

  12. Let me refer to you Bundlr http://bundlr.com/ a company we invested in and its pretty similar to new Delicious. Only better :)

  13. Yes, core functions are not there or useless – search in my bookmarks ..how? Firefox plugin – sync failed? I am still related to Delicious but this “redesign” is totally crappish

  14. Delicious is now officially USELESS to me! No RSS feed anymore for my saved links. Any suggested alternatives?

  15. Suicidal… People used delicious for actual BOOKMARKING, with handy ways to use tags, tagbundles… Completely useless now.

  16. Don’t fix what isn’t broken! Fucking incompetent morons. >:(

  17. I had over 4 thousand tags, now I have just 40. Please tell me this is only temporary!

    1. This tool helps you import your Delicious bookmarks to Google Bookmarks. https://www.google.com/bookmarks/deliciousimport I got them all back !

  18. Brilliant FORGE Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    Truly unfortunate. A great deal of the previous functionality that made Delicious useful is gone or broken and nothing remarkable has been added to make this stand out from the crowded competitive space. So, loyal users of the previous service are upset and will probably leave and new users don’t really have a good reason to use Delicious instead of Posterous, Evernote, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Google Bookmarks, etc. etc. etc. I was excited to see that Chad Hurley and AVOS had acquired Delicious and couldn’t wait to see what they would do with it. I expected something much more muchier.

  19. I can’t believe it! I’ve used Delicious for 5 years, and now that tag bundles are gone, it’s completely useless for me. How am I supposed to find anything?? I had thousands of bookmarks I could work with because my tag bundles were perfectly organized, but if they don’t bring them back, I’m done with this stupid thing. Though I don’t know how am I gonna replace it, either. Any suggestions? =(

  20. I received an email in April about transferring the bookmarks…so I did what was necessary. It is now the 28th of September, I received no further emails. Today I find the new Delicious is now up and running and I can’t log in. I have sent emails, tried the ‘forgot password’…no response. This sucks.

    1. what are they doing? a lot of my tags don’t work now. adding tags has no autofill option pulling from your own tags. i cant see a lot of my tags on the sidebar too. i wish they gave you an option to use the old version.

    2. This link has a way to recover your data, even if you can’t login: http://brownbetty.dreamwidth.org/541789.html

  21. I don’t see any tag completion in the popup when I try to assign tags to my bookmark via the bookmarklet. Where are recommended tags. I hate the new interface.

  22. Moving to Diigo.com. Bye Delicious! I’ve stuck with you for three years, but AVOS has truly ruined you.

  23. Delicious, you fuckers…where are all my tags and the ability I have to type in existing tags into the bookmarklet and save a site UNDER MY EXISTING TAGS I CREATED OVER THE LAST FOUR YEARS. YOU SUCK.

  24. I’ve used Delicious for bookmarking pages for a major project and now THE TAGS ARE GONE…WHAT GIVES, IDIOTS??????????????????????????????????????????

  25. You guys should change “del.icio.us” to “dis.taste.ful”, instead. Seriously, if I could, I’d sue for false advertisement. I don’t even know where to start with the complaints. The old Delicious was perfect. It was functional, manageable, and attractive. The new delicious (lower case d intended) is a nightmare.

  26. Oh noooooooooooo ! I was a happy Delicious user since 2006 with 2,000+ neatly tagged links, mostly for professional use…well, that’s history now as I find out this morning that all my tag bundles are gone ! These people obviously not cared about existing users ! Sorting information from the internet is paramount and Delicious was very good at that. As I’m willing to fork out a few euros for a good bookmarking tool I think I’ll switch to pinboard…Bye bye Delicious.

  27. I have been using Delicious for 2 years successfully and am extremely disappointed with the new version. I have battled for the last couple of days to make sense of it but feel that all my previous work has been undone. I have lost the networks that I followed but even more importantly the tag bundles that I had created. This was one of the major benefits of the old version in that it was easy to search. As a school librarian I’m at a complete loss to understand how storing information in this way can be considered either sensible or useful. Why on earth couldn’t the transfer have been made with all the existing facilites included? It worked so well before and is now next to useless.

  28. I’m using Delicious since 03/2007 as my one and only bookmark managing tool. Why ? Because it was awesome ! This new Delicious is just crap. I’m gone and I’m not coming back. Bye.

  29. besides all of the frustrations voiced here, I think the “stacks” are a misapplication of the YouTube mindset. The assumption is that you want to create a presentation for other people to see. The beauty of Delicious was that its members were using it primarily for their own benefit and convenience, while incidentally granting access to others. This meant that if you checked out the collections of others who bookmarked the same links, they would very likely provide a serious take on the same or related topics. The stacks, on the other hand, are intended to be consumed by an audience – they may still be educational, but they are more likely to be pre-chewed adn cherry picked content, as opposed to the raw primary source materials you might get from a kindred spirit’s bookmarks.

  30. I never received an email about Delicious and the move or anything! Now everything has disappeared! How could they do this?

    1. Denise, I’m with Delicious communications, and want you to know we’re working on a solution with Yahoo! to give you access to your old account data. More info on our blog: http://www.avos.com/missing-bookmarks/

  31. They’ve stripped out all the funcitons that made it so useful for me: if Delicious had functioned this poorly when I first joined four years ago, I wouldn’t have used it much at all. Avos doesn’t seem to understand how its users used the site and they were too arrogant to ask. The current site could have been developed without paying for the original Delicious, so I have to assume they wanted the brand name and the core loyal users, but they’ve utterly alienated me. Not giving me a chance to back my bookmarks up in a manner that preserved ALL my tags is utterly unforgivable. They are not to be trusted or supported after this. It’s a major fail.

  32. To everybody: repost your posts to Delicious page on Facebook: facebook.com/delicious

  33. My account is still there. Sounds as if the time I invested into the whole data-transfer-agreement was good for something, not? Well, wrong. The account still exists but ALL MY LINKS are gone. Not “just” scrambled tags or something, no, everything’s gone completely, as if I never saved any links in the past few years at all. Seriously, Delicious – FAIL!

    1. This happened to me too, but this link http://brownbetty.dreamwidth.org/541789.html helped me recover my data so I could move to Diigo instead

    2. Arlessiar, I’m with Delicious communications. We published a blog post for users who aren’t seeing their links – visit it here: http://www.avos.com/missing-bookmarks/

  34. can I please get my OLD delicious back? I’M VERY ANGRY!!!!!

    1. Not only are the tags gone but 90% of my bookmarks are gone as well. I’ll look for another service that cares slightly more about my data.

      1. DigitalAtrophe, I’m with Delicious communications and can assure you that all your data is secure. Our beta status blog has more info on these issues: http://deliciousengineering.blogspot.com/2011/09/welcome-to-delicious-beta-status-blog.html

  35. This was meant to be a cloud BOOKMARKING tool for me – a replacement of separate Bookmarks in Chrome/IE/FF . My Bundles are gone. My cloud is gone. The functional list of easily accessible tags are gone- replaced by eye-candy and whitespace. Time to look around….

  36. 4 years of organization and collecting gone. I used it for reference almost everyday. This has to be temporary. What have they done with all this data?It has to be re-implemented ASAP. I WANT MY BOOKMARKS BACK

    1. James, I’m with Delicious communications, and want to point you to a blog post we published for people who aren’t seeing their bookmarks: http://www.avos.com/missing-bookmarks/. If you opted into AVOS, we have all your data. If not, we’re working with Yahoo! on a solution to get you that data.

  37. My account is completely gone and my username is not recognized. Thanks a lot. All those bookmarks gone.

    1. Try using this method to recover your data: http://brownbetty.dreamwidth.org/541789.html It worked for me.

    2. Lisa, I’m with Delicious communications and want to let you know that your account is not completely gone. It’s either stored with AVOS or Yahoo, and we’ll do what we can to get you access to it again. More info on our blog: http://www.avos.com/missing-bookmarks/

  38. As far as I know, my bookmarks (links) are all there…but what happened to my tags?!

  39. Douglas Carnall Monday, October 3, 2011

    I’d just like to join in the chorus of disapproval on the Delicious redesign. It is not an improvement. Screen real estate is less efficiently used. Tag autocomplete was broken. I did all the required changeover steps so I don’t seem to have lost data, but the RSS feed is lost to my blogger weblog.
    Time to go and check out the alternatives again. Diigo was the frontrunner when I looked at this last year. Hurley and Chen should have read this: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000069.html

  40. Cathy Jo Leonard Swain Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    I want my bundles back. I never used Delicious as a social media site. I used it as a place to store urls for ME. I sorted everything with tags and bundles — the same way I use folders and subfolders to store documents. I looked at the video on Stacks and I’m not interested in that. I want my bundles back!!

  41. (Where can I find your other article with a title something like: Delcious sucks)It still sucks.

    I just entered a new link with several tags including the ones below, but I get this message when I try to find it:
    “you have no links with the tags: Review, AlexaSouced”

  42. Correction to the above article.

    ‘And collections of links — which were previously known as bundles — have become “stacks”.’

    Actually, that’s not accurate; “stacks” are collections of links, true, but bundles are collections of tags, not links.

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