The New Delicious Front Page is Broken and Easily Gamed

For years the Delicious front page has been the better Digg. No political bias, no teenage geek crap with b00bs, FAILs and pwns. Just die hard tech and web dev resources.

Today Delicious changed its front page though.

Now you get to see “fresh” bookmarks by default. That means getting popular on Delicious doesn’t mean getting on the front page anymore. Popular posts are hidden behind a “Popular Bookmarks” tab most people won’t click.

Now Delicious became a somewhat misguided Twitter/Delicious mashup.

Until yesterday you needed approx. 120 Delicious bookmarks in a short period of time (one to a few days) to get popular on Delicious. Then you ended up on the default front page. There you got a decent influx of traffic but most notably you got another few hundred bookmarks while being displayed there for at least several hours. Those bookmarks often automatically end up on blogs so delicious was always great for link building.

Just yesterday a post of mine on the SEOptimise blog, the 30 SEO tools you must know list got popular. Sadly Delicious does not honor excellent resources like this one anymore. I’ve watched the Delicious fp for a few hours today and saw mostly short-lived news sometimes propelled to the fp by just 4 or 5 tweets in the course of an hour or two. Yes, it really means just 4 or 5 people (or bots) tweeting about a link during an hour.

I doubt that it will stay this way.

This way the Delicious fp is useless.

It neither works like the old one nor can compete with the many successful Twitter link aggregators like Twitturly.

Also currently it’s ridiculously easy to game Delicious that is to get to the front page without truly deserving it. You don’t even have to use Delicious for that purpose. Everybody can manage to get 4 or 5 tweets about a link in an hour.

That’s not enough of bad news. Delicious not only counts links to one source it simply groups similar sounding tweets containing links as one and pushes one of the URLs mentioned in it as the source. For instance today a crappy pic about Japan got a few tweets and several other tweets dealt with Japan as well but they linked other non related pages. Nonetheless all of them got counted with the crappy pic as one just because they mentioned Japan in the respective tweets.

Now to be honest this is not what Delicious was intended for I think. I’d expect crappy pics on Digg, sometimes StumbleUpon and even Twitter but Delicious was the last refuge of true quality.

Now they try to jump on the Twitter bandwagon but lose their original purpose and character. Also the buggy implementation and easy to game system make the fp completely useless. Delicious calls this “The freshest bookmarks that are flying like hotcakes on Delicious and beyond.” but in fact they’re the most popular Twitter topics at a given moment. Two bookmarks are enough to appear on the front page.

So is the new good or bad for SEO?

The new Delicious front page is good for spam but bad for SEO.

You can push any crap with just a few tweets to the Delicious fp and most sites will end up on Delicious as a byproduct without even participating. Current Delicious users are clearly the losers with after this change. Great resources or link baits by bloggers or SEO practicioners who devise valuable list of resources won’t get the publicity they deserve anymore. Whether you hit the front page as “fresh” or you get “popular”, in both cases you don’t get significant exposure anymore.

Is the new Delicious fp good for it’s users? No, I don’t want random news like Bill Clinton arrived in North Korea on top of Delicious. I don’t care. Do you? OK, I can hit the popular tab but many people won’t even notice there is one while skimming the site.

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