Delicious – When the Cloud Looses Your Data – As Per Design…

In April this year Yahoo sold their Delicious online (some would say "cloud") bookmarking service to another company which required a move of the service and the user data from one company to the other. The companies did a sensible thing and only moved the data once the user had opted-in. That is a good thing and since I use Delicious regularly I was made aware of the move and I was able to act accordingly.

Not all users were that lucky though. Recently I got a call for help from a user who had links on Delicious that are quite important but which he suddenly could not access anymore. The problem was, as we soon found out, that he had not used Delicious for quite some time, perhaps half a year. That did not change the importance of the links store there, though. Unfortunately, the data migration period ended this September so the "new" Delicious did not have his account anymore, nor his data, nor did it help in any way to retrieve the data from the old service. Quite a nasty surprise.

So I was asked to the rescue. After some research on the web I found out that there is a way to still get the bookmarks from the old "Delicious" on Yahoo. It involves changing the hosts file on the local computer to redirect calls to and a couple of other domains to the Yahoo servers which still seem to sit around. For the details have a look here. With this kludge I was able to export the bookmarks into a local HTML file. Changing the hosts file, something a normal user would never do.

Yet another example why you should

    a) think twice before trusting an online service with your important data

    b) keep a copy of your data locally as well

Fortunately there are some alternatives available to Delicious in the meantime. Firefox Sync for example might be a replacement that is even better than Delicious and is now part of a standard Firefox install. It syncs bookmarks between devices, which is what I used Delicious for and furthermore it encrypts data before sending it to a server in the network (read: "to the cloud") so your data is protected on top of it as well.