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XMarks winds down operations

updated 01:05 am EDT, Tue September 28, 2010

Like many others, could not find a viable model

XMarks co-founder and CTO Todd Agulnick has posted an open letter on the company's blog informing users of his bookmark-syncing and recommendation engine XMarks that the service will shut down in 90 days. In his post, he explains that the lack of a profitable, growth-driven business model and inability to sell to another company led to the decision to close down the service.

The service began life as a prototype browser- and platform-agnostic bookmark sync developed for Mitch Kapor of Firefox, which eventually grew into a startup called Foxmarks that offered free bookmark syncing and utilized the anonymized data of over 100 million bookmarks to aggregate recommendations on the best sites for certain kinds of information, a "Wikipedia of Websites," as Agulnick described it.

Over time, however, the company struggled to find a way to leverage the aggregated data into something advertisers would support, wanting to keep the main offering -- bookmark syncing across multiple computers and browsers -- free. Agulnick mentions that the company was "remarkably close" to striking a deal with a buyer, who ultimately got "cold feet" and pulled out. Ultimately, similar bookmark-syncing services from Firefox and Chrome undermined the value of XMarks' "corpus," leaving over a million XMarks users looking for alternatives (some of which the company is recommending on their Shutdown FAQ page).

By Electronista Staff
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  1. MyRightEye

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008



    Never heard of it.

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001



    I loved it. Great service. Always wondered how they'd make any money though. Now I know.

  1. Constable Odo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2007


    XMarks was rather useful for Safari

    synching. Apple should get some sync widget in place since the other browsers have that function. Years back I took bookmark synching for granted when I was using Netscape and it was so seamless. I thought that all browsers did that but I was wrong. I'll miss XMarks when it stops working.

  1. SMacSteve

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Aug 2001


    comment title

    This sucks! I know of no other way to keep my bookmarks synced between Safari, Chrome & Firefox! I hope somebody picks up the ball and keeps this going!

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001



    In his post, he explains that the lack of a profitable, growth-driven business model

    Who thought it was a profitable business model? This is where the Twitters of the world finally descend. Sooner or later advertising or subscriptions will be needed to use the thing, and the users will just disappear.

    and inability to sell to another company led to the decision to close down the service.

    Well, why would anyone buy the company, being there's not profitable business model.

  1. MorituriMax

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2010



    This would be a PERFECT aquisition for Google. They do everything else under the sun to make your life easier on your computer, why not this? Come on Google, BUY THEM!

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