Friday, January 16, 2009

Bonfire of the Vanities

The quote comes from the burning of seditious literature by Savonarola in 1497 but has come to represent to destruction of material by those who are supposedly our betters. What is happening in 2009 sounds a little more like the goings on of the Borgia's.

In the current financial situation globally it is only to be expected that many companies will revert to their core business and also kill off competitor products in the classic method - buy and instead of funding allow to wither on the vine. 
Some quite well known web 2.0 tools have become victims over the past 2 months. 


Pownce first appeared in June 2007 as something which offered more than the already existing and ultra basic Twitter ( August 2006) this is how Pownce glowed brightly and was all to quickly snuffed out (from Wikipedia) :

Its launch, on June 27, 2007, was covered by outlets like Wired,[5] Business Week,[6] Webware,[7][8] and the San Francisco Chronicle,[9]with most of the coverage focusing on Rose, known for his involvement in DiggRevision3 and TechTV. Due to this media exposure, invitations for Pownce were in high demand and were being sold on sites such as eBay.[6]

On October 30, 2007, Pownce launched their public API.[10] The developers have also created a Pownce API Google Group . Originally, it was primarily for discussing the release of the API, but it now serves to gather feedback and help developers.

On November 12, 2007 Pownce launched a custom theme editor for Pro users.[11] They also added eight more preset themes for non pro users to use.

On December 20, 2007 Pownce launched a mobile version of their service.[12] This version can be accessed from a variety of mobile devices at m.pownce.com.

Acquired by Six Apart

On December 1st, 2008, Pownce announced they were shutting down .

December 15th 2008

We have some very big news today at Pownce. We will be closing the service and Mike and I, along with the Pownce technology, have joined Six Apart, the company behind such great blogging software as Movable TypeTypePad and Vox. We’re bittersweet about shutting down the service but we believe we’ll come back with something much better in 2009. We love the Pownce community and we will miss you all.

The story of Pownce is one that I think we will have to get used to as Web 2.0 meets the real world, products need to 'turn a buck' or be put out of their misery. I don't think that this will put off web developers from coming up with the next big thing. The problem with this is that consolidation by the industry narrows the choice for consumers - take the rise and rise of :


From a slow start where to utter the phrase 'to tweet' was a peculiar code understood by a narrow group of semi-geeks,  now two and a half years on where most events in the world -from  terrorist attack in Mumbai to plane crashes in the USA are said to be first reported by 'citizen journalists' via Twitter..... it is becoming the known face of micro blogging ( and possibly an acquisition prospect by the owners of Blogger itself - all these double letters!!! 'oo' hence the death of Jaiku). 
This is great for the process of micro blogging and also for growing the community, however we have to be careful that this does not spell death or more 'withering' for applications such as Plurk ( never really got it myself!!) Yammer ( great for setting up micro blogging within an organisation/school - a walled garden) or Edmodo another protected micro blogging area designed for education (  championed by Jose Picardo).

Is this shake out of web 2.0 tools a bad thing? Not necessarily as there are still developers out there searching for a new solution to  problems that we don't know that we have, also shouldn't the strongest survive?
My answer is yes the strongest should survive, it is just a shame but inevitable that an applications 'strength' is going to be decided in the present climate, in the boardroom of the big fish in the pond....... taking care that smaller fish don't grow too big for their own good......welcome to the real world. I wonder what the rest of the year has in store for social networking sites ( watch out for the big fish circling the pond!!!)

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