I don't need to point out that there's a lot of interest in social media and linkbaiting right now. That's a good thing. However, we're going to see many social media sites close down this year.
There are people who think social media is new. It's not. Over at work our RSS feed has been in place since 2003. It's common to find a blog in its fifth year. Despite all the interest and enthusiasm some of the original social media sites are struggling and some even dying.
The social media field is getting tough. Spam is on the increase and some of the older sites are shutting down. Maple is closing down. Maple has been a bookmark manager since 2005. It was one of the first to integrate with Firefox extensions. Taggle is closing down too. SocialBookmarking.org is a state of disrepair.
It's worth noting that Taggle.de and Maple.nu were multilingual. Social Media is strong at the core right now - but only in English. It's the Asian languages which are vying for second place. Mainland European languages are punching below their weight.
Spam is a problem too. Digg's battles with its algorithm and users are infamous. Spend a minute reviewing the drivel that comes into del.icio.us and you could loose heart. Over at Linkatopia, Robert Giordano is looking for moderators to help Design215 fight the spammers. Linkatopia say they're one of the first to fight back against the spammers. They are. It's a tricky battle though - will they get any moderators? I certainly don't have time to help. What about false positives? Imagine if you social bookmark network started to delete your bookmarks?
Adam Loving at Lookmarks notes the problem too. Lookmarks had a good year. The site made people's lists. As a result Lookmarks is on spammers' lists too. He's left to weed out the trash himself. He's put on a brave face but it must be a soul destroying task.
The social bookmarking sites face a problem that the traditional hierarchical directory sites do not have. Directories like Best of the Web don't need people to work, they need websites and the incentive of PageRank to bring in customers. Social bookmarking sites don't have customers, they have users and will struggle without them. One website can be submitted to many different directories but it is unlikely that one user will submit to very many social bookmarking sites.
Simply put - more and more social bookmarking sites will close. Small directories can continue on forever. Small social bookmarking sites won't.
(The I support nofollow campaign reaches day 2 with a mighty 1 supporter.)