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End of the Road for Xmarks (xmarks.com)
201 points by willwagner on Sept 27, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 108 comments



Man, I'm gutted. I use Xmarks every day to sync from my work & windows machines (Firefox) to my MacBook (Safari) and thus to my iPhone / iPad. I'd have happily paid $5 a month or so to use Xmarks and I imagine I'm not alone.

It's really unfortunate that they won't even try the freemium, or (shock!) even the outright pay to play approach. I'm sure with two million users there would have been enough paying customers to create a profitable business.


I cannot comprehend how they aren't even going to TRY to charge for ANYTHING.

How the fuck do they think this whole cash flow thing works?

2 million users, and they don't even put out a god damn paypal donation widget? Show ads? Freemium anything? Charge something outrageous, lose 90% of your 2 million users, and you'll still have a significant monthly income.

This is just the stupidest news I've heard in a while. Zero respect for these guys, they clearly don't have even a shred of business sense.


Zero respect for the people behind the service, really? I have zero respect for your comment but I stop well short of saying I have zero respect for you.

Things are probably not that simple. They have investors. It may not be a case of "Hey, we can make a business that pays for three guys to eat." Perhaps their investors need to see a certain minimum return or else the investors would rather close up shop.

Maybe they have a better buysiness idea and it's better to close this one and put 100% of their energy into the new idea. Have you heard of justin.tv? IIRC, a large number of people on reddit were criticizing Justin and his partners for selling their previous startup on eBay. They got some money and started again with a blank piece of paper.

I am not saying that you're wrong about what to do given the information you have. I am saying that (1) It is difficult to be absolutely certain that they are making the worst possible business decision in this case given how little we know, and (2) Even if they are making the worst possible business decision, how does this extend to having zero respect for the complete human beings who laugh, love, play, and built something many people value?

p.s. The company is for sale. If you have an opinion of how it ought to be run, there's no better way to make your case than to buy it for a fire sale price and run it. In all honesty, I would be absolutely delighted if you were to make a go of it. That would be a very inspiring story.


p.p.s. I was exaggerating when I said "zero respect for your comment." I was just trying to make a point about the difference between criticizing someone's point and criticizing them personally. But now that I think about it, I was a little rude. I apologize.


I'm a big boy on the internet, I don't mind a flame at all, especially in response to a provocative post.

If you spend years, and millions of dollars, and don't make _any_ attempt to bring _any_ money in the door, I think you are making a mockery of the entire startup culture.

It's a business. What part of that do they not get?

Maybe maybe maybe, maybe they could try being a business and not seriously expect that some magical revenue stream is going to come knocking at their door with sacks full of cash.

Who funded these people? How can you seem to be so technically competent and marketing savvy, and not have a shred of business sense?

Are they going to go "focus on the next thing"?

Do they really deserve to be given funding for anything?

I think if you take someone else's money under the pretense of creating a business, you have some responsibility to the entire system to actually _try_ to create a business. And they haven't!


I wasn't flaming you.sifting through your follow-up, I find a few interesting items. First, indeed who did fund them? Have you asked the investors if they are unhappy? Ifnthe investors are unhappy, what went wrong with the governance? Why are we even assuming management is to blame? How do we know what happened? Maybe the finders wanted to generate cash flow but were nixed by the investors who wanted growth at the expense of revenues in the hope of being bought by Google?

Another thing. What is this responsibility you speak of? A funded startup exists to find an equilibrium between the needs of the investors and the needs of the founders. Nobody else gets a say in what happens. They have zero obligation to do what you want them to do if you aren't sitting on their board.

It sounds to me like you have strong opinions about what is and isn't the right way to do a startup. You might be right, but still there's something disquieting about taking a culture based on disruption and revolution and writing rules for what is and isn't the right way to revolt against the existing business structure.


Fair enough, maybe the investors told them not to generate cash flow. In which case, the investors are twits and deserve to lose their investment. My point is, whoever made that decision has been hitting the silicon valley kool-aid way too hard.

(Do you really think I'm saying they are responsible to my opinions? You seem like a smarter guy than that.)

I do have strong opinions about the right way to borrow money from other people:

When someone like Xmarks.com flops, it makes startups look bad to the 2 million users who are going to think twice about storing their data on someone's servers. It makes startups look bad to people who would like to make a return on their investment.

You can disrupt and revolt and rethink and metaprogram all you'd like, especially if you're sitting on VC funding. You can call cashflow an "existing business structure", but at some point, eventually, I think you need to charge something for something.


They made plenty of attempts. You're just ignorant of them.


like what? There's no mention in the article, and I don't see anyone linking to anything?


Don't be an ass. You don't know the first thing about the people working there and what they have or haven't tried.

A simple back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that a freemium, subscription, or (uhm...) donation model won't work. We're talking six-figure revenue, most likely.

I guarantee you their current business model of modifying the SERPs and inserting links to Amazon and other affiliate programs is generating an order of magnitude more revenue than your proposed model would.


I have a feeling that Xmarks is getting more press by saying that they will shut things down in 3 months versus them making an annoucement that they're shifting to a fremium model.

While it could backfire, the additional press coverage could be leveraged to a freemium model if they do it before everyone abandons ship.


I honestly didn't know xmarks existed, I probably missed it because I used to be more of an Opera user before Chrome with only a fleeting interest in Firefox inbetween. Firefox I moved to because of Weave, and I only fully shifted to Chrome when the sync became full-featured. Xmarks may not be able to compete within a single browser, but the killer play is syncing across them.

Having just read the feature list I would happily pay $5 per month for the secure password syncing across browsers.

The bookmarks have a little value to me, but the password syncing has pretty significant value.


If all you need is secure password syncing, you should check out LastPass (http://lastpass.com/).


With the hope that folks at Xmarks are reading this - I, too would pay for this service. I'm not sure I would pay $5 per month, but I don't think that, say $20 per year is unreasonable. (I prefer to pay by year - that's usually where the best discounts are).


you're not alone.. I would pay as well


with the emergence of competent sync features built in to Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, it’s hard to see users paying for a service that they can now get for free

After taking so many knocks, it's easy to be disheartened. But why not at least give this a go? It doesn't involve a large engineering investment - just charge for what you already offer! When the alternative is shutting down, where existing users need to move on anyway, you might as well. Those users might appreciate the value of what they have now that it is about to disappear...


Maybe it's because it creates an obligation for them to continue the service for a reasonable amount of time.


Fair point, but how about this: they've committed to 3 months anyway, so why not try charging for 3 months? Just don't touch the money coming in during that period. If they reach the end of that time, and it's not working, issue refunds and shut down. There is some cost to this (transaction fees etc), but seemingly minimal compared to other running costs they've already committed to (because if it fails, the number of transactions will necessarily be low).

They might struggle to get people to sign up when there is doubt about the service surviving. But that cat is already out of the bag, and as I alluded to earlier they could also play this to their advantage (charging now is not a money-grab, it's simply a matter of keeping a valuable service viable).


I agree 100%. This whole thing reminds me of reddit's recent budget issues and how their appeal resulted in a huge boost for them. Just looking at the comments on this blog post make me think that simply including a 'paypal donation' link at the bottom of this blog post ALONE would have generated enough funds to keep them running for for some time.

This is a bit of a harsh thing to say... but is it possible they were not able to find a business model due to lack of trying?


I think the main reason here more than anything, is the founder's are not just into it anymore.


do you have use xmarks?


I bet you're absolutely right. They have/had an amazing team. As such, 3 months of opportunity cost ain't cheap. And it's VC-backed (I believe). Given the long-term prognosis for the market, why would you spend 3 months in salaries if the upside isn't big enough to justify the the investment? Just return what's left of the cash to the investors so they can put it into a growth opportunity.


The beauty of Xmarks is that I can sync across browsers. I use Chrome, Firefox (on Windows, Mac, Linux), and IE and the ability to have all my bookmarks synched wherever I am is an absolute godsend.


They are failing because they can't even ask people to pay for their service. They skipped that and went directly to we are shutting down our servers in 90 days.

DHH needs to give them some scream therapy about business models. The one he does about asking your customers to pay for your service.


I am now going to repeat what you said, but with more feeling:

We also considered refocusing Xmarks as a freemium sync business, but the prospects there are grim too: with the emergence of competent sync features built in to Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, it’s hard to see users paying for a service that they can now get for free.

Ask me! Ask me! Why don't you ask me ?!!!

Native firefox syncing isn't going to help me sync my Firefox bookmarks to my iPhone, is it? Maybe that is worth something to me, ya know?

Isn't it completely ironic, that on top of HN right now is PG's Y-combinator screed, with how important it is to launch as soon as possible with as little functionality as you can in order to let users guide you to what they really want? So users are okay for telling you what features they want but they are not okay for telling you whether they want to pay ??

I mean okay, maybe I am a complete aberration in being willing to pay a few bucks for xmarks. But they didn't even ask. Maybe there would have been enough other aberrations out there to keep it going as a low-key low-turnover service.

This is the thing that bothers me with the start-up world - it seems so bi-modal: make it big or go bust. What about a quiet, modest little service that can pay for itself and maybe a bit extra?

Bah. I'm sad.


This situation always reminds me of @shitmydadsays:

"That woman was sexy...Out of your league? Son. Let women figure out why they won't screw you, don't do it for them."


Apparently they researched it, probably by asking some sample of the users: http://blog.xmarks.com/?page_id=1883#premium


FWIW, Mozilla has an app for syncing your bookmarks to your iPhone:

https://www.mozilla.com/en-US/mobile/home/


Yeah - thanks for pointing that out. It's not a true bidirectional sync though, like xmarks, right?


No, it doesn't do bidirectional sync, at least not yet.


2m users * 1% conversion rate * $10/yr = $100k = probably not enough for a VC-backed startup.

My suspicion is that because users just used the browser's internal bookmarks they couldn't easily add affordances that would draw attention, leaving no surface on which to advertise. I guess this is one advantage that delicious had, although breaking the bookmarking paradigm to do so was very painful in other ways.

I no longer believe startups who claim their value proposition is "the data will be really valuable someday."


Yep "probably not enough for a VC-backed startup" is the key here. This would have been a nice bootstrapped business. For them taking VC put them on a road that unfortunately wasn't the right one for them and forced them to swing for a bigger outcome than was possible. Sad.


$100k is an ok number for a one-person outfit, but it would be hard to support even one employee on that number.

In face, their current model of altering the Google SERPs almost certainly generates more revenue.


How does delicious make money? I love your product and use it almost every day, but it's not immediately obvious to me that there's any advertising.


That would be $200k, but still not enough to make your conclusion any different.


oops. indeed.


Years ago, I bookmarked expansively. I found I never used most of the bookmarks and many of the bit-rotted silently so that, when I did try to follow a bookmark, it no longer worked.

I found googling worked better than maintaining personal bookmarks, so Google has become my "bookmark" service.


Chrome killed my use of Xmarks. With a consistent, cross-platform browser that has syncing out-of-the-box I no longer need Xmarks. I mainly use other browsers for testing now.


Ditto here but I can't think of a way to bring those bookmarks over to Safari to sync with the iPhone, aside from using Xmarks. Any ideas?


Instapaper. I know that's kind of a cop-out but incidentally it (and Google) have killed my use of bookmarks apart from a relatively svelte bookmarks bar. Instapaper is my reading queue, Google is my long-term memory. Bookmarks are more like shortcuts for me now.

The nice thing is that I can "bookmark" any link from any browser that I use, as well as twitter and RSS. And I have them instantly on my iPad, phone, notebook, or any machine with a browser without installing any software or extensions.


What do you mean by Google? Google Bookmarks, the Chrome sync? Google Notebook? :)


Oh, just Google's search. If I want to find something I previously read I Google it now instead of sifting through crufty, old, poorly organized and needlessly hierarchical bookmarks. Tagged bookmarks would help there I guess (like Delicious) but then you have to tag everything...


firefox sync and firefox home?


My experience with Xmarks was not a great one. I used it when it was first called Foxmarks and enjoyed it. Some time after the name change, I noticed that one of the updates had turned on by default some extra overlays on the google search results page touting their rankings.

The blog post suggests that this was a bonus feature, or a value-add, but that's not how I saw it. A previously well-behaved bookmarks sync plugin all of a sudden decided to impose on my preferred search engine. That's a spammy low-class intrusion into my browsing experience.

I turned off the feature, but every time I updated the plugin thereafter it was turned back on by default. I jumped ship as soon as Chrome presented a viable alternative.


"For four years we have offered the synchronization service for no charge, predicated on the hypothesis that a business model would emerge to support the free service."

Not a bad hypothesis, one I see regularly but 90 days to close sure illustrates the downside and value of searching for that monetization model earlier rather than later.


I think it's a fairly shocking hypothesis.

My feeling was that the lesson from this is don't go into a business if you don't have at least a vague idea how you're going to make money out of it.

I love XMarks and I'll absolutely miss it (and would have considered paying for it) but this would seem to be niaivity in the extreme.


It was founded by Mitch Kapor. I think he knows a thing or two about starting companies...


I don't care who founded them, they've just announced that they're closing citing a lack of a viable business model.

That would seem to suggest that they might have thought about revenue a little earlier in the process and I have a feeling that with hindsight Mitch Kapor might agree.


Funny. Do you have any actual information about how early they tried to find a business model? I suspect you don't.

So, the situation is this: we have a product lots of people want. The naive business model (freemium) won't work -- a simple back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that.

What do you do? Go forward building a very popular product and look for a business model, or quit because you can't think of how to make money from day 1?


I really hate to see Xmarks shutdown. Been a happy user.

For not going the charging user route, could it be that they took some rounds of funding and expanded their company structure and infrastructure greatly to the point that it couldn't be sustained without a huge success? They expanded into the search and other stuff besides bookmark sync'ing. Those are the ones that don't pan out and dragging down the whole company.

Instead of shutting down everything, it would be better to keep the bookmark sync part and dump the rest, and start charging users. Not sure whether the investors would go for the low return route.


It's always sad when someone's dreams are shattered. But what I don't get is why a bookmark syncing service needs venture capital, employees, a CEO and whatnot. There may not be a business model that supports all that, but there may be a business model that pays for the labor actually required to provide a syncing service.

In a way this is like shutting down all the cafes that failed to become Starbucks.


My guess is that this has a lot to do with when they started. In 2006, the cloud platforms we take for granted today didn't exist. Running a service meant buying servers, hiring an ops team, etc. Starting today, you could probably bring a sync service up on App Engine in a few weeks and operate it for a couple hundred bucks a month.

I started my last company in 2005, and I've often thought that if we had started a couple of years later when the cloud platforms were available, we could have been a lot more successful. Instead we built a product and an organization around an obsolete technology stack with a high cost structure, and there was no going back.


You don't get why a bookmark syncing service needs venture capital, employees, a CEO and what not?

Web applications don't just grow on trees ...


Are there any other sync services that work across both Firefox and Chrome?


This is my main use case. I would gladly pay for one.


I, for one, am extremely disappointed to hear this news. I use Xmarks extensively on chrome and firefox across 3 computers. It is so easy to setup and use. I've never managed to get the Chrome sync working as it always hangs up and never finishes setting up.

I think I'd have paid for Xmarks as a service.


> I've never managed to get the Chrome sync working as it always hangs up and never finishes setting up.

Same here. I tried really hard to make Chrome sync work reliably across the multiple devices I use. Kept duplicating my bookmarks, deleting new bookmarks, and just randomly making extra folders. XMarks is just so much nicer and works across all the browsers I use.


have you tried it in latest beta-branch? it's gotten a lot of features in the last month or so.


Wow, xmarks is dead because they couldn't "find a scalable business model" with two million users.

http://twitter.com/PinboardIN/status/25734453850


xmarks: @PinboardIN hey if you've got some good ideas, we're all ears!

and, of course, pinboardIN: @xmarks the model that has worked well for us is 'charge people money for a useful product or service'


exactly. The hardest part is having the balls to charge for lemonade in the first place.

edit: source, patio11: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1668553


Why don't the Pinboard folks buy out Xmarks?


What would they do that? The fact that Xmarks is closing doesn't mean they would have sold it for a few bucks. Not to mention that Pinboard is run just by two guys, as far as I know without any external investment.


I admit that I did not investigate it thoroughly enough. As you concluded, they may not have the money or the man power to acquire Xmarks. Ignoring these vital issues, it appears that they have the necessary passion and expertise in bookmark management.


From "build something people want" to "built something people want" to "can't monetize 2 million users."

Any other examples of this?


Reddit? But at least they tried charging their users, and it worked.


sucks to have this ending after all your efforts. Xmarks was a great product. Hats off to you and your team and good luck in your next adventure.


Does anyone else find it odd that two million active users is "not enough users". Most startups would kill for that.


Reminds me of the old dot-com screed: We lose money on every customer, but we make it up in volume!


I find it strange that there are no buyers interested in your user base. I'd love to hear more about the monetization efforts that you attempted, as I would have imagined there should be numerous ways to leverage those users. But, of course, if I was an expert, I'd probably have the capital to make an offer.


Sorry to see them go. I've been using their extension in Firefox since the beginning and it has always performed exceptionally well while synchronizing thousands of bookmarks.


Huh. I was actually looking for a Chrome bookmark sync for my iPhone two or three weeks ago and I came across Xmarks. I didn't choose it because I was really hoping for a standalone app that would interface with Chrome's built-in bookmark sync. While it's sad to see any popular software company shutter its doors, since it is going away (in a comparatively short 90 days, no less) I'm personally glad I didn't start using it.


Sad to see them go, but this might be a good lesson for several people out there who go into startups with the "make product now, worry about revenue model later" mentality. While that can be successful in many cases, there is a downside as well where many businesses don't survive.

Either way, I'll miss xmarks since I use it on all my computers and my phone :( Thanks for the great product for the last several years.


They might've been doing this already with their Google search enhancements, but why don't they make their free version of the extension hijack (in a very open way to the user) Google queries and insert their own affiliate id so that they get the credit? Seems like an unobtrusive enough way to finance a free product, though it might step on Mozilla's toes.


I use the Xmarks firefox plugin, but with my own server. It's always supported that. I expect that'll keep working for a while until a newer Firefox breaks the plugin, so I'm still in the same boat of needing to find another sync method. But I might have longer than people who use the service. Or shorter, no way to tell, really.


I'm in the same boat. The article didn't explicitly mention the situation where users are syncing to their own servers. I'm wondering if that would really be impacted seeing as you're not really using any of their server resources?


Hopefully they'll open source the plugin so we can keep it updated for changes to Firefox. Though I'll probably just switch to another solution, especially if there's another that uses my own server. Or maybe just Dropbox.

I only switched to Xmarks after Google Browser Sync went away, I guess I should just get used to this.


While maintaining cross browser capability, I couldn't agree if xmark could work with dropbox or my own server.


I can't believe a team with so many users hasn't began charging them and when things get rough they want to shut down instead of charging because they think users will not pay?

Two million users? Sorry but they know nothing about business and it's worse for the ones who backed them... How on earth they're going to let this go this way?


I used Foxmarks for a long while when I was using Firefox, until Google Browser Sync came along, which has also passed. It was a great idea at the time. In its modern iteration, however, I felt like the best part about it was the inter-browser interoperability. I used it more recently for a time when I was still mostly using Chrome and then Firefox on some machines (such as BSD boxes).

All of the newer browser sync options that I am aware of are in a convenient location--built into the browser. Opera, Chrome, Firefox, et all are all getting bookmark sync options. However, I would much like to see a way to sync easily between the different browsers again. This is what made XMarks useful once it evolved past being only for Firefox. For now, I'm using all Opera, partially so I can keep everything together including my mobile devices.


Oops. I just switched to Xmarks after Chrome's sync ate a chunk of my bookmarks because of a version mismatch.


It's okay. I've had so many problems with xmarks and chrome that you'll be glad you didn't get to switch.


Lessons learned:

1. Adding a feature to someone else's product is a risky business model. If it's popular, the product-maker will implement your feature, at which point your goose is cooked.

2. Adding a free feature to someone else's free product isn't even risky. It is among the surest methods of losing money.

3. Know when to sell. The missed opportunity here was search. With their data and methods, Xmarks was able to improve query results for a predictable fraction of searches. At this point (2008), they should have sold to one of the up-and-coming search engines -- Windows Live or Ask.


I do not necessarily agree. There are a _lot_ of good _businesses_, which basically _fill the gap_ in other product.

xMarks is not like an cut-n-paste iPhone app (http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2009/06/10c.html), which becomes _useless_ after the vendor decides to implement the feature, rather a decent service (Chrome/Mozilla sync does not solve the syncing problem across browsers/iPhone/iPads etc.) which could not its business model.


"Looking for the list of all auto manufacturers? Or presidential libraries? Or art supply sites? A casual comparison of our results with those of the major search engines would convince you that we were on to something. We recruited a group of non-technical subjects to do a usability test, and it flopped. Sit people in front of a search box and ask them to test it, and their first query is their own name. #FAIL."

Why did they assume their primary market was going to be non-technical people? Why not build some thing like stumbleupon of 100 Million bookmarks.


Nobody's mentioned this yet, so: this is particularly notable because it's "Mitch Kapor's startup" (famous for Lotus 1-2-3). Used to be called Foxmarks.


I hope they could open source their code or their sync protocol, or at least release a guide how to setup thirdparty sync servers.


On an opportunistic note, I do wish they'd everyone access to their "1 billion bookmark corpus", in anonymized form of course.


Aren't there several YC companies who do searches of browsing history?

At the moment I rely on Firefox awesome bar, but I have a nagging feeling that it is not reliable (keep not finding sites I was sure I had bookmarked). So a better way to search and organize bookmarks is still being called for.

I can't imagine that there isn't a market for better bookmarking...


Todd, will you open-source any code?


Opensourcing the corpus would be more interesting but I suppose with their privacy policy this is a no go.


100% agree. I had that question included in my first draft of my original comment, but figured anonymizing the bookmark data is a very tricky/impossible task so I removed it. See AOL search data[1]. Maybe Xmarks could sent an opt-in request to users and release the data of people who are comfortable with it. I would be fine with it, personally; all my bookmarks are on delicious anyway.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AOL_search_data_scandal


Our newly launched service Zukmo is a good alternative for Xmarks.

I just posted a request for it to be reviewed (under Ask HN): http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1735218


I'm afraid to go back to Google for bookmark syncing because the last time Google offered the service they shut it down. That's how I got to X/FoxMarks in the first place.


I would pay for Xmarks.


xMarks has an amazing set of data. A set of tagged bookmarks on a large enough scale is essentially like running mechanical turk (with 2,000,000 users) on the entire internet (better yet, only bookmark-worthy parts of the internet), and asking it to "describe this page in 10 words or less". The results, I think, are the most accurate description of URLs you could get on such a large scale. Essentially every site that has over a certain amount of bookmarks is guaranteed to be of high quality and very relevant to what it's been tagged as. (The only problem is when sites change, domains expire, etc).

When I was making MoreOf.It, I scouted the competition in depth. The only one that stood out was xMarks, and similarity search wasn't even their main gig. They understand the richness of bookmarking data. They've separated URLs into categories, and have the highest ranking sites in those categories. They also nailed similarity pretty well. I might even say their results are better than mine, because they have a much larger index of sites.

Two and a half years ago, when I first built a prototype of similarity search, there were hardly any meta-websites. Besides Quantcast and their ilk, and bookmarking websites, and maybe a couple of bullshit "site worth calculators" (which just multiply site traffic by an estimated CPM), there was hardly anything happening in the meta-site space. Now, there are tons more services that cater to people Gooling an actual url or site name. To name a few, CrunchBase, AboutUs.org, BackType, UberVU, SimilarSites, SitesLike, and sites that aggregate results from these (QuarkBase). "Meta" is blossoming, and it seems like xMarks could take advantage of this with their rich dataset.

For example, as someone told me I should do, they could sell analytics information to websites about their competitors. If you're ZipCar.com, for example, you would pay to know the following: How have people described zipcar.com in the last (x amount of time), and what are the trends of those tags? How is my popularity vs. an automatically generated list of my competitors [ala: similar sites]. Which competitors are trending, and with which tags? Any new competitors that are breaking through the ranks? Some information could give cues to alter your business: What types of tags are related to my business are trending right now (i.e.: perhaps "bike share" is becoming more and more popular. I think that's valuable information. And, like an arms dealer, you can deal to both sides of competition. With 2,000,000 users organizing this set of data (for their own benefit of course), it's pretty confident sample size and it's win-win for everyone.

Frankly, I don't understand what benefits "synchronizing" offers. Why not just store your bookmarks on any number of bookmarking websites (Delicious, Google, etc), and then log-in to that website from whatever browser/computer/device you want? I do, however, see value in the analytics of what people bookmark, and how they bookmark it.


Unfortunately, that dataset would only stay amazing until they tried to use it to power a search engine.

History has shown that any time user-generated content is shown to users, spammers will quickly set themselves up as the ones generating 99% of the content.


It's only worth spammers time if their search is a successful product that spammers want to be a part of. Even still, with 2m users, I'd imagine that bots wouldn't have a substantial effect on the data, not at least without easily beind detected.

Search is beside the point, though. They said they tried it and it was amazing but only for some things. It's true, just search delicious to get an idea of the type of search possible. It's very good for most things, but worthless for finding any content that people wouldn't tag, like 98% of the content of any URL.

My hypothesis was that their data could be used for other reasons.


>>> Frankly, I don't understand what benefits "synchronizing" offers.

I use synchronizing in Chrome, and the benefit is convenience. I drag a link to a toolbar (for example some bookmarklet), and I see it on another computer, at the same place in the toolbar there. I also use Google bookmarks, but sync is more convenient.


I thought marks only offered the folders that the browsers used natively.

This was always an issue for adoption in delicious, anyway.


Excellent service. I have been using xmarks for a while.


I never used them because there are plenty of intranet related bookmarks that I wouldn't want appearing on a search engine. This service could have lead to some nasty data breaches. It's probably better for the internet in general if they fade away.

Having said that, it sucks that they ran a popular service that they couldn't monetize.


That sucks. How do I synchronize my passwords with Chrome now?


Chrome has built in syncing. Options for setup are in the options panel, at the top of the "personal stuff" tab.



I didn't know about it, it's really great. It's sort of a synchronized keepass with better browser integration. Thanks.


I use Roboform--it's cross platform/cross browser. Works well. Not free, however, if you have a lot of passwords (most geeks will cross into their paid territory pretty fast.)


In my fantasy world, Marco Arment would buy Xmarks and combine it with Instapaper. I'm sad to see Xmarks disappear without any viable alternative. I'd gladly pay $15-20 per year if that's what it took, but I imagine it could be even cheaper since cloud storage is so cheap: http://www.nasuni.com/news/nasuni-blog/whats-the-cost-of-a-g...




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