I’m a little bit late to the discussion around the shutting down selling of Delicious but I’ve taken the time to think through exactly why this move is so strange.

Yahoo! has come out firmly as a content company. They want to produce and package information to be consumed by the masses of internet users. If we applied a Technographics profile to their ideal audience it would be Spectators.

Now the interesting thing about being successful at creating content; you need to produce information that enough people want to engage with. Ideally you need to have a finger on the pulse of society before society knows that they really want to learn about.

The best way to find out that information is to crowd source it. Essentially take advantage of a thousands of people who are curating the web and identifying trends as they become trends.

See where I’m going with this? Delicious provides Yahoo! (and anyone else for that matter) with real time information about what people are finding interesting and what to know more about. For a media company this information should be incredibly valuable.

And this is why Yahoo!’s decision to divest themselves of Delicious is so confusing. They’re throwing out their best research tool; information they paid nothing for and which they can easily monetize around. However because you can’t make money off the raw materials they ignore the potential when its combined with other arms of the business.

Maybe I’m overly pessimistic, but is this the beginning of the end for crowd-sourced information gathering?

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  • Derek Silva

    No, I don’t think this is the beginning of the end of crowdsourcing at all! When you look at trending topics on Twitter, or projects like Ushahidi, I would say that crowdsourcing is really just about to hit primetime.

    As Michael Arrington has pointed out, and I agree with, Yahoo! is in disarray. Carol Bartz (CEO) can barely tell you what Yahoo! is, and only recently figured it out (sort of). If Yahoo! wants to be a great content company, Aol is already much further on its way down that path than Yahoo!

    What Yahoo!’s management doesn’t realize, and you’re pointing out, is that they have all the tools they need to possibly get ahead of Aol’s content creation efforts. And Aol has been hiring a lot of laid off journalists, building hyperlocal content platforms like Seed, and buying up huge content creators like Engadget and TechCrunch over the past few years.

    Yahoo! has a lot to learn, and a lot of restructuring to happen yet. They bought all these really cool tools, then did nothing with them and now are divesting themselves of them again. Upcoming is another company/product they bought and could have leveraged quite a bit. Instead it languished and now is being shut down.

  • Anonymous

    Great point’s Derek. I agree with your prediction regarding the future of crowdsourced curation too. I can’t help but think that Yahoo! looked at Delicious as nothing more then a bookmarking service and thought “people aren’t bookmarking anymore; we can get rid of this tool”.

    While Yahoo! might be in disarray, and confused about who they are and what they want to be, we have to remember that they own a number of huge web properties ( has more traffic then and combined).

    I don’t see good things in Yahoos! future, but I think they’ll hang on a lot longer then many of us think.