YouTube's founders plan to save Delicious

YouTube's founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, who sold their video site to Google for $1.65 billion, are embarking on a new project.
Written by Jack Schofield, Contributor

YouTube's founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, who sold their video site to Google for $1.65 billion, are embarking on a new project. They hope to make Delicious, the geeky internet bookmarking site purchased by Yahoo in 2005, popular with ordinary people. Although this may not be welcomed by regular users, the most likely alternative is that Yahoo would have closed it down.

Chen and Hurley have already set up a company, AVOS, in San Mateo, California, close to where YouTube was based. And as well as picking up Delicious for an undisclosed price, they have also bought Tap11, a "real-time business intelligence platform". According to the AVOS announcement, YouTube Founders Acquire Tap11!:

"Our vision is to create the world's best platform for users to save, share, and discover new content," said Hurley. "With the acquisition of Tap11, we will be able to provide consumer and enterprise users with powerful tools to publish and analyze their links' impact in real-time."

Hurley and Chen have now explained their vision to The New York Times. It seems that instead of relatively undifferentiated streams of blue links, the new Delicious will feature browsable "stacks" of related images, videos and links shared around topical events. It will also "make personalized recommendations for users, based on their sharing habits".

This sounds a lot like another very well established technology news link site: Techmeme. (Techmeme also has companion sites covering media news, politics and celebrity gossip.) But presumably the Delicious stacks will be based on user-created links, rather than ones gathered algorithmically.

Unlike Techmeme, Delicious also benefits from links on news sites and blogs that encourage visitors to share content via Delicious, Reddit, Digg, Stumbleupon and other link-sharing sites. Hurley told the New York Times: "We know how hard it would be to build a brand. Delicious lets us hit the ground running with its existing footprint."

Chen and Hurley are responding to the flow of millions of links shared on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, and for which Google products are a poor solution. Chen said: "Google is still the utility for quickly finding things, like the capital of Texas. But when people aren’t doing search for a simple question, we want to capture the results of that idea, that browsing, and showcase the results for the next guy."

And while "stacks" may help users, they are the key to making money out of Delicious. If you have a page full of random links posted by users, you don't have much of an advertising sales story. However, if you are compiling stacks of links around highly focused topics, maybe you do.


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