Thanks Yahoo! Thank you for giving me a job, for teaching me loads, introducing a number of really great people – developers, marketers, financiers and others – into my network and for helping me pay off an insane amount of student debt. That being said, you’re screwed.
You’re screwed because you’ve shown that you don’t care about your users. The latest announcement to close delicious.com was the final straw and signal to the community that you just don’t get it. You don’t sunset a community, you open source it, spin it off, allow someone else to run with it, to do something with it, to monetise it – even if that means adding a small fee for people to use it. As my wife said when I informed her that you were closing delicious “That’s stupid, even I use it”.
I went to delicious.com and saw people had bookmarked the announcement from Techcrunch, but no post from yourselves, no notes saying how people can maintain their bookmarks or how you’ve worked with another service to allow people to move their bookmarks from delicious to whatever it might be. In the words of Julia Roberts, “Big mistake, BIG, HUGE”. Geeks are the ones who started using facebook when it opened itself outside of Harvard, geeks are the ones who started using twitter years ago, geeks are the innovative first users you need to get on board if a product is going to take off. Why did Buzz stink? It never took off because the geeks were all already using delicious. So if you get rid of delicious.com you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll never ever be able to launch a new product again.
Here’s how you can save your face, give delicious away, either make it open source or sell it to someone for a song (Waving my hand enthusiastically). Why am I so passionate about Yahoo! allowing delicious to stick around and not just letting users move to other services? Because the fact is that Delicious has a lot of users. It has active users and passive users. It has super active users who would be willing to pay a small fee annually, and other users who wouldn’t mind ads on it to keep it around. You’re leaving money on the table, and you’re not really helping anyone by closing off the service. Let’s say 10% of delicious users move to another service and 15% move to another service and 20% move to another service and the rest all start keeping their bookmarks locally (in all likelihood the % of users to move is likely to be waaaaay less) then that’s 3 communities that might be a little bit stronger, instead of the community on delicious.com that could actually provide real value to the internet and (shock, horror) to advertisers.
Look we get it, we understand you need to save some money and services like mybloglog and upcoming will need to bite the bullet, makes sense. Buzz as well – though why you invested in creating Buzz when you had Delicious sitting there I never did understand and was never able to get a straight answer from anyone on. We’re all for capitalism and for you trying to get back on your feet but please, please don’t kill one of the only things that gives you any credibility. What next Flickr? That just gives me the shivers.
So thanks Yahoo! for showing the world once again that you don’t really get it and thanks for getting me to get my butt in gear and to start writing on my blog again – 42 days is way too much, hopefully never again.
Disclaimer: I worked for Yahoo! for 3 years from 2007 to 2010 in London and in Rolle, Switzerland. I have not discussed this with anyone at Yahoo! I am no longer doing any consulting or any other work for the company and I don’t hold any Yahoo! stock anymore, I only have friends at the company and a love for the brand that was home to one of my first interactions with the internet.