Cyberhoarding: The 5 best services for saving stuff online

Editor’s note: Former VentureBeat intern Sarah Mitroff wrote this post before leaving us for her new gig at Wired.

Five content-saving services have hit the market, but only the fastest and easiest to use will win. My organizational obsession led me to pit my favorite organizational apps, and a few I’ve barely used, against each other to figure out which reigns supreme.

To wrangle years of newspaper clippings, recipe cards, photos, and videos into an organized space, I decided to put Evernote, Springpad, Clipboard, Bitly’s Bitmarks, and Minilogs, a new link-saving service, to the test. I measured how fast and how easy each service saved a news article, a YouTube Video, an image, two recipes, and a bookmark.

Evernote: quick and comprehensive

As I prepared for this post, Evernote was my favorite to win. I use the service daily for notes and web clippings. After comparing it to the other organizational apps, I wasn’t as thrilled with its content-saving capabilities. The web clipper is fast but grabs all the HTML and extraneous formatting on a page. Evernote’s advantage is that you can edit unwanted content out of your saved notes. It’s downside is that it doesn’t effectively save YouTube videos. Evernote is my winner for saving content on the iPad, because its web clipper plays nice with Safari. 

Best for: making notes and saving webpages.

Springpad: content-aware and robust

Springpad and I go back a few years: I started using it to save recipes before its big redesign earlier this year. Its shining feature is that it’s content-aware, so it recognizes the types of material you’re trying to save. This is helpful when saving a recipe, a book, or a product you want to buy. Springpad’s clipper is far from perfect — it doesn’t always understand what you’re trying to save — but it’s the only service I tested that offers this feature.

Best for: saving content with context.

Clipboard: great for videos and links

At first, I wasn’t completely impressed with Clipboard. But the service grew on me. The clipper often makes me feel like I’m chasing a highlight box around the page, so this could use a bit of work. However, Clipboard did an excellent job of saving videos from YouTube and organizes clips in a simple and clean way. Clipboard’s biggest downside is that it basically takes a screenshot of a webpage, which prevents you from editing what you’ve saved.

Best for: videos, images, and links.

Bitly and Minilogs: link-only saving

Bitly’s Bitmarks and the newer Minilogs are two different services that do the same thing: saving links, not content. Minilogs creates a shareable collection of links for friends to use together, while Bitmarks is a more personal link-saving log. Minilogs is missing a clipper, so you must copy and paste links to save them. Bitmark’s clipper is fast and easy to use, even if the theme is cheesy.

Best for: links.

Conclusion: Two winners

It’s hard to choose an outright winner, because each of these services have their merits. Springpad wins for the best way to organize and view your saved content. When it comes to actually saving content, Evernote’s clipper has yet to let me down.

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What are your favorite ways to save the stuff you find online? What did I miss? Let us know in the comments.

Paper hoarding image via Flickr user Karl Sinfield

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