I’d rather be lucky than smart, or so the saying goes. Luckily I got up to speed on tags and folksonomies just in time to notice that del.icio.us has received an undisclosed sum of venture capital to grow its shared bookmarking service from a hobby into a business.
Thanks to Rafat Ali for pointing to the blog entry in which delicious founder Joshua Schachter says “I am excited to finally be able to devote all of my energy to working on and improving this site, and I’ll also be able to acquire some much-needed infrastructure.”
Delicious lets people tag websites with single-word descriptors, such as java or firefox, and then share these tag lists with others.
Schachter was interviewed in January by Dow Jones columnist Jeremy Wagstaff. At the time Schachter estimated that delicious had 50,000 users and was adding users at a rate in excess of 15 percent per month. He also explained how he thought tags facilitated the finding and recalling of data:
“I want to split storing and recalling into two separate actions with the help of the computer, so that when you tag things you store, you can recall them more easily. In doing so, I have also made it easier for you to recall things that other people have stored. Tags facilitate and amplify this. Search is more associated with the recall, whereas tagging is more associated with the storage. Does that make sense?”
Now the question is how this social bookmarking service will evolve from a freeware project to a business enterprise — and whether profit creation can coexist with community development.
Meanwhile, doing this follow up on folksonomies gives me a chance to mention a development that I should have included yesterday but omitted for lack of time and mental bandwidth.
David Galbraith, co-author of RSS 1.0, recently launched a visual tagging utility called wists. Think of wists as the marriage of icons and tags. David has created a blog to explain the service, which he has launched with backing from Gawker Media’s Nick Denton.
I met David a couple of months ago at a dinner in San Francisco hosted by Tom Foremski, founder of SiliconValleyWatcher. Foremski, Galbraith and Denton are all former employees of the Financial Times, which has apparently graduated more than its share of talent to new media. I met Tom years ago when I was a high-tech reporter and we’ve been friends ever since.
Cause if you ain’t Mass Media, you’re Mini Media