An interesting business and technology case study live in the making. To bring people up to speed:
- Del.icio.us (pronounced "delicious") is a social bookmarks manager that just secured some seed funding (cryptic post)... I liken it to having a free intelligent, sortable, distributable database for managing one's bookmarks. Proprietary software and free. Pretty easy to use. Quick to sign up and configure your browser (< 2 minutes). I started to use just yesterday although I have known about it for some time.
- Rumors are that the funding involves a prominent venture capital blogger (not confirmed, so I won't be specific here).
- For those not as adventuresome but perhaps curious, a good del.icio.us screencast demo (with audio) is here. You can watch about 2 minutes of it and get the gist.
- Now I catch wind of a free and open source clone ... del.irio.us via this great post at Bubble Generation. Here's a quick snip of the post:
... If you don't know, del.irio.us is the perfect example of hypercommoditization - it's a total (open-source) clone of del.icio.us. A shameless clone - it rips off del.icio.us down to the font sizes, and adds a few bits of it's own ...
... there are no entry or imitation barriers until it's too late - until your network is already the biggest. This is happening all over again - dot com 2.0s are failing to build entry or imitation barriers, and are getting hyperimitated - in every space, we see one innovator, and a huuuge wave of imitation (networking, tag servers...etc) ...
- Jeff Nolan (VC at SAP) now has an interesting $0.02 on the developments too. Basically, do we collectively allow copycat type of behavior? Will the market see this as fair? Fairness is something that should not be underestimated (think about the ultimatum game, "The Wisdom of Crowds," etc.). But is fairness the right frame? By the language some people are using, it seems that fairness may need to be a consideration. Dollars and subscribers talk in this sector.
It would be interesting to take a snapshot of the current subscriber base of each of these companies and how it develops over time. At any rate, if the VC I know (through reputation only) is involved, there will be barriers to entry built up for del.icio.us down the road. I cannot say about del.irio.us. I am only learning about them now.
Screenshot of del.icio.us (click to enlarge) versus screenshot of del.irio.us (click to enlarge)