Social bookmark sharing site Delicious has been reborn, with a new look and functionality that its foster parents hope will make it popular with the cool kids of the Internet. But will the new iteration of the site catch on with more than just a select few, as happened in the past?
That’s the question plaguing owners Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, who purchased the site from Yahoo! in April. Along with their team at Avos, the company they created after they sold YouTube (yes, they made YouTube) to Google, Hurley and Chen have been working hard to bring back a tech brand that they believe as the potential to help shut out the noise of information that permeates the online world.
“Every day, people create boatloads of content on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and across the entire web,” writes the Delicious team in a press release. “It’s getting increasingly difficult to cut through all the noise. If you know exactly what you’re looking for, search works great, but what if you want to discover something new? Conversely, how can you easily organize the best websites around a topic you know a lot about?”
Their answer: “stacks.” Stacks, as the Delicious crew describes it, are “playlists for the web,” and that’s as good a description as any.
Stacks work like this: Any user can create a stack about whatever they like. Stacks, which are kind of like a mini blog, can consist of any media found online, including websites, pictures, videos, etc. Once created, other Delicious users can then follow the stack, and see anytime the stacks they follow are updated.
The goal is to make it easier to discover new stuff on the web – a goal shared by a great many other outlets, from sites like Reddit and Digg to Tumblr to your run-of-the-mill blog. To add to the discovery functionality, the team has included multiple-word tagging, and made searching the site far simpler.
From what we can tell, the biggest problem for Delicious is that curating a stack – and then updating that stack – is a bit more work that a lot of people are going to want to do. As we recently learned from Twitter, a larger portion of users will use an online service passively, without creating anything new of their own for the community to enjoy. They are consumers, not producers. We would guess that Delicious will face a similar engagement barrier – if anything, the hurdle will be higher, since putting together a good stack is far more time consuming than sending out a witty tweet.
Still, the idea sounds like a solid one. And after messing around with the site for an hour or so, it definitely delivered – we found cool stuff that we wouldn’t have otherwise seen. But when it came to creating our own stack – your reporter was going to make one about Triumph motorcycles – we grew weary of the process, even though Delicious provides a “save on Delicious” link for your browser toolbar immediately upon creating a new account.
So good luck, new Delicious. You are a good idea, and the web is better off because you exist. But like the Delicious before you, sheer laziness will likely be your worst enemy.