Diigo vs. Delicious… Anybody Wanna Win?

   You'd think that two companies competing for a very similar market would each be at the top of their games. You supposedly get fat, dumb, and happy when there's little competition. Not so with Diigo and Delicious. The great idea of a "folksonomy of bookmarks" originally belonged to Delicious, I believe, allowing you (and everyone else) to bookmark a webpage and tag it with keywords. One can draw all sorts of interesting conclusions by looking at how many people have tagged a particular page.

   I've used Delicious for several years to create the tag cloud on the Original Green Blog. A tag cloud is a group of keywords, with the ones used most often in larger type. Click on a keyword in a tag cloud and it'll pull up all the pages you've tagged with that keyword. Nifty.

   Some time ago, Yahoo bought Delicious. Last December, they let it slip that they were planning on sunsetting Delicious. "But what will become of our tag clouds," many of us anxiously wondered. I tweeted "any ideas on a replacement for Delicious?" and in just a few minutes, Cindy Frewen Wuellner tweeted back that she'd been researching Diigo and liked what she saw. It had everything Delicious had, and more. I looked into it and agreed.

   Tens of thousands of users (or more) apparently agreed with us, and the stampede to Diigo was on. They were so flooded with new users that for many of us, it took a week or more just to import our bookmarks. And Diigo wasn't so forthcoming with how long it was going to take, leaving us hanging. They did say something like "power users may get quicker service" which hacked off the rest of us.

   Finally, my bookmarks were imported. But how to create the Diigo tag cloud? I searched several times over several weeks, but couldn't find anything definitive on their site, or through Google, about how to create a Diigo tag cloud. Wasted a ton of time. I tagged a few Original Green posts but then gave up, assuming I'd have to find another tag cloud creator.

   I'm now in the process of moving all my websites to Sandvox because Apple abandoned iWeb (another story for another day) and thought "I really need to resolve the tag cloud issue." I Googled and discovered that Yahoo hadn't killed Delicious, but had instead sold it to another company. Yippie-ki-yay! I'll just go back to Delicious!

   But then I started to wonder if the new buyer might have fixed the biggest Delicious flaw, which was not allowing spaces in keywords. For example, you couldn't have the tag "New Urbanism." Delicious would treat that as two keywords: "New" and "Urbanism." Clearly, much less useful. If you wanted to preserve the meaning of New Urbanism rather than just all things new and all things urban, you had to tag a bookmark as NewUrbanism. Or new.urbanism. Or new_urbanism. Or new+urbanism. All of which showed up as different results in a search.

   Modern tagging systems such as Diigo, Google Bookmarks, etc., have all fixed this by allowing spaces, and separating tags with commas. But not Diigo. The purchasers of Delicious (for what was surely many millions of dollars) amazingly didn't fix the biggest drawback to their new investment.

   This morning, on a whim, I went to Diigo one more time to see if I could discover how to make a tag cloud with all those bookmarks it took them so long to import. There, as clear as can be, was Tag Clouds on the Tools menu. Apparently, they were so overwhelmed with all the new users abandoning the Delicious ship in December and January that their servers couldn't handle it and they temporarily shut down their tag clouds. Or something. But they didn't tell anybody. So it cost me (and surely countless other users) a ton of time looking for a promised capability that simply wasn't there for awhile.

   So now I'm grudgingly back to Diigo... But I'm wondering: do either of them really want me?

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