Raw Sugar Expired

January 8th, 2007 at 12:00 am

This social bookmarking site was created to directly compete with del.icio.us. Launched in 2004, RawSugar has announced their closure late 2006. Though their website remains online and usable, it’s a matter of months until they’ll be gone for good.

I’m really new to social bookmarking, For me it’s something like a search engine using the power of masses principle. So I tried the search function of RawSugar which was the only thing that looked familiar on their site. After hitting enter, the engine provided a bunch of results on the right side of the screen. On the left side, there were a bunch of tags organized into categories that were supposed to "refine" my search. Unfortunately, I searched for a non techie topic, Cayman SCUBA diving. I got 2 hits. I guess it isn’t the program’s fault that the results were too few since the engine uses the power of masses to provide results. I also tried a techie query, "web2.0". Sure enough, I got countless hits.

In fact, Raw Sugar has a directory of Web 2.0 blogs aside from the generic blog search. So for every search, the user can already specify if he wants a Web 2.0 blog result or not.

Next I tried another function of RawSugar, MyWatchlist. It was supposed to be a list of URL’s that have been tagged and categorized by me but when I did try to add a blog, I’ve no idea where it went! After ckicking "add" there was a Ajax pop up that said, "Adding blog to MyWatchlist", but when it disappeared and I returned to MyWatchlist, it was still empty!

In RawSugar’s "Learn More" page, they promised that their service was easy, efficient, and fun. So far I’m completely lost. The search and navigation tabs aren’t always on the page so I was clicking "back" on my browser most of the time. They also have a menu bar at the bottom of the page, but this becomes a problem for me since the page does not always fit on screen so most of the time I needed to scroll down o get to the menu bar if I haven’t clicked on the "back" button on the browser yet.

Saving and bookmarking stuff on the web is the core of RawSugar. They make this possible by installing toolbar buttons in your browser that instantly bookmark any page on the net and saves that to your RawSugar directory. Installing the browser extension is easy. Using it is easy as well and there are some things you need to fill out when saving, like tags, and categories so your RawSugar directory doesn’t clutter up.

Lastly, RawSugar also provides a guided search for every blog. Guided search is a way of organizing tags in hierarchies. RawSugar uses user generated tags and the relationships between those tags to provide an accurate search. Moreover the parent-child relationships between tags allows RawSugar to display all "children" tags when the "parent" is searched. For example, for a search query of Music, hits will include, hip hop, RnB, jazz, artists, rock, instruments.. etc.

The user can opt to install RawSugar guided search in his own blog so all new entries are automatically synced with RawSugar. The guided search also includes a search bar for the blog. It’s a Javascript code that can be copied, pasted and edited in CSS to fit any blog ‘s look and style. Furthermore, the search bar enables viewers of the blog to search within the blog hence never leaving the blog. This is an important feature of RawSugar’s because it keeps users happy and consequently increases traffic in the blogs.

So why did RawSugar close shop? Well, they didn’t exactly bring anything new to the table. Del.icio.us already had these features when RawSugar came into play. Moreover, RawSugar is not venture capitalist, it’s personally funded by its founders who have offices in Silicon Valley and Israel. They probably had too much overhead expenses and too little users signing up. Anyways, it’s just how things go. Now, the founders of RawSugar are looking to develop their next great idea.