MDS Brand Blog

The History of Social Bookmarking

Posted by MDS Brand


Social bookmarking is a concept that many are now familiar with. The act of sending your friend a link via an email or text is proof enough that you are part of this massive movement. Social bookmarking refers to the act of saving the link to a site you would like to revisit in the near future. These links can easily be shared with others as well, further expanding your visibility and thus, expanding awareness of your brand.

The social bookmarking concept is fairly recent, having come to be around 2 decades ago when people started sharing bookmarks via online platforms. Accolades for this go to a company by the name of itList, the first to try this in 1996. During its launch with public and private bookmarks being accommodated, it sparked interest in social bookmarking. The following three years witnessed competition between the various providers of social bookmarking services as they worked toward maximum popularity. Some names that characterized these early years include ClickMarks, BackFlip, HotLinks, and Blink; most of which have since faded.

It is also good to mention that during this early phase of social bookmarking, WebTagger was developed by the Computational Sciences Division of NASA. Their findings were presented during the 6th International WWW conferences that took place in Santa Clara in 1997 during the month of April. Their concept was a bit advanced at that time as it could facilitate the sharing of collaborative bookmarks stemming from web-based interfaces. Comments on, as well as the organization of the data into various categories was also feasible with WebTagger.

Fast forward to 2003 and a similar movement akin to the initial social bookmarking sites came to existence, the idea of tagging. This was occasioned with the launch of Delicious, earlier on referred to as In fact, it was Delicious who coined the term “social bookmarking”. Other companies soon exploited the opportunity presented with this new trend and some even went ahead and gave new names to social bookmarking; social citation services. Some of the more notable sites include StumbleUpon, CiteULike and Furl just to name a few.

In the year 2006, new social bookmarking services providers; MagnitLiasolia, Blue Dot, Mister Dong and the famous Diigo came into the picture. These offered services tailored to meet the needs of various enterprises that relied on social bookmarking for marketing. The following year saw IBM launch the Lotus Connection and in 2009, Pinboard let the social bookmarking market have a taste of their social bookmarking services that came with paid accounts.

Most of these companies phased out with time but Reddit made a statement as the first of the social bookmarking providers to be ranked as the 32nd in the world in 2016. A notable development in 2015 is the launch of memosnag which became a favorite of many students who made use of it; which brings us to now.

In the home stretch of 2017, social bookmarking is still a very widely used marketing tool that emphasizes brand awareness. It embodies the “show, don’t tell” concept of marketing and while direct sales aren’t the primary objective of this marketing strategy, it maximizes visibility of your company. When the time comes that your customers need or want what you have to offer, you will be the company they think to go to first.

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Topics: Social Media Management, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Marketing Tips & Tricks