Why do people bother to put their bookmarks in del.icio.us? Why make the effort to use tags that are familiar to other users (do people make this effort very much)?
The usual first response I get when I ask why people contribute to del.icio.us is that it is a convenient place to do their private bookmarking (largely because it’s portable, available from any connected machine), and the public benefits of their effort are just icing on the cake.
CollaborativeRank is a search engine that uses del.icio.us to weight the information returned, and generates those weights based on how expert different users are at finding new content others find interesting (based on how often later users copy the bookmarks they first identified). CollaborativeRank claims that it is providing an incentive for users to be timely and effective del.icio.us contributors:
“There is something missing from PageRank: a reward system for people who create hyperlinks to helpful or timely websites,” said CollaborativeRank’s developer, Amir Michail, a software engineering researcher at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.
“Del.icio.us (already) has a reason for users to provide helpful or timely URLs: convenient management of their bookmarks. CollaborativeRank gives them another reason: greater influence over search rankings.”