Around the world a lot of tech start-ups must be chortling into their coffees: Yahoo! is almost certainly shutting down delicious, the social bookmarking site it bought for something in the region of $15 million-$30 million in 2005.
There are no-end of pieces analysing the reasons for Yahoo’s current woes, so we won’t attempt to better them here. If you’re looking for a good one, try Charles Arthur’s stab over at The Guardian. What is worth looking at though, is exactly what Yahoo! could have done.
Back in the early days of web 2.0, when Facebook was just a glint in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye, Yahoo! managed to acquire a suite of much-talked about properties. In delicious, and flickr (where the image at the top of this post comes from), Yahoo! had the most popular bookmarking and image sharing sites around. Whilst there were, and remain, questions about how to monetise these, what they provided in data should have been worth millions, if not billions.
Because years before Google started experimenting with social search, or Facebook had inked a deal with Bing, Yahoo! had access to millions of bits of social data, in terms of the tags that people were using to describe web-pages and images. With this they could, and should, have powered the charge into social search, and stolen a march on their rivals. They didn’t, and, once they’ve shut delicious, they never will.
That’s a real shame, and now I really just hope that they don’t shut flickr too.
Image by Jeff Pearce on flickr