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Delicious hopes new taste will prove a hit

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Less than a year ago news leaked that Yahoo (s yhoo) 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 (s goog) 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, 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 (s pep) 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.

63 Responses to “Delicious hopes new taste will prove a hit”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. You guys should change “” 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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? =(

  9. Brilliant FORGE

    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.

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

  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. 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?

  13. Tarique Naseem

    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…

  14. 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.