Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Delicious and Pinboard

Homemade burger

Back in September the bookmarking service Delicious re-launched under its new owners after a period of uncertainty about its future. Whilst I’m generally happy with the changes, and am pleased that the site is finally getting some attention after several years of essentially remaining in stasis.

What the new owners are doing, however, is beginning to transition the site away from the traditional dumping ground for bookmarks (interesting or otherwise – personally I try to focus on just the interesting ones) and into, um, something else, although to be honest I’m not sure what. Of course, if you still want to simply dump links in there you still can, and I plan to continue doing that; in turn, I have the wonderful ifttt.com posting things to Twitter and Facebook (and importing starred items from Google Reader) and a WordPress plugin that posts a digest of the links each week on Saturday morning. It all still works, so I’m happy.

But clearly others aren’t so happy. A couple of blogs that I follow – the latest being the Guardian’s Technology Blog – have abandoned Delicious for rival service Pinboard. Pinboard is very similar to how Delicious was before the Avos acquisition – a very basic design focussed on the posting of links. It’s not the best-designed web site – small fonts, no images and clearly aimed at techies – but it works, and brings some advanced features. You can import your links from Delicious and keep the two synchronised.

Where Pinboard differs is that it costs money to create an account. Right now it’s $9.56 – the amount rises as more users sign up, so early adopters probably paid a few cents but soon sign-ups will break the $10 barrier. Being a paid service means no adverts and provides the site with a clear income source – something that isn’t clear with Delicious. And our recent experiences with Gowalla show what happens to free-to-use sites with no clear revenue stream. Pinboard shouldn’t have those problems and recent comments from its owner suggest that it’s doing fine financially.

So where does this leave me? I have accounts on both – in fact I signed up to Pinboard last summer when Delicious’ future looked bleak – but I haven’t brought myself to be able to use Pinboard. It’s certainly less well known and supported by fewer apps, even though it’s compatible with the Delicious API. Its Firefox extension is also pretty lousy, as it adds a whole extra toolbar just to show an additional button. And more of my friends use Delicious so Pinboard’s social features are of less use. But Pinboard also has good support from ifttt, so any recipes could easily be switched over, as could the weekly digest on this blog.

In summary, I don’t think I’m quite ready to leave Delicious for Pinboard yet. Pinboard needs a much better site design – more readable fonts and a consistent colour scheme would be a start, but the whole interface needs work – along with a much better Firefox extension, and support by services such as Shareaholic. But my account is active and ready for me to switch over to as and when it matures.

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