The social bookmarking service Delicious has changed hands twice in the past decade, but has failed to attract a mainstream audience.
Now it is sold again. Science Inc., a technology investment and consulting firm headed by Michael Jones, the former chief executive of My space, is expected to announce Thursday that it has bought Delicious to anchor a new portfolio of mobile content companies.
The deal is actually a bet by Mr. Jones that he can reinvigorate a business that has appeared to be a lifelong mender.
He buys Delicious from Avos Systems, a company formed by Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, the co-founders of YouTube. Mr. Hurley and Mr. Chen bought Delicious at Yahoo in 2011, after Yahoo reportedly considered shutting it down.
Mr. Hurley told the New York Times that year he would “try to introduce Delicious to the rest of the world.” Some aspects of the site have been improved and a spokesperson said it receives around 200,000 new registrations per month. But Delicious remains a niche service, with around two million monthly active users submitting links.
Mr. Jones, who left Myspace in 2011 after the long-suffering site was sold by Press company, said he went to see Mr. Hurley and Mr. Chen with a proposal to acquire Delicious from them. The founders of YouTube have agreed to sell the company so they can focus more on MixBit, a new video app, Mr Hurley said in an interview on Wednesday.
When Avos first purchased Delicious, “we were excited about the community and the technology and that we would hopefully be able to innovate it. To a certain extent, we think we’ve done it, ”Mr. Hurley said. “But for us it was really about focusing.”
Terms of the sale were not disclosed. Science Inc. buys the technology without acquiring workers.
When asked to share his take on Delicious, Mr Jones said he intended to keep it largely as is, while making a few changes, like removing advertising.
“They have a huge amount of data and an incredible understanding of what’s going on on the web,” he said in an interview. “At the end of the day, we think they serve this truly unique community as a daily public service.”
Delicious, established in 2003, was sold to Yahoo two years later, but its growth has proved disappointing. Mr Hurley said the service, when he purchased it, “hadn’t been affected for five years. We had to revamp and rebuild the entire site from scratch.
The site allows users to bookmark online content and store links of interest. Science Inc., based in Santa Monica, Calif., Said Delicious was its first investment in a new portfolio focused on data and mobile content.
In the past, Science Inc. has supported companies such as Dollar Shave Club, a subscription-based shaving products company, and DogVacay, a dog-sitting service.