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Name: Pinboard
Owner/Maintainer: Maciej Cegłowski
Dates: 2009-present
Type: social bookmarking
Fandom: multifandom
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Pinboard is a social bookmarking site.

The site came to widespread fannish attention in the fall of 2011 with the news of the possible closure of fandom's former preferred bookmarking platform, Delicious. Bookmarking service started with a single payment, but now charges new bookmarking accounts US$11 per year, and archiving accounts US$25 per year[1]

The fan outrage after the launch of the new Delicious in September 2011, and the fact that Diigo censored bookmarks with adult content, made Pinboard a more attractive option.[2]

Paywall Issues

Concern about the paying nature of the service was frequent in the early days of the great Delicious migration, for example:

Hi. :) i really enjoyed your delicious before everything got fucked up and i'm really sorry you lost access to your thousands and thousands of bookmarks (let's hope they're all there still). my own delicious is a complete mess, and i didn't back up anything (who could have known this would happen?). still, i am under 18 years and cannot buy a pinboard account. and i feel like if fandom migrates there, i won't have any part in it anymore. i'm sure others feel like this as well. :(

Hey, nonny. I’m sorry for being so slow to respond to this. Real Life kind of ate me there for a bit, and I haven’t been around Tumblr for a while.

So the good thing about Pinboard is that it’s open access: you can search for fics, and with the addition of all the fandom-specific innovations Macjet has made, and the popular/fandom page, you should be able to find fics just the way you could before on Delicious. [...]

I think the best bet for fandom is to push for something like dreamwidth or AO3, but for social bookmarking. Pinboard isn’t the best longterm solution for fandom because of its paywall. Til then, I’m grateful that I have a respectful home for all my 13,000 bookmarks! [...] [3]

In order to try and counter the financial barrier to entry, fans set up schemes to gift others with Pinboard accounts.[4]

Starting January 1, 2015, the one-time fee changed to a yearly subscription fee of $11 (with the archiving option remaining at $25).[5] While this didn't affect existing users, it raised the entry barrier for new bookmarking fans even higher.

Pinboard & Fandom

Pinboard appeared to be one of the better alternatives available to fandom, especially as Pinboard was actively courting fandom. In the words of the Pinboard owner, Maciej Cegłowski:

For any bookmarking site, the fan subculture is valuable because it makes such heavy and creative use of tagging, and because they are great collaborators. I can't think of a better way to stress-test a site then to get people filling it with Inception fanfic. You will get thoughtful, carefully-formatted bug reports; and if you actually fix something someone might knit you a sweater.And please witness the 50 page spec, complete with code samples, table of contents, summary, tutorial, and flawless formatting, the community produced in about two days after I asked them in a single tweet what features they would want to see in Pinboard. These people do not waste time. [6]

Many fans responded positively to having their opinions acknowledged and respected. Positive meta fic about Pinboard was written:

Hey, fandom?

What? Are you talking to us? Really?

Yep! Just wanted to let you know the / character works fine on Pinboard. If you have any questions about the site, I'll respond to your tweet with helpful and witty customer service in an average of 8.2 seconds, while simultaneously coding with my toes to fix every bug you find. I can also help you navigate the new delicious regardless of whether you're a Pinboard user. Be sure to check out these other online bookmarking alternatives too, and make an informed decision about which site is right for you. [7]

Anthropomorfic fanworks were also created. See for example The Morning After by ambyr and The Morning After (podfic).

In October 2011 Pinboard created the option for users to declare themselves members of fandom and have their bookmarks show up on a special popular/fandom page to make browsing for fandom content easier. Some welcomed that the page made it easier to find popular fannish bookmarks, some were concerned about separating fans and non-fans.[8]

On Sept 6, 2013, Pinboard Guy (Maciej Cegłowski) gave a talk, "Fan is a Tool-Using Animal, at a conference about his perspective in fandom using Pinboard:

What happens when you build a nice website, and a real community shows up that doesn’t meet your expectations?

Since the earliest days of Usenet, fandom has wandered the Internet, finding remarkable ways to assemble websites, plug-ins, and online forums into tools for sharing and organizing erotic fiction. Often ostracized and ridiculed for their hobby, this community of rather gentle people has learned to work with the materials at hand, building for themselves what they could not get from others, in the process creating a culture of collaboration and mutual respect other online projects can only envy.

Fans are inveterate classifiers, and the story of how they have bent websites to their will (in a process reminiscent of their favorite works) may change the way you think about online communities, or at the very least, about librarians. [9][10]

End of Delicious

Delicious' 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.[11] 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.[12]



  1. ^ home page, accessed 2017-01-04
  2. ^ bluemeridian. Diigo Censorship Heads Up & Delicious Migration Spreadsheet. Dreamwidth post September 27, 2001. (accessed 12 January 2012)
  3. ^ Answer to anonymous ask on bookshop's Tumblr, published Nov 8, 2011, accessed Jan 13, 2016.
  4. ^ Gift account exchanges post, published on the Pinboard Livejournal community Sept 29, 2011, accessed Jan 13, 2016.
  5. ^ New Pricing Policy on the Pinboard Blog, published Dec 14, 2014, accessed Sep 17, 2016.
  6. ^ The Fans Are All Right (Pinboard Blog) (Accessed Oct. 11, 2011)
  7. ^ When Bookmarks Were In Mustache Land by jedusaur (Accessed Oct. 11, 2011)
  8. ^ 22.10.2011, New feature: fandom self-identification by jedusaur
    24.10.2011, Popular Fandom bookmarks + Network by ein_myria
  9. ^ Fan is a Tool-Using Animal page on the dConstruct conference page, accessed Jan 13, 2016.
  10. ^ Fan is A Tool-Using Animal written version, posted on M.C.'s blog, accessed Jan 13, 2016.
  11. ^ It’s the end of an era, as Pinboard buys and shutters,, 1 June 2017. (Accessed June 3, 2017)
  12. ^ Pinboard acquires Delicious, Pinboard Blog, June 01, 2017