Yahoo Hints At Selling Delicious — Or Giving It Away

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Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) won’t be shutting down its Delicious social bookmarking site — after all. A slide that circulated widely yesterday showed that Delicious was one of several products Yahoo had selected to “sunset,” but Yahoo now says in a blog post, included in full below, that it isn’t shutting down the product and is instead looking for a “home outside the company that would make more sense for the service and our users.”

That suggests that Yahoo is either shopping Delicious or considering giving it away, possibly as an open source project, as some have suggested it should do.

In its message to Delicious users, Yahoo says it’s “genuinely sorry to have these stories appear with so little context for our loyal users” and “very disappointed by the way that this appeared in the press” — seemingly blaming the media instead of itself for putting the future of the service in question.

It was Yahoo executives, however, who listed Delicious along with other products that the company has in fact since confirmed are going away, and Yahoo executives who would not comment yesterday about whether or not Delicious specifically was being shut down.

That led to a widespread outcry online that Delicious was on the chopping block and provided Delicious competitors with an opportunity to pitch their own services. That seems like a very poor communications strategy to me.

Here’s the full message:

What’s Next for Delicious?

Many of you have read the news stories about Delicious that began appearing yesterday. We’re genuinely sorry to have these stories appear with so little context for our loyal users. While we can’t answer each of your questions individually, we wanted to address what we can at this stage and we promise to keep you posted as future plans get finalized.

Is Delicious being shut down? And should I be worried about my data?

– No, we are not shutting down Delicious. 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 where it can be resourced to the level where it can be competitive.

What is Yahoo! going to do with Delicious?

– We’re actively thinking about the future of Delicious and we believe there is a home outside the company that would make more sense for the service and our users. We’re in the process of exploring a variety of options and talking to companies right now. And we’ll share our plans with you as soon as we can.

What if I want to get my bookmarks out of Delicious right away?

– As noted above, there’s no reason to panic. We are maintaining Delicious and encourage you to keep using it. That said, we have export options if you so choose. Additionally, many services provide the ability to import Delicious links and tags.

We can only imagine how upsetting the news coverage over the past 24 hours has been to many of you. Speaking for our team, we were very disappointed by the way that this appeared in the press. We’ll let you know more as things develop.

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