Media Killed the Bookmarking Star: del.icio.us traffic falls below StumbleUpon, Reddit

For the first time in over a year, del.icio.us, the social bookmarking darling that made it cool to share your favorites, has fallen in traffic below social media powerhouses reddit.com and StumbleUpon according to compete.com’s December numbers.  Propeller, formerly Netscape, is closing in on del.icio.us as well.

While Compete’s numbers are often inaccurate, it is still a bad trend and lends to the idea that social media is replacing social bookmarking as a way to save faves.  Both StumbleUpon and Reddit, as well as most other social media websites, offer ways of saving or bookmarking websites beyond the primary ability of sharing stories, videos, and pictures.  StumbleUpon gives each user a blog that they can save any page that they review, while reddit offers an option to save any page that is submitted.

Reddit StumbleUpon del.icio.us

While social media sites can crossover to be used as basic social bookmarking sites, the crossover potential from social bookmarking to social media is more difficult.  In essence, it is possible, and having a story make the front page of del.icio.us has similiar traffic boosts as the social media sites, but it is far less interactive and the voting system really only works one way.  On Reddit and SU, a story can be downmodded or thumbed down, offering a way to keep the air clean of spam and worthless submissions.

What does this mean for the future of social bookmarking?  Overall, it doesn’t mean too much, other than stunted growth.  Those who are active and avid users of SB sites will still use them, as the categories and organization of the shared bookmarks still has tremendous advantages.  Still, gaining new users will be more difficult, as del.icio.us, despite its excellent name, doesn’t offer an interface as “sexy” as social media sites.

On a side note, compete.com is proving to not have a full grasp of social media, specifically the keywords aspect.  According to compete, the top keyword for Reddit is “beastiality”, for Propeller.com it is “impnerd”, and for Digg.com, it’s “Jennifer Love Hewitt Bikini Pictures.”  Relevant data.  Way to go, compete.

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Comments

  1. says

    Interesting post!…It’s really nice to see social sites compete with one another and also it’s good for us because as the competition tightens the services that each sites offer also become better.

  2. says

    There’s a tremendous amount of functionality available around del.icio.us that appears in browser toolbars and RSS feeds. The end result is fewer visits to the site while users gain far greater utility from the service. This is another example where pageviews continue to become less and less a measure of users’ involvement with a service.

  3. says

    This is a very interesting post, and I’m happy to see social sites being compared to each other instead of being compared to more traditional media…as there really is no comparison.

    As to your argument, I agree that social media sites may be surpassing social bookmarking sites in the traffic driving arena. However, I don’t believe social media sites such as Digg and Stumbleupon will replace del.icio.us. I have all three accounts and probably use del.icio.us the most frequently, probably because I feel they have the most straightforward and simple way of posting a link quickly. I work on several different computers and tend to use del.ico.us in place of my browser favorites.

    I agree that social media surpasses bookmarks in driving traffic. But I believe they have similar, but different purposes, so both are here to stay.

  4. says

    @Joy – Thank you for the compliments!

    @Joe and Erica – Absolutely right, both of you. If it were a gradual decrease, I never would have posted the story, but since the drop was large and sudden, I came to the conclusions that I did.

    del.icio.us and other SB sites will remain useful. One thing that I didn’t mention in the article is that their other disadvantage behind SM sites is their ability to offer more. del.icio.us offers just about everything it possibly could without crossing over into another style altogether, while SM sites can do just about anything with their interfaces. The title is misleading — it isn’t the death of SB, but it is a sign that growth will slow. They’ll keep what they have, but they probably won’t grow in users the way SM sites are growing. Not even close.

  5. says

    When I first joined del.icio.us, I used it to primarily for sharing with others. Then as I became more aware of other social bookmarking services such as reddit and stumbleupon, I still kept using del.icio.us over the others because del.icio.us is easier to use, especially for those site that don’t offer bookmarklets.

    In terms of social bookmarking, I’d still prefer del.icio.us over the others but do see that value in having sites recommend that aren’t pure worthless. From a research point of view, too many times I have googled sites that have a great hook but caused me to waste my time.

    Yet this fact does remain, perhaps del.icio.us is old but it is not going to just go away because others want other services such as ratings and reviews; it will remain a favorite simply because it is simple. As in Occam’s Razor, the simplest way to do things is often the right way.

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