News is traveling fast about a leaked slide from a Yahoo “all hands” meeting earlier this week that listed several products — including Delicous and AltaVista — to be “sunsetted.” Yahoo confirms that Yahoo Buzz will be closed, as will the Traffic APIs. Delicious seems likely to go, too.
Here’s the statement we received from Yahoo:
Part of our organizational streamlining involves cutting our investment in underperforming or off-strategy products to put better focus on our core strengths and fund new innovation in the next year and beyond. We continuously evaluate and prioritize our portfolio of products and services, and do plan to shut down some products in the coming months such as Yahoo! Buzz, our Traffic APIs, and others. We will communicate specific plans when appropriate.
I asked again if this included Delicious and was told:
We’re not commenting on Delicious specifically at this point.
The Sunset Slide
You can see a larger version of this here. Marcoullier was previously a Yahoo employee, having come over when Yahoo acquired MyBlogLog — a service he cofounded. Several Yahoo employees seemed to confirmed the image via Twitter, as AllThingsD reports, as did Yahoo Chief Product Officer Blake Irving, when he tweeted about firing the source of the picture:
Can’t wait to find out how you got the web cast. Whoever it is, gone!
Goodbye To Yahoo Buzz
As you can see, Yahoo Buzz is on the list of “sunset” products, those that will be closed. When Yahoo Buzz launched in Feb. 2008, it took over the name from a previous trends-based product and was positioned as a type of new Digg with close links to publishers.
So Long, AltaVista & AllTheWeb
Also on the list are AltaVista and AllTheWeb. Both are search engines that Yahoo inherited from Overture, which in turn bought the services in 2003. AltaVista used to be a giant of the search world but has long since been eclipsed by Google. Neither gets much traffic, though both have links from across the web. Indeed, all those links still keep AltaVista ranking well on Google for searches on both “search engine” and “search engines.”
Closing those services makes sense to me, in that they don’t offer anything that Yahoo doesn’t already offer. These days, they’re both powered by Bing — as is Yahoo. The only reason to maintain them is for the extra “shelf space” they get from across the web. If they’re closed, and redirected to Yahoo, the traffic will be maintained in the short term. In the long term, some of that legacy traffic will finally disappear.
See You, MyBlogLog
MyBlogLog enjoyed a brief rise of fame as a social widget that could be installed on your blog. Yahoo bought it in 2007, and Yahoo Acquires MyBlogLog & More On How It Works is our article on how it worked at the time. I found it soon became pretty spammy and stopped using it, myself. These days, I think it’s fair to say that Facebook Connect and the “friend” widget it allows has left MyBlogLog behind. I won’t miss it, for one.
Coincidentally, Marcoullier has a sequel to MyBlogLog that just came out in beta testing today: OneTrueFan.
What’s Next For Delicious?
As for Delicious, I’d say it’s one of the survivors of the social bookmarking world. It continues to have a strong, loyal following. I can see Yahoo making a hard decision that it’s not feasible to maintain, for some reason. But it’s a terrible mistake to have let the news leak out this way. I think it’s just going to create doubt among those loyal users about the future of their bookmarks, what do they do next and whether it’ll be closed permanently, closed to new users or — hopefully — shepherded to a new company that will maintain it.
Postscript by Matt McGee: In that last sentence, Danny is wondering what many Delicious users are also wondering: Would or could Yahoo sell Delicious? Could it give Delicious over to the community as open source code? There was a quick conversation about that on Twitter a little while ago between Hunch co-founder Chris Dixon and Joshua Schachter, the creator of Delicious (who sold it to Yahoo in 2005). Schachter told Dixon that both scenarios are probably unlikely:
Could the loyal Delicious community step in somehow? Just a couple months ago, the community came together when news spread about the demise of Xmarks — a popular web browser bookmark syncing tool — with many volunteering to begin paying for what had been a free tool. Three days later, Xmarks announced that interested buyers had come forward and Xmarks would be saved.
There’s an obvious and huge difference between Xmarks and Delicious: One was owned by a spunky, little startup. The other isn’t.
Postscript #2: See our related article, 10 Alternatives To Delicious.com Bookmarking.
Postscript #3: See our new post indicating Delicious.com may not be closing down: Not So Fast: Delicious.com May Survive, After All.