Xmarks may get second chance with subscriptions

Just a few days ago, sad news came that the loved bookmark sync tool Xmarks would be shut down on January 10th. Today, an interesting post on the company's blog may give hope to keeping the service alive.

CEO James Joaquin said that they were considering adding a subscription service and went on to say, "The overwhelming positive user support from all of you, combined with strong interest by companies looking to take over Xmarks, means that the service might just find a ninth life." For this service Xmarks knows that they need over $2 Million annually in order to keep the bookmark sync running. They are proposing that users pay $10, once a year to cover the costs of the operation.

The blog post also indicated it wasn't ever an intention to charge users, and when Xmarks gave users the option to donate a requested value of $7, less than 0.001% of users participated.

Joaquin also makes the point that "Free alternatives have significant market power." Why should someone put up money if there is an equally good service out there that is cheaper or free? Since the addition of bookmark sync being built into Firefox and Chrome, which allows you to sync for free, this creates an even tougher point for Xmarks to argue as to why users should use their service. Currently, the game-changing feature that Xmarks possess is cross-browser sync, which no other tool has.

To help gather data on whether this would be worth their while, Xmarks has set up a Pledgebank page for users to sign up and show their support. Their goal is to have 100,000 people pledge to paying $10-$20 per year for Xmarks Sync. As of this writing, they have 3,371 people who have pledged, with 96,629 more needed. Xmarks is running this until 15 October 2010 and will reach a decision soon after on whether to keep the service alive or not.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Windows Live Essentials 2011 released

Next Story

Google's URL shortner, now even more accessible

26 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I used it in the past but yeah, I wouldn't pay for it when free solutions exist. I use firefox on all my systems anyway so its no big deal and if I needed to launch Opera, Chrome or IE to do some dev work then really I don't need access to my full set of bookmarks anyway.

It'd be nice to see them get bought out because this surely won't work. Even if they get those 100,000 signatures I'd wager when push comes to shove 50% won't actually end up paying.

This is the fallacy of the 'free software' movement. They don't believe that if something is of value then people will be willing to pay for it.

.Aaron said,
No Thank you!! I love their service, but Firefox Sync works just fine. AND...ITS FREE!!!
But it won't synchronize your bookmarks between Chrome and Internet Exploder. That's very important to me as a web developer.

Z'Loth said,
But it won't synchronize your bookmarks between Chrome and Internet Exploder. That's very important to me as a web developer.

Same for me - web developer, multiple browsers, the built in options aren't cross-browser, so there is nothing out there which actually works as well as Xmarks.

Hmmmm and they just thought of this yeah?
More like they'd 'pretend' to be closing down then suddenly come up with the idea to add a subscription service. Call me cynical if you will but this sounds more like a carefully thought out plan.

Mike Chipshop said,
Hmmmm and they just thought of this yeah?
More like they'd 'pretend' to be closing down then suddenly come up with the idea to add a subscription service. Call me cynical if you will but this sounds more like a carefully thought out plan.

I agree Mike... I'm certain this is just a marketing scheme. I love xMarks cause it's the best cross-browser sync tool for passwords and bookmarks.
People who are using different browsers from different locations know what a useful tools this is. For passwords you can use LastPass but it doesn't work like it should all the time specially in Chrome.

Mike Chipshop said,
Hmmmm and they just thought of this yeah?
More like they'd 'pretend' to be closing down then suddenly come up with the idea to add a subscription service. Call me cynical if you will but this sounds more like a carefully thought out plan.

You are cynical. (and uninformed)

Anyway, I'm surprised to see so little support here, maybe there's more on the forums?

DARKFiB3R said,

You are cynical. (and uninformed)

Anyway, I'm surprised to see so little support here, maybe there's more on the forums?

Don't get me wrong, i love xmarks (been using it since the days of Foxmarks) but this does stink of a marketing plan. Not that there is anything wrong with that. As for being uninformed... please enlighten me?

Mike Chipshop said,
Hmmmm and they just thought of this yeah?
More like they'd 'pretend' to be closing down then suddenly come up with the idea to add a subscription service. Call me cynical if you will but this sounds more like a carefully thought out plan.
That's exactly what I was thinking

Mike Chipshop said,
Hmmmm and they just thought of this yeah?
More like they'd 'pretend' to be closing down then suddenly come up with the idea to add a subscription service. Call me cynical if you will but this sounds more like a carefully thought out plan.

Completely agree with you

Have signed up, no other sync gets close for it's features (Firefox Sync isn't automatic which is pointless, and Chrome sync is limited to only bookmarks ... again pointless IMHO).
Someone like Dropbox ought to buy into this service.

Exosphere said,
Chrome sync is limited to only bookmarks ... again pointless IMHO).

The Dev channel at least (+ Beta I think) syncs Autofill, Bookmarks, Extensions, Preferences + Themes, coming soon to the Stable channel I guess.

I can see if the pages were somehow cached on their servers making your bookmarks open faster. Other than that, I wouldn't pay.

Maybe for you it's good enough, but the lack of the ability to sync browser history, searches and cookies, Passwords and Auto-complete settings just isn't good enough for me and many others.

Xmarks was a true cross browser sync which made it special, worthy of a $10 fee IMHO.

Opera could sync most if not all this stuff for years but the good news is that no one uses Opera (I did for years before Chrome). So Opera is probably not a good competitor.