Yahoo! Please Open Source Del.icio.us So It Can Live On!

Killing off the venerable bookmark sharing service is just wrong

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One couldn't help but shed a tear today with the news that Yahoo! as part of its latest round of layoffs was killing Del.icio.us, along with MyBlogLog and several other properties. While they may not be money makers or strategic to Yahoo! anymore, Delicious and the others still have plenty of fans out there. Rather than just killing them off, Yahoo! should take a page out of the Google play book and donate these to the open source community. That way if people who are passionate about using them want to they can continue to develop these services without the financial pressures of being part of a former Internet giant trying desperately to float a sinking ship.

For anyone who was captivated with the whole Web 2.0 (God how I hated that term) thing Del.icio.us (does anyone still use that spelling of it) was one of the originals. Think about it. Something as simple as sharing your bookmarks socially was a radical idea just 4 or so years ago. U used to read Fred Wilson's AVC blog religiously, as Fred had his finger on the pulse and his investments in the bank on many of these companies. At the time Yahoo! felt it could afford to lose the search war with Google by buying up all of these hot Web 2.0 properties. So they bought Del.icio.us. They bought MyBlogLog, Upcoming and Flickr. Most of these were early Web 2.0 darlings, but did not really have any revenue to speak of. Yahoo! paid good money for them. 

In M&A in tech you have to break a few eggs to make omelette's. Usually the failure rate in acquisitions approaches 50%. In the case of Yahoo! it actually may be even higher. For the most part, these properties all went straight downhill after Yahoo! laid out millions and the brain drain of the founding team moved on to bigger and better things. That is probably at least partially why Yahoo! finds itself laying off 700 people right before Christmas, but that is not the point here.

There are many who still use Delicious. I admit I am not one of them. I stopped using it shortly after Yahoo bought it. But there are lots of people who use it, just as there are people who still use MyBlogLog (I think my ashimmy.com blog still has their widget on it).  Yahoo! could make lemonade out of lemons here.  If they would open source these and the other properties they are killing they could garner a ton of good will from the users of these projects, not come across as the hatchet men they are being portrayed as and out Google Google even.

I am sure that there are plenty of developers who would take up the task of supporting these now orphaned communities. Hosting them in the cloud should be cheap enough. So what do you say? Do you think Yahoo! should open source them?  If so lets start a tweet campaign to get them to do it. Tweet, email, blog but lets not let these Web 2.0 originals die!

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