August 26, 2008

Netvouz – A Quality One Man Bookmarking Show

By Mark Dykeman of Broadcasting Brain (FriendFeed/Twitter)

Despite recent predictions of the death of social bookmarking, the fact remains that there are still a number of excellent Web based tools out there that allow you to save and tag links to webpages in a public forum. Delicious and Magnolia are often regarded as the market leaders in this space, with funding and bodies to get the job done.

However, as the two leaders deal with interface and development model changes, there’s a pretty powerful bookmarking tool that’s been building up its own fanbase for a number of years. It’s practically a one man show and a labor of love. Let’s give Netvouz some of the attention that it deserves.

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Henrik Sjostrand has been pursuing his bookmarking dream for almost a decade. Netvouz (the name is a melange of the words "Net" and "Rendezvouz") has been in the public eye since 2005, but the concept emerged much earlier. Put simply, Sjostrand wanted a good Web-based bookmarking tool and so he built it. And tinkered with it. And improved it. And maintained it. With relatively little help from anyone else. The result is a quick and clean user interface and underlying application. Netvouz is a free service with virtually no monetization and no marketing except for word of mouth. Sjostrand says that his user base is "at 6 digits right now" although he plans to cull about 100,000 spammers from the user base. In terms of marketing and promotion, Sjostrand says:
"…Netvouz has grown very well by itself, and I actually prefer a bit slower growth so I can keep the site running well without suffering from poor performance, security problems, spammers etc."
He is focused on making Netvouz a strong product and doesn't spend time marketing the product.

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Sjostrand feels that his product has several advantages over other popular social bookmarking tools, including:
  • The ability to use both folders and tags for organizing bookmarks (he prefers folders for his own use, but recognizes the power of tags)
  • Performance (hence his emphasis on a clean user interface)
  • Link Checker and Broken Links Manager continually check to ensure that your bookmarks are still valid (I personally haven’t seen this function anywhere else)
Netvouz also uses a ranking system for bookmarks, allows notes, and allows bookmarks to be made either public or private. Potential future projects to enhance Netvouz include:
  • Better integration with Firefox and Internet Explorer
    (note that there is a Firefox add-on for Netvouz).
  • Further technical improvements for speed and ease of use
  • Possible creation of an API
    (I suggested that he should provide the ability to track Netvouz entries in FriendFeed)
Netvouz is strong in bookmarking functionality, but it does not have the same social or community functions that Delicious and Magnolia use. However, you can still share your bookmarks with other people. And, if nothing else, Netvouz is a good way to maintain bookmarks for yourself. Why not give Netvouz a try? Maybe it’s too much bookmarking functionality, maybe it’s just right. It’s definitely not too little. If nothing else, by supporting Netvouz, you get to support the "one man band" concept and recognize the work of a guy who loves his hobby.

Read more by Mark Dykeman at