Update, 1:39pm EST: In a just-published blog post, Delicious says it’s not shutting down, but it’s not staying at Yahoo either.
In the wake of Yahoo’s layoffs of 600 employees, it makes sense that the company would tighten its belt; if the above leaked slide is for real, that tightening will kill off a few of Yahoo’s established services. Eric Marcoullier, the co-founder of MyBlogLog — one of the sites purportedly affected by the shutdown — tweeted a picture of what appears to be a presentation slide from a Yahoo products all hands presentation, dividing various Yahoo web products into “Sunset,” “Merge,” and “Make Feature.”
Yahoo’s Chief Product Officer Blake Irving seems to have all but confirmed the authenticity of Marcoullier’s slide with a threat to fire whoever leaked it: (h/t Liz Gannes) “@bpm140 @joshu Really dude? Can’t wait to find out how you got the web cast. Whoever it is, gone!”
Among the items on the sunset list: Delicious, Yahoo Buzz, MyBlogLog, and Altavista.
Update: Danny Sullivan received the following statement from Yahoo, which confirms the sunsetting of Yahoo Buzz, but leaves Delicious’ fate ambiguous: “Part of our organizational streamlining involves cutting our investment in underperforming or off-strategy products to put better focus on our core strengths and fund new innovation in the next year and beyond. We continuously evaluate and prioritize our portfolio of products and services, and do plan to shut down some products in the coming months such as Yahoo! Buzz, our Traffic APIs, and others. We will communicate specific plans when appropriate.”
Full lists in a more readable text format:
Yahoo People Search
Yahoo Babel Fish
Yahoo Address Book
Yahoo Message Boards
If this is for real, the sunsetting of Delicious is the biggest shock on the list. While it isn’t the dominant Web 2.0 force it was when it launched in 2003, it still has an active userbase, and the Delicious blog shows that Yahoo has been continually upgrading aspects of the service, with a posting as recent as December 9th. Another post by Delicious mentions that some users have more than 250,000 tags in the system. As Mat Honan notes, (again, assuming this is legit), “Del.icio.us users, you are going to want this: https://secure.delicious.com/settings/bookmarks/export.” [This link lets Delicious users export their bookmarks when logged in.]
Update: Britta Gustafson, formerly a Delicious team member, responds to a “please explain” thread in Delicious’ forums as such: “Unfortunately there are no team members left to explain – they were laid off on Tuesday, according to what they’ve said on Twitter.” Gustafson claims to be posting as “a user with no special knowledge.”
John Gruber says the same, citing a friend: “The whole Delicious team was fired yesterday, according to a friend who works at Yahoo.”
Update2: A #savedelicious campaign has sprung up among Delicious users who don’t want to see the service killed off.
Update3: The following memo from Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz has leaked. No specific mention of Delicious, but these two sentences will give Yahoo Products users cause for worry: “First, we’ve found a lot of duplication in work between Products and the regions. Second, it’s no secret that we’re cutting investment in underperforming and non-core products so we can focus on our strengths (like email, the homepage, search, mobile, advertising, content and more).” (via The Guardian)
I want to share some tough news with you. Today, we began notifying some Yahoos that they will lose their jobs. Most of the reductions will come from the Products org and, when completed, will affect about 4% of the company.
I know this has been rumored for some time. It’s disappointing when things like this leak, and it certainly doesn’t make it any easier for anyone involved. This was a tough call, but a necessary one. We need to make these changes now to ensure that Products is structured and running the way we want as 2011 begins. And that means we need fewer Yahoos in some areas, and different types of Yahoos in others.
There are several reasons for this. First, we’ve found a lot of duplication in work between Products and the regions. Second, it’s no secret that we’re cutting investment in underperforming and non-core products so we can focus on our strengths (like email, the homepage, search, mobile, advertising, content and more). And lastly, we need to get the Products cost-structure in order so it aligns with our development plans for next year and beyond.
You’ve heard me say before that I didn’t come to cut Yahoo! to greatness. That’s still true. This decision is about more than cost savings. The changes are meant to get us into a position so we can invest more in the kind of products and technology we know we need to be successful. The process that begins today-along with Blake’s past org changes and new Products operational plan-helps to get us there.
It’s never easy to say goodbye to Yahoos we know and work with, especially before the holidays. Please know that we’re helping those affected with severance pay and benefits, plus services to help them find other jobs.
One last thing before I go: It’s important to put this in perspective, and remember that we’re making good progress on our turnaround. Margins have expanded. Revenue growth has stabilized after a long period of decelerating trends. Product rollouts are accelerating as we modernize our infrastructure. Our Search alliance with Microsoft continues on schedule, and more.
We’ve got a lot of potential, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Let’s stay focused and not lose sight of that.