Social bookmarks are bookmarks on the Internet. They allow users to store interesting links on a server and exchange them among themselves.
In order to be able to create a social bookmark, most services require a free registration. Once the account is opened, individual URLs can be stored as bookmarks. In addition to the URL, a title and further information such as tags are entered into the input form. After the social bookmark has been saved, it is also available for all other users worldwide.
Thus, the websites that are stored in social bookmarking services are given a particularly high visibility on the web. The well-known services include Delicious, Digg, Mister Wong, and Yigg. However, some of these services are no longer available or have meanwhile changed business models.
Social bookmarking services have a variety of features that users can use to make their own bookmarks and assist them in information gathering:
The great advantage of social bookmarks is the availability of the stored information on any computer with Internet access. QR codes can also be used for bookmarking. The stored information can be retrieved from anywhere in the world. The data is always kept secure so that all bookmarks will remain intact regardless of a defect in the user’s computer. Another advantage is the ability to quickly reach specific information. Searching in search engines often yields several million results. Filtering out the relevant information is difficult.
In social bookmarking services, on the other hand, users recommend websites that contain high-quality information. That way, one quickly gets to the necessary information source. Another benefit is that the services are generally available free of charge and can be used without limitation in the number of bookmarks.
Delicious is a social bookmarking service which was very popular especially at the beginning of the 2000s. Users can store bookmarks, i.e. links to websites, in order to manage these as a separate list with important Internet addresses similar to an address book. In addition, the portal works like a social network, and users can view the bookmarks of other user profiles and copy them.
In 2003, web developer Joshua Schachter started a separate bookmarking service named del.icio.us. He was one of the first to create such a web application. With more than a million users, the company was one of the largest in 2006. In the wake of this success of the bookmarking platform, many other projects of this kind were set up in a short period of time.
At the end of 2005, del.icio.us, as the service was called then, was taken over by Yahoo!. The website was relaunched in 2008 and from then was called just Delicious. Only four years later, the search engine provider gave up on Delicious and in 2011 the YouTube founders took it over.
To use Delicious, you have to be registered and logged in. Bookmarks can either be saved via a browser plugin or directly via your account. Today, there are also apps for smartphones and tablets, with the help of which Internet addresses can also be stored during mobile surfing. Delicious also allows you to import links via Facebook or Google+. Moreover, bookmarks can be transferred from the browser like Firefox to Delicious and vice versa.
At the end of the 1990s, browsers were equipped with fewer functions than today. Browsers such as Fireball or Netscape Navigator could not store bookmarks. Users therefore had no direct way to store and manage Internet addresses. Through the establishment of bookmarking services, it was finally possible to retrieve one’s bookmarks on any computer with an Internet connection. Delicious still works that way to this day.
Search engine optimizers can no longer use Delicious for link-building, as opposed to a few years ago, but still benefit from the link hubs that popular users have created on Delicious on the subject of SEO. In addition, the platform offers further advantages in everyday life:
Social bookmarks provide possibilities for link building from a search engine optimization perspective. Every user can set any number of links. Initially, links to a website that came from social bookmarking services were given great importance as a direct recommendation by a user. If social bookmarks are used in a natural way in addition to other link building measures, this can be useful.
However, social bookmarking services were quickly used as spam option. An excessive number of backlinks to websites were set, which meant that the service’s usefulness was on the backburner. The operators responded by setting nofollow attributes, so as to become less interesting for search engine optimizers. Little by little, countless social bookmark portals have been built for the sole purpose of improving the ranking of websites in the SERPs by setting bookmarks. Special social bookmarking tools allowed the entry of the same URL on numerous different portals.
However, Google also recognized the development of social bookmarking services relatively quickly and created Google Bookmarks in 2005. The outgoing links of these portals were therefore devalued by Google. As a result, social bookmarks have largely lost their appeal to search engine optimization.