Learning lessons from the Xmarks and Delicious ‘shut-downs’

Delicious Xmarks

If you use either of these services and you follow the latest tech news, chances are you’ll know that both have been in the news recently. Xmarks was to close down but found a buyer in LastPass. More recently, Delicious has been the subject of feverish rumours that its owners Yahoo! were to shut it down. In the event, it looks like Yahoo! will try to find a buyer for it.

The blogosphere will pounce on rumours and ‘bad news’

Unfortunately, much as the old print media used to do, many tech news bloggers pounce on early rumours or perceived ‘bad news’ and blog about it despite the fact that it’s just a rumour and everyone else is doing the same thing. I follow quite a few tech blogs and the amount of posts on both stories was quite staggering, all trying to present the early rumours, how to export your data from the ‘sinking ship’ and any viable alternatives to the services.

The future is bright

There’s no question that the internet is still in its infancy. Services will come, go or be bought up in the inevitable shake-down that will see the cream rise to the top. Despite the initial ‘bad news’ of a possible shut down, any really great service with a poor or non-existent business plan, like Xmarks, will surely be snapped up and continue in some form. Other services like Delicious which haven’t progressed much in years in terms of new functionality and innovation, face the very real prospect of being overtaken by newish kids on the block like Diigo which notably allows you to cache bookmarked pages making them searchable in your bookmark archive. So don’t panic. If it’s a good service, it will probably be bought up or be replaced by a better one. The site AlternativeTo lists software and applications you might want to replace and gives great alternatives, based on user recommendations. It lists a number of excellent alternatives to Delicious including Diigo.

What can we learn

1. If you do keep up with the latest tech news with a blog RSS reader, don’t let the blogosphere ‘freak you out’ when shut-downs are rumoured. If you use Google Reader, try using Google Reader Filter to filter out the flurry of activity when these rumours or ‘bad news’ stories arise. Do this by adding terms like Xmarks or Delicious to your Excludes list. Then switch the filter off after a week or two to see what’s actually going to happen after all the rumours have died down. If you don’t follow tech news closely, you may just miss all this and wonder what all the fuss has been about. Indeed, tech news does seem to have a very short shelf life.

2. If it’s a great service used widely, chances are it will be bought up and continue in some form, possibly freemium,  so don’t panic.

3. The internet is still in the great shake-down. Many services are starting up to rival more established services and offering more bells and whistles. There are alternatives out there, or one will quickly emerge to fill the gap. For example, there are plenty of tech posts out now listing Delicious alternatives and how to export your bookmarks.

4. Make sure you can export your data from any service you rely heavily on and would miss if it were to fold so that if the inevitable does happen, you can quickly move over to a new service.

Any thoughts on this? Drop a comment below.

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