Future Uncertain for XmarksMonday, October 4, 2010 0:58
Earlier this year, I wrote about a wonderful bookmark syncing service called Xmarks. Since then, I’ve seen many friends and co-workers create an account with Xmarks. I was saddened last week when i heard that Xmarks had decided to discontinue its service.
The company’s blog went on to explain that they’d come to this decision based on the company’s inability to monetize on the service. Additionally, finding a larger fish to purchase the services fell through. This is very unfortunate as Xmarks is considered to be ahead of the curve in the bookmark syncing community. The service’s greatest feature is that it can sync between computers and browsers. A feature which has attracted over 2 million users.
However, this isn’t the end of the story. Shortly after the announcement, Xmarks was inundated by their users pleas for continued service. The voice of the community exclaimed why Xmarks was far superior to Google Bookmarks, Firefox Sync, etc. Many members went as far as to comment on how much they’d be willing to pay to keep the service going.
This lead to yet another blog post from Xmarks. The company’s CEO, James Joaquin, went on to explain why they hadn’t automatically gone the paid service route. He cited that there were a plethora of free alternatives. Native bookmark syncing support in Firefox (soon to be released 4.0), Google Toolbar and Google Chrome had made a significant impact in Xmark’s market share. Most importantly, changing the company’s revenue model would impact the entire company ecosystem.
James then went on to explain the costs involved in maintaining the Xmarks service. He also stated that they’d be willing to look into a premium service if there was enough interest. He set the bar at 100,000 users willing to pay $10 – $20 per year for the service. There’s even a pledge page. As of right now, they’re up to 19,000 pledges.
While the company is still short 80,000 pledges, the announcement has generated quite a bit of buzz. Recent activity on the CEO’s twitter account has indicated a huge outpouring of new companies interested in continuing the service.
The company’s future is still uncertain. It’d could be months until a new service comes around that touts the same features that we’ve come to know and love. Be sure to show your support for Xmarks.