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The topics discussed here grow out of the bread-and-butter issues that confront my consulting and software clients on a daily basis. We'll talk about prosaic stuff like Membership Management, Meetings and Events Management and Fundraising, broader ideas like security and software project management, and the social, cultural, and organizational issues that impact IT decision-making.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Delicious leaves some with a bad taste.

I've just be reading the conversation on the net about Yahoo's acquisition of - as you would expect, feelings about it run high.

Those who are excited about it see it as a vote for tagging and web 2.0 technology by the established providers of widely used internet services, and as a reward for innovation. Those who are vehemently opposed list a few likely scenarios that might harm the usefulness of - banners, sponsored links, and a too-wide usership that would end the elite quality of the taggers who made the service so valuable.

And I suspect some are just depressed at the end of the illusion that "web2.0" was a democratizing wave that limited the power of the big internet companies. Now all the most talked-about tag-oriented sites belong to Yahoo:, FlickR, Upcoming.

I read through a long thread on metafilter about the Yahoo-delicious alliance. Here you can find the full range of view expressed:

some benign-
Flickr hasn't been ruined. Upcoming hasn't been ruined. Why will be ruined?
and some at the opposite pole-
I give it a week before Yahoo starts fudging the links to quietly direct more hits to their clients.
One comment pointed out that the value of the site is to be found in its small club-like membership. ejaned8 wrote: was valuable partially to me because of the type of users and links it attracted, so I knew it was a place I could go to find the obscure things that hadn't been posted to boing-boing or wherever yet. I think as it gains more users (doubtless it will as it becomes a yahoo!) that the amount of time to find relevant items may increase.
And of course, the thread has quite a few readers who never "got" delicious - with its minimal interface and geeky documentation. "Your favorite site sucks" And those who don't get the merger at all: after all, Yahoo has tagging on MyWeb2.0 anyhow.

So what's new? In the old days, whenever a small company built a piece of software that began to take off, Microsoft bought them - it seems that now there are four or five big players capable of rewarding an innovator - Google, e-Bay, and Yahoo have all made news recently with acquisitions. I never liked Front-Page; but it's clear Microsoft's purchase of this early web development toolkit encouraged the first wave of small organizations getting websites up. I still run into organizations all the time with their own in-house webmaster who can't imagine another way of putting up a site.

Clearly a wary eye toward the internet giants is warranted. But I don't think that the sale of will stand in the way of the current wave of innovation.
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