YouTube founders buy Delicious, form new company AVOS

27 Apr 2011

It emerged tonight that two of the founders of video sharing site YouTube – Chad Hurley and Steve Chen – have acquired Delicious and are forming a new company called AVOS.

Few details are known about the new venture but that the intention is to relaunch Delicious. My guess is the social bookmarking world marries well with online and socially curated news trends. During an interview at the Dublin Web Summit in October last year, YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley expressed a keen interest in curated news and the role video and other storytelling formats will have in the years to come.

Delicious is a social bookmarking service that Yahoo! acquired in 2005 but to the consternation of many internet users it emerged after a board meeting Yahoo! intended to have Delicious “sunsetted”. However, rather than shutting it down, Yahoo! said it would rather sell it.

It emerged today that Delicious has been sold to Hurley and Chen for an undisclosed sum. Yahoo! said it will continue to operate the site until July 2011.

Hurley announced in October he would be stepping down as CEO of YouTube but would remain with the company. Hurley, Chen and Jawed Karim sold YouTube to Google in 2006 for US$1.6bn.

The future of storytelling

Speaking with during the Dublin Web Summit on the rise of social media as a news distribution tool, Hurley said: “Well, you can never plan for it but they say if a picture’s worth a thousand words, then a video is a million. Emotionally, for people to react to situations like Iran where it was a trending topic, you’d read an article and then see it in person, it’s really emotional. We still have a long way to go in terms of people producing their own video content to a really high standard

“It takes much more work and some amount of talent to produce what people think is valuable, but for YouTube it has been about that; people expressing ideas or capturing a moment in time, telling a story … it’s a chance to gain visibility. That’s one of the things I’ve been happiest about, just to hear what the community are doing with it for politics, what is newsworthy. People that otherwise have been part of the traditional system recognise they have chance to go directly to the top,” Hurley said.

What Hurley and Chen do with Delicious is anybody’s guess, but Hurley’s fascination with news and storytelling and the distribution of content suggests a bright future for Delicious.

According to a Q&A on the Delicious blog, AVOS intends to maintain the Delicious service with all of its functionality. “There may be a time of adjustment as AVOS re-launches Delicious, but the company’s intention is to add new features and grow the service overall.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years