Can YouTube co-founders work their magic on Delicious?

Yahoo sells social bookmarking service to Chad Hurley and Steve Chen

Popular social bookmarking service Delicious is getting a second chance.

Deemed irrelevant to its business plans by Yahoo, which purchased the site in 2005, Delicious has faced an uncertain future in recent months, despite die-hard support among its millions of users.

But the two guys who founded YouTube (and sold it to Google for $1.76 billion in 2006) have agreed to purchase Delicious from Yahoo for an undisclosed amount of money.

Chad Hurley and Steve Chen said Delicious will live on as part of Avos, a new Internet company recently started by the pair of entrepreneurs.

The question is, will Chen and Hurley make Delicious work for Avos's business model, which is undefined at the moment.

In a statement announcing the deal, Hurley said:

“We’re excited to work with this fantastic community and take Delicious to the next level. We see a tremendous opportunity to simplify the way users save and share content they discover anywhere on the web.”

(By the way, here's how new Avos is: Its home page -- avos.com -- is the Delicious press announcement.)

Yahoo aroused the ire and concern of Delicious users in December when a leaked internal document showed the social bookmarking service listed in the "sunset" category (i.e. doomed) of Yahoo sites as the company struggled to reorganize and reinvent itself.

In response to the ensuing furor, Yahoo said it would try to sell the popular site rather than simply kill it off.

Then, in March, The Next Web reported that Yahoo had sold Delicious to a "rival bookmarking service" for more than $5 million. The Next Web described the buyer as "an existing competitor with (a) 'strong user base.'" Since Avos is brand new and has no user base, clearly that rumor was unfounded.

Yahoo on Tuesday announced that it and Avos will work to provide a smooth passing of the bookmarking torch.

"There will be a transition period where users can elect to sign up for a new account. Users’ public and private bookmarks will be maintained through the transition period and transferred as they are today when it is complete," the company said.

Here's a FAQ from Delicious explaining the transition process.

Avos and Delicious are based in San Mateo, Calif.

Delicious was started in 2003 by Joshua Schachter, who sold it to Yahoo two years later for a reported $18 million. The service had more than 5 million users as of 2008.

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