Social bookmarking goes mainstream (or attempts to anyway)

by Eszter Hargittai on June 29, 2005

The speed with which the major online players are coming out with new services these days is quite impressive. Yahoo! just launched the Beta of My Web 2.0. An important new feature is that they are now offering social bookmarking. Think (or Furl or Spurl or Jots or .. you get the point), but now available to millions of Yahoo! users without them having to find their way to such a site and create a new user account. It’ll be interesting to see if social bookmarking takes off at a larger and more mainstream level (read: past super-savvy Web users). If you have no idea what social bookmarking means (as tends to be the case with most of my friends who are not in geek world) you can start by reading a review of related tools or Yahoo!’s FAQ for a better idea of My Web 2.0 in general.

Using has allowed me to find some great sites that would have been unlikely to show up in my browser otherwise. You go to a Web site, you decide to bookmark it (but doing so on is like bookmarking it publicly) and then you can add tags to it to classify it according to your liking. The exciting feature of (and other such services) is that they show you how many other people have also tagged that same page. Clearly you share some interest with those people. You can then click to see their entire list of bookmarks or just the ones they have tagged similarly to the shared link. Chances are good that you’ll find some additional pointers of interest.

Yahoo!’s twist on all this is that you don’t have to make all the bookmarks public. You can make them completely private (you’re the only one with access), available to your community (people you’ve linked to your Yahoo! account) or completely public. I do think – just like with Yahoo! 360 – that Yahoo! should allow you to distinguish between different communities (e.g. “make available to friends”, “make available to colleagues”) and am hoping they will implement that feature at some point. My hunch is that they will also have to offer all the features available on sites like (and do so without requiring the installation of an additional toolbar) to get users of that system to bother with Yahoo! for social bookmarking purposes.

Apologies if My Web 2.0 is not available to everybody. I can’t quite tell. I was required to sign in to my Yahoo! account, but I don’t know if it let me proceed only because I am already a Yahoo 360 user.

UPDATE: Reading this article I just noticed that Yahoo! is calling the ranking of pages that comes out of this new way of organizing content “MyRank”, which is cute given Google’s famous “PageRank” algorithm.

{ 1 trackback } » Blog Archive » Social Bookmarking in Yahoo’s MyWeb 2.0
01.05.06 at 12:12 am



Abby 06.29.05 at 10:38 am

Well, I hope that you’ll provide feedback telling them to provide different levels and types of communities for sharing purposes.


Jon H 06.29.05 at 8:56 pm

It’d be handy if social bookmarking were combined with Amazon’s search inside the book.

Then it’d be easy to find “the good parts” of many, many books.


Jon Garfunkel 06.29.05 at 11:46 pm

Thanks, Eszter, for the pointer!

The moment I discovered, I predicted that it will be more popular than blogging.

YaWeb2.0 can copy bookmarks via RSS– but as “feed” dpesn’t mean “collection”, it will only copy your most recent ones. It scuttles the note (which many people don’t leverage in delicious). And like the deli, it also has a 255-character limitation on the note, which is reasonable (~30 words), but still a bit arbitrary.

Also, the URLs are atrocious-looking, the navigation is clumsy, it’s not clear how they’re going to scale the text when more than 10 people bookmark the same item.

It does show that anyone can develop social bookmarking; it ain’t rocket science. Josh has to move pretty fast to keep innovating


eszter 06.30.05 at 9:55 am

Abby – I did provide that kind of feedback already re Yahoo 360, but I’ll be sure to add it for this service as well.

Jon G – Yup, they still have a ways to go to make this an appealing and user-friendly service.


canadienne 06.30.05 at 3:56 pm

Yahoo is not the first tagging app to allow for private bookmarks. I’ve been using simpy for a couple of months precisely because of that — I just wanted an external set of annotated bookmarks, I didn’t want to make them viewable by all.

Comments on this entry are closed.