Come January, Xmarks Will Close its Doors
Article by George Norman
On 28 Sep 2010
Xmarks is a handy browser add-on that allows you to seamlessly sync your bookmarked web pages and passwords across multiple browsers. The add-on works with the Mozilla-developed Firefox browser, the Google-developed Chrome browser, the Apple-developed Safari browser, and the Opera Software-developed Opera browser.

Over the weekend, the Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Xmarks, Todd Agulnick announced that X-marks’ days are numbered. Come January 10, 2010, Xmarks will close its doors and delete all user data.

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“As I write this, it’s a typical Sunday here at Xmarks. The synchronization service continues operating quietly, the servers chugging along syncing browser data for our 2 million users across their 5 million desktops. The day isn’t over yet, but we’re on track to add just under 3000 new accounts today. Tomorrow, however, will hardly be anything but typical, for tomorrow one of our engineers will start a script that will email each of our users to notify them that we’ll be ceasing operations in around 90 days,” said Todd Agulnick in a blog post.

The fact that modern browsers come with built-in syncing capabilities is partly to blame for Xmarks shutting down. Google Chrome 6.0 for example allows user to keep their bookmarks, preferences, themes, extensions and Autofill data in sync. Mozilla’s Firefox Sync add-on, which lets the user keep his bookmarks, saved passwords, preferences, browsing history and open browser tabs in sync across platforms, will be included in the upcoming Firefox 4.

The main reason why Xmarks is closing is because it couldn’t find a working business model. Todd Agulnick explains:

“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.”

Details on how to prepare for Xmarks closing its doors have been posted on the Xmarks Shutdown page.
UPDATE: Turns out XMarks will not shut down after all. Check out this blog post for more details.



Tags: Xmarks
About the author: George Norman
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