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

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

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

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TOPICS: Browser, CXO, Google
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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

David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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Talkback

21 comments
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  • RE: I took the Xmarks pledge and why you should, too.

    They probably orchestrated the whole thing just to get an important company to buy them.
    ShanOw
  • My name is David and I?m a real geek.

    4 machines x 4 browsers x 4000 bookmarks x 3 locations.

    Need I say more?
    DViolino@...
    • RE: I took the Xmarks pledge and why you should, too.

      @DViolino@...
      josben73@...
    • RE: I took the Xmarks pledge and why you should, too.

      @DViolino@... <br><br>4000 bookmarks?!? No wonder XMarks can't keep up with their bandwidth costs...<br><br>Seriously, though - 4000 bookmarks? You'd have to visit 130 different sites per day, just to cycle through them all within a month. Time for you to dramatically cull the herd.
      R_Connelie@...
      • RE: I took the Xmarks pledge and why you should, too.

        @R_Connelie@... Who says you have to visit bookmarked sites every day? I don't have nearly as much, but I have hundreds of programming-related articles bookmarked. I may visit some of those in 6 months. Beats having to find them again using Google or whatever.
        MikeR666
  • RE: I took the Xmarks pledge and why you should, too.

    I didn't see Opera Browser mentioned. It has the capability to sync bookmarks across some platforms (may not be as widespread as others, but it is a solution for some).
    jkohut
  • RE: I took the Xmarks pledge and why you should, too.

    This will sound silly, but why not copy all of the favorites from one and paste into the folder where they are kept for another? I run a simple batch job to sync all of my favorites to the other browsers. I do 95% of my surfing really with just one browser, IE, and Live Essentials keeps it sync'd to my other machines. I only jump on FF or Opera because a few sites work better with them.
    MadWhiteHatter
  • RE: I took the Xmarks pledge and why you should, too.

    Why? It's long past time to acknowledge that "free" is not a viable business model. Let them fail. If someone else can come up with the same service, and make money doing it, then good for them.
    aep528
  • RE: I took the Xmarks pledge and why you should, too.

    Cross browser sync is definitely the best feature. Another feature I love is profiles. I have a "Work" profile that includes all of my work-related bookmarks as well as my personal bookmarks. I have a "Home" profile that includes only my personal bookmarks. That way when I'm at home I don't see all the work junk... The lack of these features makes Firefox sync, etc. a non-starter.
    tech-enthusiast
  • RE: I took the Xmarks pledge and why you should, too.

    @MadWhiteHatter
    How does copying all the bookmarks help? If you delete a bookmark somewhere then it will re-appear! If you rename in a browser you get duplicates! I don't think it's trivial to replace xmarks and that's why I'm willing to pay $10-$20 per year to keep them around!
    tech-enthusiast
  • RE: I took the Xmarks pledge and why you should, too.

    I am happy to make my pledge to save X marks. But, it would seem logical for the project to be taken over by Mozilla or someone else in the FLOSS community. Of course, if they were taken over by Google, I would delete everything and do without.
    jorjitop
    • RE: I took the Xmarks pledge and why you should, too.

      @jorjitop " Of course, if they were taken over by Google, I would delete everything and do without."

      Why?
      tehpea
  • RE: I took the Xmarks pledge and why you should, too.

    Done. Worth $10/year
    faxmonkey
  • I promise only what I can deliver

    Currently Un-employed, under eviction notice, out of food stamps. I DO donate to what I use, but right now.......
    olddogv
  • RE: I took the Xmarks pledge and why you should, too.

    I have been using this since it was foxmarks and have pledged my support for a product that has helped me survive system crashes and job changes, by saving my bookmarks external to all my systems.
    marXtevens
  • RE: I took the Xmarks pledge and why you should, too.

    11 computers, 3 locations.
    Mac, Windows.
    Firefox, Chrome, Safari, IE.

    Yep, I need this. Mainly for the ability to keep a bunch of constantly rotating bookmarks synced across all those machines. Usually it's not much more than a hundred or so with perhaps 50 permanent sites. But, I need to view web layout updates on lots of sites and in lots of different engines. It's going to be daunting to have to return to exporting a list from my "master browser" and importing it into all the other systems.
    rick@...
  • My name is Roberto and im a real geek (from Panama).

    I am wondiering 2 things, im looking for the price Xmarks is selling for (yeah, i think we users CAN and should buy it), and 2. if the are public and we can buy shares (that helps them too) from it, anyone? reply directly to roberto@elemental2012.com
    Roberto@...
  • RE: I took the Xmarks pledge and why you should, too.

    Sign me up. I'm a "quasi"-geek (note use of "quotation fingers").
    barb@ppc-strategies.com
    ppcstrategies
  • Broken Link

    Can someone fix the link that is supposed to send readers to the original article so it doesn't lead to the comments instead? Or at least put a link back to it from the comments page?
    rocket ride
  • My name is Paul and I?m a real geek

    I've pledged. I'm spreading the word where I can. I was holding my breath but there seems to be cause for optimism on the xmarks blog now. (breathes out)
    Simpsoid