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If you really want to pull away from Delicious, use pinboard.in.

Image representing Diigo as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

There are a lot of tools on the internet, some are great, some not so much. Diigo is a tools you should stay away from. It seems like whatever you create on the service may disappear.

A while back, everyone thought that Yahoo was going to shut down Delicious and went out to find alternative web-bookmarking services. There were a number that stood out from the pack and received a lot of new users. Diigo, another social bookmarking service, came out as one of the leading competitors.

It turned out that Delicious was staying around after all and a lot of people went back. However, Diigo definitely increased their user base and is still going strong. I used the site for a little while, way back before the Yahoo drama, right after they gobbled up my favorite bookmarking services Furl. I’ve occasionally tried to use it in between now and then as well.

I more than don’t like it, I want to recommend you to stay away.

There are a lot of clever ideas in Diigo, the web-highlighting and sharing bar has most of them. However, I don’t like it when a site inserts a bunch of code into my rendered page. It’s one of the main reasons I don’t use StumbleUpon more. The lists and sticky notes are also good ideas and I want to acknowledge that as well. Annotation is clearly a big focus for Diigo as a service and that’s all in there.

The site itself is not very well designed. The left sidebar doesn’t make sense for most use cases. The whole thing just doesn’t look very good.

These are mostly side complaints however. My biggest problem is with how Diigo has implemented its Premium model in the past and how they might in the future.

Back when Furl disappeared and I had to move to Diigo I was using it for two things: collecting links in packages for research for blog posts to share with readers and archiving my work, so I could show it to potential employers, even if it disappeared off the web. Furl and Diigo both stood out then because they allowed you to archive the page you were looking at when you bookmarked it. This was great for saving clips or keeping track of constantly changing political campaign or party websites (which was part of what I was covering at the time).

Diigo took over Furl, transferred my bookmarks erased my cached pages. It was irritating, but not totally unexpected. I went through all the pages I needed to keep archived and re-cached them using Diigo’s system. I continued to save and cache stuff to Diigo for a while after that.

Then Diigo went Freemium.

When I received the notice, I didn’t think much of it. I noticed that they were now going to make people pay to use the page caching feature and didn’t connect it with my pre-existing cached pages. I simply assumed that my cached pages would continue to exist somewhere I could reach them.

Only later did I discover that the pages I had meticulously cached were no longer archived. This was especially depressing because the organization I had worked for had disappeared the posts off the internet, the very problem I had thought myself hedged against.

They had deleted their users’ content off the site without warning to increase the attractiveness of their premium product. This has to be the worst thing a service like Diigo can do. The action worried me so much that I stopped using the site all together.

It wasn’t because I was angry at Diigo for erasing my important content, though I definitely was that. The real concern is: if content disappeared without warning due to the premium version of the service, couldn’t anything you create using Diigo be held hostage to a premium fee?

All those extra features, highlighting, sticky notes, lists, etc… are interesting ideas and might be useful but are not exportable. If Diigo decides to make them premium functions the content you’ve put time into making on that service will be lost.

That’s why I’m recommending you should avoid Diigo.

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  1. Terry Elliott on Monday 19, 2011

    Undoubtedly, they screwed up, but I won’t stop using it. I archive all bookmarks to Delicious. And…if diigo fails I will move on …If I had adopted your attitude, then all the good work I have done with students and colleagues over the past year might have been for naught.

    I liked many of the related articles that nicely balance your opinion.

  2. Ironyngman on Monday 19, 2011

    Looks like somebody has gotten ‘active” with DIIGO. For the last 12 hours or so, their service has been unavailable. Shows symptoms of an infiltration attack. If that’s true, could data be at risk?

  3. jayism on Monday 19, 2011

    I have been using Diigo since about 2012, well I signed up in 2011 some time, but didn’t really become active until I had time to sit down and go through all the ‘Tours’ and info, tools etc, and since then I have had no downtime I have been aware of, nor lost any files. The thing I dislike the most is the Groups and Lists, that is so confusing until you get used to it, and by that time you’ve already set up all these categories. More information is what is needed, it’s basically the same content as 2012, though the design changed a little in 2013, it should have a CLEAR step-by-step and what it best use for Groups, then Lists. I jumbled my 1st account up sooo much with near identical groups/lists I just started over with a new account (keeping the original as archived account)….

    I get ur point about Premium holding content hostage, buts it’s now 2014 and things have only gotten more sophisticated and better for the free user. Including much more sophisticated Plug-Ins for Chrome & Firefox.
    I did notice you’re PinBoard.in ‘similar site to choose’, though in 2014 it costs over $10 just to join (one-off fee), and for a lousy designed and layed out tour, I don’t expect them to be getting many signups 3yrs on, my business is startups and I’d never heard of it until you’re post. The features I read through seem great, but they should do more than a tiny logo and plain text and blue links on the “Get To Know us” pages to encourage signups.
    I’m willing to give it a go, as I too am looking for a backup, and for some reason never liked delicious, though the “New” Pocket Android App & Web Service tweaked my interest before writing this post… But perhaps our Crowd-Sourced Development Collaborative (twttr @Code_Collective ) will try our hand at something with more of what Diigo has, with less playing with peoples bookmarks & also more new-age web trending for capturing and also keeping data social and private (only jotted a few exclusive idea’s down in last few hours, nothing to rant over yet)… We are still only New, started by a few newer Invitees on the Forrst.com Creative Community (also now overtaken by corporation recently) & since the Crowd-Sourcing Idea is fairly new in itself we can always use like-minded freelancers/students/guru’s/teachers/system admins to hardware lovers as we expand.
    All freelancers can put any work done on their personal portfolio’s + we get alot of freelance work ourselves, especially as we are officially an Organization now & people wish to donate dollars, skills, ideas and also work! A BIT OFF course, Sorry!

    All I mean to say is nice argument, and I’m sure with all the new things going on around the web, I’m sure there will be alot more niche’s in this department in another 3yrs than there was 3yrs ago when this was written!!

    Lovely read btw,
    @jaycameron

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  6. cmilu on Monday 19, 2011

    what about collamark.com? a recently started easy-using marking tool

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  8. datta on Monday 19, 2011

    I recur your thoughts. I am getting this message “Your highlight number is over quota: 500 highlights for Free Plan, you have 2834 highlights.” so it is time to move on from diigo.


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