the xmarks pledge debate

xmarks is deadxmarks pledge – legitimate plea or elaborate marketing ploy?

Companies will go to all sorts of lengths these days to make an impact, increase brand awareness and well er’ make money.


Is this what xmarks is up to or is a legitimate cry for help?

Well xmarks or foxmarks as it’s known is not that old an operation in terms of high impact internet companies.  It was established in 2006 and grew at a great pace through 2007 adding all sorts of big title employees including a “VP of Engineering” as quoted on their very own blog.


It’s a great wonder xmarks is struggling for cash.  They claim their operating costs are in excess of $2 million dollars a year.  I’m sorry but let’s call a spade a spade here; xmarks was nothing more than a bookmark synchronizing tool before they added all the bells and whistles like tagging, rating and Smarter Search.


Their core offering and the one that the vast majority of their user 2 million strong user base wants and uses most is to synchronize bookmarks not have “Smarter Search”, leave that to Google.


So Where Did It Go Wrong?

The desire to grow too big too quickly perhaps?  Moving away from your core offering of ‘sync services’ into someone else’s backyard, namely Google’s, or was it just a lack of creative ideas and the inability to capitilize on a large user base?

Growing too quickly can not really be controlled; if it happens, it happens but trying to make it happen can often falter companies.


How about growing your user base gradually by concentrating on your core product and keep your costs lower by dropping the dead wood?


Have the xmarks team examined their running costs instead of making a pledge to their user base?  Perhaps trimming down the operation and reducing that operating cost to 500k per year would be a start.  The company could still operate and then look forward.


At this point nobody is sure what the future holds for xmarks.  The company is apparantly going under, struggling for cash and sounding like a charity case right now.


At the time of writing they have about 20000 users signed up to the pledge with 100000 required to stay afloat.  Would you invest your $10 per year in xmarks?


This author signed the pledge but after reading more into the xmarks operation I’m not sure if I would now.


Xmarks is a fine product, don’t get me wrong, but is Xmarks a fine company?


Xmarks is pledging to receive 100000 user’s commitment to paying $10 to $20 per year for their service in order to keep the operation afloat. You can read more about and sign the pledge here.