Dazzle Us Again, Del.icio.us

Update: See my updated post on del.icio.us, “More Stats on Del.icio.us, This Time Positive

It’s been nearly eight months since Del.icio.us was acquired by Yahoo, and it is still the reigning champion of social bookmarking.

But the recent numbers aren’t looking so good. In fact, by some measures they’ve tanked completely. Comscore shows U.S. unique visitors and page views peaking in April 2006 (at 455,000 unique visitors and 4 million page views). By June, those numbers had dropped to 350,000 uniques and about 1 million page views.

The decline is notable. Uniques have dropped by 22%, and page views have dropped by a whopping 75%, erasing all gains in traffic this year. Del.icio.us is effectively at the same traffic levels as they were when it was acquired in December 2005. And while the numbers may be off, the trends shown are probably more reliable.

One thing to note: these numbers are for delicious.com, not del.icio.us (although del.icio.us owns the .com domain name). I pinged del.icio.us founder Joshua Schacter to clarify and get a comment. His response was “gotta go thru PR, alas”. Oh, how times have changed – I found out about the Yahoo acquisition of del.icio.us through an open, PR-less instant message conversation with Joshua last December. In any event, I hope to get a Yahoo PR comment tomorrow on this, and have pinged the appropriate person.

Alexa tells a different story, with page view growth peaking in April and then going flat since then (I’ve added Digg to the linked chart for comparison purposes).

Whether either of these is correct, or the truth lies in the middle somewhere, del.icio.us is in a rut and needs to come out of it.

There have been a few notable feature improvements this year. In April they added a “network” feature which essentially improved the social network aspects of the site by making it easier to add and monitor friends’ bookmarks.

Today they added to that functionality, releasing a “network badge” widget for websites and a new way to see active users around a specific tag.

Between these two features, we are continuing our efforts to make people and connections more central to the del.icio.us experience. We have quite a bit more planned in this regard, so stay tuned and keep letting us know what you think.

yawn…so far, no one has even bothered to comment on the post, which is on the Yahoo Search Blog and tends to generate lots of discussion.

Has del.icio.us tapped out its userbase of early adopters? Will social bookmarking fail to go mainstream?

I think mainstream users will want to use del.icio.us, just as they are starting to embrace flickr features for photos (and which have been rolled out in Yahoo Photos as well). Some users call for a redesign…something flashier and bolder. I don’t think that’s the answer. Easier bookmarking and better tools for sharing seem like the right direction to me. Blue Dot, a company we recently profiled and which has since grabbed my attention, may have the right mix to get mainstream attention (I really like the ability to easily share bookmarks with just my friends).

Come on Del.icio.us..dazzle us again.