Review of Best Social Bookmarking & Social News Services

August 27, 2006 3 By Tad Reeves

As you’ve no doubt seen from earlier posts, I had been looking all over for Social Bookmarking services, looking into which are good and which are just sort of half-implemented, and which ones can not only be useful for you, but useful for others as well.

There are a few sides to this.  One is that many people (like me) find themselves at several different computers throughout the day — home, work, various places at work, etc.  So, having a central place to store favorites which are on the web is way better than having to e-mail links to yourself (like I’ve done a million times) and so forth.  Additionally, while various websites and their “send to a friend” features are nice, the more Web2.0 way of doing it is really to have these interactive sites that you can just have your friends use which contain all of your nifty bookmarks and your friends can just know to go there.

I’ve looked at several in this light, in that there are more than 100 services out there — and finding one that was useful for me and useful for others was a bit of a chore.  Here’s what I found:

First of all, there are two types of Social Bookmarking sites — one is for the purpose of getting exposure and traffic to pages you bookmark, and the other one is more for your own personal use and the use of your friends — with the fringe benefit of some SEO if a lot of people are doing it.

Sites for Getting Exposure:
Here are the bookmarking sites I found which have the prime purpose of getting exposure to neat links that you find around the web:
1)  Netscape is, in my estimation, the best of the newsey-type bookmarking sites.  Foremost in my reasoning is that it has a lot of different categories for news (technical, religious, celebrity, family, etc), so just about any significant page you come across can have a good home on the site.  The site, in my experience, has also had the biggest results in terms of how much reciprocal traffic then comes back to sites you bookmark.  My first test on Netscape, a link I posted to my Blog, got so much traffic that in 48 hours my blog was deactivated due to exceeding my bandwidth limit.    That’s saying something.
2) Digg is much more technical-oriented than Netscape, and therefore has a smaller breadth of sites which can really find an appropriate home on the site.  Also, I’ve found the site to be way slower than Netscape, something that tries my patience.  However, there are a ton of nifty features on Digg which make it easy to post and vote for stories you like, and easy to see what people who vote similarly to you also are interested in.  It makes it easy to browse and look for stories that I would actually be interested in.
3) Much more rudimentary version of vote-based bookmarking.  I had a hard time really getting in to this one.  Tough to figure out, and not nearly as useful or presentation-friendly as Netscape or Digg.

Social Bookmarking Sites:
These are sites which are there more for the purpose of storing and sharing your own links, as well as making public those links so they can be found.
1) – Kaboodle:  I found Kaboodle to have, by far, the best bunch of features of any Social Bookmarking service.  One can easily make pages of grouped links which are extremely easy to share.  For example, a page I made on the speeches done by David Miscavige (which I wanted to have all in one place) now show up with a regular, easy-to-type “.html” page URL that I can just type in myself or share with others.  Likewise, when Iw as doing a bunch of research on SEO, I used Kaboodle instead of my regular Firefox bookmarks — just using the “Add to Kaboodle” button that goes in my bookmarks toolbar.  I actually found it was easier to do this than to work out an organization that made sense in Firefox.  Further, I was then able to share this grouping of pages with others ( for your edification).   Descriptions of links and pages and items are also easy to add, and you can then share your Kaboodle links with others.  So, though the site is only in beta, I would heartily recommend it as it has a ton of features.

2) – Furl: I found Furl to also be a very easy one to use, and is faster to bookmark sites than Kaboodle.  It doesn’t have the same visual flair, but allows for nifty groupings of items, and also allows you to see how many people have viewed the items you have bookmarked.

3) – The old heavy-hitter. definitely doesn’t have the visual flair of other ones like Kaboodle or even Simpy, but is used everywhere.  The other nice thing is that bookmarks you add to can be imported into many other different bookmarking services directly.

4) – BlueDot: This one probably has the slickest way to add bookmarks, which makes it extremely useful.  You can click “Dot this” in your toolbar, and a little baby window will pop up and allow you to still select text in the page you’re bookmarking while keeping the add-to window open.  This makes it easier to grab little relevant pieces of content and stick them in your BlueDot list — which then makes your list more valuable to others.

5) – ClipClip: This is an incredible service that allows you to highlight whole pieces of websites that you want to share with others – which you can then group into “activities”.  For example, let’s say you wanted to “get help” or “find out about scientology“, you can create whole sections of web pages that forward that activity or answer that question.  Very useful for the researcher.

There are, as I mentioned earlier over 100 different such services, which I linked to in a previous blog.  However, the bottom line of many of these is this:  Sometimes, when you’re sitting in front of Google, you can get exactly what you want from a first-page search result.  If so, that’s great.  However, other times, you have to sit and pound away at searches for hours before you’ve gathered what you needed.  For those times, if someone has already done a whole ton of research on something and put it in a social bookmark file, it could potentially save the Internet researcher a ton of time.

I welcome any additions to this on good services people use and like!