Anyone who’s anyone in the techno-savvy world has heard of social bookmarking service del.icio.us. It’s a spartan but full-featured link-sharing service that lets you save your favorite links, categorize them by tags, access them from any computer connected to the Internet, and share them with the world. And in case you were living under a rock last December, you probably also noticed that del.icio.us was purchased by Internet giant Yahoo. When Yahoo picked up del.icio.us, it had around 300,000 registered users. Even though recent stats have not thus far been released from either company, the number can only have gone up because of the association.
Earlier this month, Darren Rowse of the professional blogging blog, ProBlogger wrote a short post that listed some of the characteristics of sites that make it to the top of del.icio.us’s Popular Pages section. While del.icio.us is not a search engine, it is something that even non-registered users can and do use to discover new sites on the Internet. Because all the links archived by the site are gathered and tagged by honest-to-goodness human beings, some of the links found there can actually be more relevant than search engine results, depending on what you’re searching for.
Something that struck me about Darren’s list was that it wasn’t a treatise on how to reach the top of the del.icio.us popular page, but on a broader note, it described the sort of pages that people like to stick in their back pocket and save for later. The more people who want to save a link for later, the more people that link is exposed to on del.icio.us –just like an SEO ranking.
But could a social sharing site like del.icio.us be used for marketing? You bet! Now that Yahoo’s pumping money into it, as long as they don’t destroy the user experience, the user-base can only increase.
Since del.icio.us is not driven by an automated search index, you have to learn the rules of people again; publish the things that people like, and encourage them to bookmark your content. Instead of an SEO site rank or buzz in the blogosphere, you have to generate linkage. At the very least, a del.icio.us link to your site will earn you a point or two with the traditional search engines. And while del.icio.us marketing is probably not something you want to blow your entire online marketing budget on right now, it’s at least something worth keeping an eye on.