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Name: Delicious, older variants are: and
Dates: 2003-2011 (see article)
Type: social bookmarking
Fandom: multifandom
URL: (from 2008-2016)[1] (from 2003-2008 and 2016-present)
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Delicious was a social bookmarking service that allowed users to save, tag, manage and share bookmarks from a centralized source. A significant aspect of the site was that, like many Web 2.0 sites, its tags were user-generated, non-hierarchical, and uncontrolled. Users created and applied their own tags in one step, and they could apply as many tags as they liked to each bookmark.

In the mid to late 00s, Delicious was probably the most popular social bookmarking service, both among fanfic fans and everyone else. However, Delicious's reign ended in September 2011 when the new company that had bought it relaunched the site with an unfinished redesign. Even after functionality was restored, the redesign made Delicious less useful to many of its former users.

In 2017, Delicious was bought by Pinboard.

Fannish Migrations

For many LiveJournal fans, Delicious represented a better solution to some existing link-hoarding practices, such as hand-coding lists of recs in LJ posts or using LJ's cumbersome Memory function. In general, the convenience of Delicious encouraged a shift from posting rec lists on fansites and blogs.

The site relaunch in September 2011 resulted in fanfic fandom migrating away from Delicious, initially to Diigo and Pinboard. However, the net result was an overall decrease in the importance of bookmarking as a public resource in fandom, even as some individual fans continued bookmarking either on Delicious or elsewhere. Possibly relevant is that the disastrous site change occurred during the same period that fans were migrating from LiveJournal to AO3 and Tumblr. AO3 has a bookmark function, and rec posts are popular on Tumblr.

Fannish Uses of Delicious

Fans who used Delicious used it to save fandom-related links or meta (in their own Delicious accounts) and locate recommendations for fannish reading material or find fanworks that might interest them (often using others' delicious accounts). Some fans maintained multiple accounts; others would throw fannish and non-fannish bookmarks into one account.

The following is a list of major fannish uses of the site:[2]

  • Bookmarking favorite fanworks on their personal accounts.
  • Creating and maintaining their own tags (hours of fun!), using either shared fannish vocabulary or their own system.
  • Maintaining an easy-to-update rec list for self, friends, fandom at large, and/or specific communities and projects. Delicious is well suited for themed rec list.
  • Sifting through a trusted reccer's delicious tags for fanworks to consume.
  • Browsing or subscribing to site tags related to certain fandoms, pairings, genres, or other fannish keywords. The number of users who have bookmarked a given webpage displays prominently and can be an indication of its value; using the "popular" function in particular serves as an automatically generated rec list.
  • Searching for your own name so you can see how many people have bookmarked your posts or stories and what they're saying about you.
  • Searching for Fanworks on the Internet: Hunting down a particular fanwork you know exists but lost the link to—because some fans use many descriptive tags and notes in their bookmarks using delicious could be much faster than using a Fic Finding community or google—or searching for any fanworks that fit a particular theme.
  • Finding updated URLs for fanworks that have disappeared from one location on the internet.
  • Other searches?

Looking at tag clouds or search results also allowed statistics-minded fans to analyse fannish trends, as well as discover new content.


Users could see their own bookmarks, their tags, notes and how many other people had bookmarked the same website. Tags could be collected in bundles which allowed a user to organize tags in groups such as "author" or "pairing".[3]

The notes field was especially useful for fans using Delicious for rec lists or newsletters.


Many fans named their tags to correspond to typical fanwork metadata such as author, fandom, rating, genre, character, pairing, and sometimes even length or status (complete or WIP) will be added to a bookmark. These naming conventions in turn made it easier for other fans to find fanworks by tag on Delicious. For example, a search for "fanfic" would bring up all recently bookmarked pages tagged with that term:

Some users added punctuation or other characters, often just to sort their tags alphabetically. Because Delicious tags were until the September 2011 relaunch space-separated, rather than comma-separated, tags composed of phrases are also likely to contain underscores (_) or periods (.). Atypical tags were more difficult to search on, but that could be useful if the user was browsing only the reccer's account.


Users could add other users to their "Network"—similar to a Friends List on LiveJournal. The network tab would then show all sites recently bookmarked by people from their network.


The Network was a good way to find new content, but Subscriptions allowed a broader scope. A user could subscribe to a certain tag, such as "fanfiction", and would then see all recently bookmarked websites tagged with that term.

Delicious Closure Scare

A December 16, 2010, news report stating that Yahoo was going to shut down Delicious[4] was widely linked by journaling fans, and mass fannish outcry occurred within hours.[5] Various existing alternatives were discussed, and there was talk of creating a new fan-friendly version of Delicious, a la Dreamwidth. The possibility of switching to AO3's nascent bookmarking feature was also floated.

According to later reports, there was a possibility of Delicious being sold instead of shut down. [2]

Many fans, and other non-fannish users, began migrating to other sites such as Pinboard and Diigo or using them as backups for their bookmarks.[6]

Delicious Sale and Renewed Opt-In Policy

On 27 April 2011, the acquisition of delicious by AVOS (an internet company founded by the founders of YouTube) was announced.[7] At that time, the transfer of content was expected to happen around July 2011,[8] but the new site was not launched until September 27, 2011.

Fannish users quickly started discussing the active opt-in policy and ToS, and ideas for archiving old delicious accounts that might become inaccessible once the sale and transfer were completed, as well as continuing to urge making backups of delicious bookmarks elsewhere.[9][10]

AVOS Launches New Delicious

Similar Occurrences

For other incidents in which platforms used by fan communities have cracked down on fanworks, discussion by fans, and fansites with "inappropriate" content, see:

For a more general related topic, see List of Content Banned by Archives.

Just before the relaunch: view of search results page for "fanfic"
A few months after the relaunch: view of the same search results page. Note the addition of a "Stacks" section, thumbnail image, and increase in whitespace. The total number of search results is less than half of the "before" search.
BEFORE: view of the search results page for "Inception" (a very active fandom at that time)
AFTER: detail of just the "Links" section. Note that an unrelated spam bookmark is the first result.

When the new Delicious was launched on September 27, 2011, it was met with an intensely negative response.[11][12] Immediately, many fans started accounts on other social bookmarking services (notably Diigo and Pinboard), people started posting and linking meta,[13][14] and one fan set up a google spreadsheet for people to self-report their user names on alternate services.[15]

One Tumblr user addressed TPTB at Delicious:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Delicious. I really appreciate the way that you have taken a user friendly, helpful and extremely useful tool and turned it into a convoluted mess that is nearly incomprehensible.

The part where there is no central location for all my tags is great. The fact that they are not listed in order of size, alphabetically or recent is even better.

I thought the way that you completely dissolved all the bundles I have made in favor of the much more confusing ‘stacks’ was inspired. I especially enjoy the part where you can’t create stacks using your own tags, but rather have to bring in the links individually.

I find the “has:____” tag that you added to be particularly helpful, as we internet users would not have noticed this in our own tags without it.

It was very smart of you to get rid of the tagging feature that let us select previous tags after we’d typed the first few letters. It was a silly and gratuitous and it made us lazy. We should have to type out the full tag, it builds character.

In short, thank you for turning our archiving resource into a social networking site. There weren’t nearly enough and I was probably reading too much fanfiction anyway.

Also, thanks for locking so many people out of their accounts. Those guys were getting pretty annoying.

You are an inpiration [sic] to websites everywhere.[16]

An interview with Delicious' new owner suggested that AVOS' vision of the site does not—and will not—mesh with fandom's needs. As fan runpunkrun said: "Our new digital overlord, Chad Hurley, gave an interview in which he complained about how things just got so hard when people were using Delicious to save links and tags and information. So he put a stop to it." [17]

The offending Q&A:

How is this different from the original Delicious? It became hard when people were adding all this information, tags and links. We’re applying a new layer of ways for people to explore the information. Relating to YouTube terms, playlists were an underappreciated feature of the site, and we saw an opportunity to introduce that concept in a broader sense against all media.[18]

The initial version of AVOS Delicious did not include tag bundles. Many kink meme, comment fic sites and newsletter communities relied on the bundles to organize the tags for creating or organizing their content. Some communities immediately switched to other sites, even though they did not offer the tag bundle feature either, often because other features or functionality was missing.

Many newsletters that used Delicious to collate their links were forced to hand-code or partially hand-code their posts, putting pressure on fans who had been relying on automation to make a labour intensive job easy enough to be handled by a few volunteers. The Delicious RSS feeds were non-functional for several days, and even though AVOS announced they were still supporting the old APIs, many scripts did not work after the re-launch. Some newsletter communities switched immediately to Pinboard since its API is very similar to the old Delicious one.[19]

Fannish interest in general focused on Diigo and Pinboard as alternatives. The quick and positive interest by the Pinboard owner, Maciej Ceglowski, in fannish users led to the creation of a collaborative GoogleDoc spec request for features he could implement to make Pinboard more attractive to fans.[20] The result was a document he described in a Tweet: "Watching that epic Google doc grow a table of contents. Soon it will acquire robotic exoskeleton and begin roaming the earth."[21]

The inevitable result of the Twitter conversations, and some comments in the GoogleDoc itself, was some Anthropomorfic.

End of the Site

Delicious' (and fandom's) intertwined history with Pinboard came to a conclusion in June 2017 when the site, after several more ownership changes, was bought out by Pinboard for a mere $35,000.[22] The initial plan for the site is for it to remain accessible online but closed to new content, with account holders able to migrate their content to Pinboard.[23]

Examples of Fandom-Related Delicious Accounts

Meta Commentary

Post-relaunch Reactions, September 2011

Other Resources


  1. ^ Delicious (website): Name on Wikipedia
  2. ^ Note: This list describes fannish use before the September 2011 relaunch. Changes in interface and functionality following the relaunch may hinder or make impossible some of the items listed.
  3. ^ Ironically, the official Delicious blog celebrated fandom's use of Delicious tag bundles in a 2013 post, two years after fandom had purportedly left Delicious.[1] Bundle functionality had been lost after the relaunch and was recreated some time later. See Community Spotlight: Fandom!, Posted on June 17, 2013 by jessie.
  4. ^ Is Yahoo Shutting Down by Alexia Tsotsis. TechCrunch
  5. ^ bluemeridian. Bloody HELL [aka @#%**! Delicious News], Dreamwidth post, 2010-12-16. (Accessed 17 December 2010).
  6. ^ Anatomy of a Crushing Pinboard official blog post which includes site traffic stats for the days after the closure announcement. (Accessed September 30, 2011)
  7. ^ YouTube Founders Acquire Delicious From Yahoo! "Promise Users the Same Great Service And Even Easier & More Fun Ways To Save, Share, and Discover the Web's "Tastiest" Content." -- press release at website, 27 April 2011. (Accessed 17 May 2011)
  8. ^ The answers to frequently asked questions about the AVOS transition help page at (Accessed 17 May 2011)
  9. ^ archiving links post by catechism at deliciouslymad LJ community, 28 April 2011. (Accessed 17 May 2011)
  10. ^ More talk post by anatsuno urging users to log in to delicious and opt in to the new ToS so their bookmarks remain accessible, 1 May 2011. (Accessed 17 May 2011)
  11. ^ oh my god (Accessed Sept. 27, 2011)
  12. ^ thread at Fail-Fandomanon (Accessed Sept. 27, 2011)
  13. ^ special edition of /report by rageprufrock and mklutz.
  14. ^ lian. quick'n'dirty delicious linkspam
  15. ^ the great delicious migration
  16. ^ Personally, I love the new Delicious. Really. (Accessed Sept. 27, 2011)
  17. ^ Batman hates it when Web 2.0 gets in the way of his bookmarking. (Accessed Oct. 11, 2011)
  18. ^ Delicious Relaunches: Exclusive Q&A With CEO Chad Hurley (Accessed Oct. 11, 2011)
  19. ^ Pinboard How To (API) (Accessed September 30, 2011)
  20. ^ Pinboard feature request - wishlist! (Accessed September 30, 2011)
  21. ^ Tweet from Pinboard official twitter on September 29, 2011. (Accessed September 30, 2011)
  22. ^ It’s the end of an era, as Pinboard buys and shutters,, 1 June 2017. (Accessed June 3, 2017)
  23. ^ Pinboard acquires Delicious, Pinboard Blog, June 01, 2017