I took the Xmarks pledge and why you should, too.

Summary:One reason: cross-browser sync. Ain't nothin' else can do it.

On Monday, we of the geek world got some terrible news. Terrible. From across the nation, nay, across the entire world, you could hear the dismayed squeal of horrified hardcore techies.

Xmarks is shutting down.

First, let me say this: if you don't know what Xmarks is, then you're simply not hardcore enough. Or you don't have to do real work across many different machines, systems, and operating systems.

Xmarks is one of the three or four most important enabling technologies I use each day. At its most simple, it's a bookmark synchronizer. It has a bunch of silly social features, and some other silly recommendation features, which no one of any stature really uses.

Xmarks does basic browser bookmark synchronization quite well. Of course, it has competitors. Firefox sync is going to be baked into Firefox 4. Chrome has sync. Microsoft has sync through its free Windows Live Essentials. If you want to pony up $99 a year for Apple's MobileMe, then even Safari has sync.

So why is Xmarks so important? Why is it actually mission critical IT software?

One reason: cross-browser sync.

Xmarks will sync your bookmarks across all your browsers, seamlessly. It just works.

For those of us who jump from machine to machine, OS to OS, browser to browser on a daily basis, Xmarks is the only tool that can accomplish this task.

The only one. Period. Ain't nothin' else can do it.

If Xmarks ceases to function, then we lose this resource. This is a resource that has saved me and many, many, many more IT guys actual, real hours.

So here's the deal. The guys at Xmarks are losing money. Somehow, they wound up spending $9 million on this thing. I know, insane, right? But, no matter. It's critical infrastructure for IT.

Their ad/aggregation/bookmark intelligence business model has been a complete failure. Like that's a surprise.

Apparently a lot of us stood up on our haunches and howled at the moon on Monday night. We all basically cried out that we'd be willing to buy Xmarks -- the actual, incredibly useful, cross-browser sync software -- as a product or a service.

Seeing some new hope, the guys at Xmarks threw us a bone (and, in return, we're trying to throw them a life-raft). They put up a pledge page to gauge whether or not enough of us would be willing to spend a few bucks to keep the service going.

It's not exactly the most professional approach, but heck, the software's been free all this time, and they need to keep the lights on.

We need them to keep the lights on.

So the pledge page basically asks who would be willing to spend $10-$20 a year to have the service. Duh! Yes. Sign me up!

In fact, I signed myself up and publicly pledged to pay a few bucks to keep Xmarks going.

Here's where I call on you. Sign the pledge. Click this link and tell Xmarks you want them to live.

Sign the Pledge and prove you're a man (or a woman)

One final thought: if you don't click the link, sign the pledge, and pay your ten or twenty bucks, then you can just take that word geek right off your little name tag.

Every true geek, every one of us with real-world needs, all of us who no longer live in our parents basements, even the entire IT infrastructure of the government of the United States (you were wondering how I'd fit that in, weren't you?) -- we all know how important this is.

So pledge. What are you waiting for? Are you still here? Go.

Do not post a comment below unless you've signed the pledge. If you have signed the pledge, you've earned the right to post "My name is [your name here] and I'm a real geek." For the record, I have absolutely no interest or stake in Xmarks except as a user.

Topics: Browser, CXO, Google

About

In addition to hosting the ZDNet Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor and computer scientist. He is featured in The History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets, is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts, and is a top expert on savi... Full Bio

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