The 4 Best Alternatives to Delicious.com

by Glen Stansberry on 12 January 2011 1 comment
Photo: Mustang_79

It was rumored that Yahoo was closing down Delicious, the most popular social bookmarking site. Yahoo! later confirmed that they weren't going to completely shut down the service, but instead look for buyers or partners that could keep the service running. While the announcement doesn't necessarily say that Delicious won't be shutting down, it still leaves a lot of uncertainty to the future of the bookmarking site. Many people have saved years worth of bookmarks, data, and memories into the Delicious service, and not knowing the future of the company is a huge deal to them. If you want to transfer your saved data over to another Delicious-like service provider, I've listed four great services below. But before you make the switch, here are some things to consider to help you decide.

Where can you import to?

First things first. You'll need to transfer your existing data out of Delicious, and into the service of your choice. If you're like me and have lots of "legacy" data stored into Delicious, you'll want to extract those bookmarks and put them into your new service. It's helpful if you have a bookmarks manager that actually allows you to import your bookmarks seamlessly.

Can you get your data back?

The key is allowing exports: what services do that? What services also allow you to import your data? Many bookmarking services don't allow you to do that.

What's the future of the company?

As long as you can export your data, the only thing you should lose (in theory) is some time switching to yet another bookmarking service. However, it's still a pain. Determining how long the "health" of the company is hard to do, but there is one great big indicator that the prospective service could be around a while: Money.

Originally, Delicious was a venture-backed company, without any revenue stream. There were no paid subscriptions, and still aren't to this day. Yet the four services I've settled on below all have some sort of premium plan for users. They're making money. And at the end of the day, money is what keeps a company growing. It's no surprise that all of the bookmarking companies are growing. Money is the biggest indicator of health of a company.

Here is a breakdown of each service, and the reasons why I think they're excellent choices for storing your bookmarks.

Evernote

I love Evernote. In fact, I've even guest-posted on their company blog about how I use Evernote to organize my life. It's ubiquitous, fast, and has tons of great features. For example, you can add more than links to webpages. You can also add audio, video, images and PDFs. Evernote can even take a PDF or image, scan it, and then find text within the picture.

Evernote allows you to import and export data, and there is third-party script that imports all of your delicious bookmarks into Evernote. The financial outlook is incredible. They've reached critical mass, crossing the 5 million subscribers mark. Evernote CEO Phil Libin recently shared some of their revenue data and within the talk he revealed that on average each user costs 9 cents per month, and they make 25 cents per month from each user. They're profitable and growing. I used Evernote Essentials to help learn how to really maximize my Evernote workflow, and I haven't looked back. I highly recommend it.

Instapaper

Instapaper isn't a direct competitor to Delicious, but it works well for saving and archiving web data quickly. Instapaper was started by Marco Arment, the former lead developer of Tumblr. Instapaper is simple: you add a bookmarklet to your browser, and with one click you can save the entire contents of the page you're viewing. Once inside Instapaper, you can archive and organize the bookmarks for reading later, or just to store them. Instapaper currently has a premium subscription that only costs a dollar a month, but it allows you to use the service ad-free, plus see new features before other non-paying customers. There's a third party solution for importing your Delicious bookmarks into Instapaper, and Instapaper allows allows you to easily export all of your data.

Pinboard

Pinboard is an interesting alternative. Unlike the previous mentioned alternatives, Pinboard is almost identical to Delicious in functionality. Save any bookmark quickly. The caveat is that Pinboard is a paid service, but with a twist. There's a one-time fee for new users, but the amount is based off of a calculation (number of users * $0.001). This means that the longer you wait, the more expensive a Pinboard account will be.

Pinboard's founder Maciej Ceglowski uses paid accounts so that he doesn't have to worry about spam, and claims that because the service is paid-only, there is zero spam in the Pinboard database. The Pinboard interface and service is no-frills, and users like it that way. Techcrunch founder Mike Arrington raved about the product, and explained why he switched to Pinboard from Delicious. Pinboard has a service for import bookmarks from other services like Delicious. You can also export your data at any time.

Roll Your Own: A Wordpress Link Blog

For those a little more technologically advanced and concerned about keeping your data, you could always create a linkblog (public or private) for your web bookmarks. Wordpress is the de facto blogging service, and they already have a quick "post to Wordpress" bookmarklet built into each blog. You can categorize posts, and add thoughts in the post body. You can export your data at any time, and there is a nifty Delicious to Wordpress importer that pulls all of your bookmarks into Wordpress as posts. By using your own Wordpress blog, you're ensuring that your data will be around as long as you are. I currently have a Wordpress link blog that I use to share quick links with my readers, as well as to hang on to interesting snippets from across the Web.

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Additional ideas: Diigo - very similar to Delicious, I like it better actually. Pinterest is a visual pinboard where you "pin" images.