Popular Bookmark Syncing Tool Xmarks is Shutting Down

XmarksIn a move that will definitely surprise a lot of people, Xmarks – the popular bookmark synchronization tool, has announced that it will be shutting down in approximately 3 months.

Xmarks, which started off as a Firefox extension called Foxmarks, offered free cloud based bookmark synchronization for Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Internet Explorer. In spite of the introduction of out of the box bookmark synchronization to recent versions of Firefox and Chrome, Xmarks managed to remain wildly popular due to its ability to cross-sync bookmarks among different browsers.

Earlier today, in a lengthy blog post, Todd Agulnick, the Co-Founder and CTO of Xmarks, explored the events that ultimately led to the demise of Xmarks.

By Spring 2010, with money running tight and options fading, we started searching for potential buyers of the company. Over the past three months, we have been remarkably close to striking a deal, only to have the potential buyer get cold feet. 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. 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. With that investment thesis thwarted, there is no way to pay expenses, primarily salary and hosting costs. Without the resources to keep the service going, we must shut it down. Our plan is to keep the service running for another 90+ days, after which the plug will be pulled.

There’s nothing unusual about startups collapsing due to the lack of a viable user model. Yet, one can’t help feeling sorry for Xmarks, simply because it was a damn useful service. It’s a pity that they decided to fold even without trying the freemium model.

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Pallab De

Pallab De is a blogger from India who has a soft spot for anything techie. He loves trying out new software and spends most of his day breaking and fixing his PC. Pallab loves participating in the social web; he has been active in technology forums since he was a teenager and is an active user of both twitter (@indyan) and facebook .

  • Saleem Khan

    Very sad news indeed. I started using this service since its inception and literally I avoided using Chrome because Chrome was lacking Xmark extension. Xmark is the first sync application that open my mind towards synchronizing many other applications for keeping my up to date.

    Chrome and Mozilla is offering Book mark and password synchronizing but X-Mark simply beats all of them. I am feeling sad because X-Mark never tried to apply different options for charging nominal amount for its remarkable service. LastPass is password management service but they charge $1/- per month for offering it on iPhones and Androids…on other hand totally free for PC users. So company should try different options instead of accepting defeat.

    X-Mark is not flop product at all so it should never accept its defeat. They should see what kind of problems a user of Chrome/Mozilla bookmark users are facing… then they should avail opportunity to earn from its loyal users. I hope X-Mark will revisit to its decision and will find some way to keep its service alive forever.

    Good luck and seriously it is very bad news for regular users of sync services.

    • Totally agree with you. It’s disappointing that an excellent app like Xmarks decided to call it quits without even trying the freemium model. The comparison with LastPass is an excellent one indeed. Moreover, the cross-browser syncing feature is something that I believe many would be willing to pay for.