How Bad Timing Hurt Pownce

I have been a fan of the Web application Pownce ever since it was launched in private beta mid-2007 by the trio of Kevin Rose, Daniel Burka, and Leah Culver.  I was especially pumped when last night Pownce moved out of private beta and opened to the world.

But… I worry that the app has been doomed  from the start because of bad timing.

When Pownce was launched in mid 2007, it was described as a “way to send stuff to your friends.”  I later heard it described as a light weight e-mail or messaging service.  It’s for when my friends want to send me a cool Web site, image, file, YouTube video, invite me for coffee later, or ask me for quick feedback about something.  Makes sense to me.  I’m always sending that kind of stuff around.

Unfortunate for Pownce, when it launched, Twitter was just starting to pick up and get a lot of buzz.  Instead of getting judged for what it is/was, Pownce has been judged as a replacement for Twitter… that it has to be one or the other… not both.

You hear a lot of people say… “only if you could send messages to Pownce via SMS, like Twitter”.  Maybe if the timing were different more folks with use Pownce and see it for what it is.

Pownce is for communicating messages.  Twitter is for communicating my status.

And… to add insult to injury Twitter is beating Pownce around the school yard.  I hope that enough people use it now that its open and it will begin to get an upswing of users.

So… what do you think of Pownce and Twitter?

8 thoughts on “How Bad Timing Hurt Pownce”

  1. Justin,
    This is timely. i was just logged over in Pownce checking out the new features. I have been a “member” of pownce since the beginning, but never really got into it. Some of the new features are clumsy and not very easy or intuitive. Like if you want to add your twitter friends to pownce, it does a great job of finding them, but then you need to send individual messages to EVRYONE you want to add … things like that are bothersome to me.
    I agree, bad timing is probably bound to doom pownce. Unless twitter goes totally teets up, they will be hard to displace

  2. I agree, but I think the perception is that they overlap. I think with Pownce staying private beta for so long really hurt them

  3. Justin,
    Timely and insightful post, as always. To me though, Pownce’s real competitor isn’t Twitter (although they have similar UIs, which invites comparison), but gmail. Gmail lets me share stuff with my friends, and most of my friends are already on it. I can send them links, big files (bigger than Pownce, now), or pithy comments. I can communicate with the instantly with Google chat, and group them by adding several to the send, CC, and BCC lines. There’s no public view, but often times, I don’t want a pubic view. And if your friends aren’t in gmail, there’s always a fallback to whatever email provider they have, because they definitely have one. I get the “lighter-weight email” thing, but, at least for me, email isn’t too heavy for the purpose it serves, especially given the exchange of weight for installed user base.

  4. I appreciate your post. I’m an addicted user of twitter and one of those ‘have a pownce account, but not sure what to do with it’ people. I don’t really get what you’re saying it’s useful for. Pownce, that is. If I can understand how you use it, maybe I would like it more. Also, have you compared Tumblr to pownce or is that a different use as well?


  5. I can definitely see the point of Pounce, I recently joined and am impressed with its interface. Unfortunately its rendered almost useless simply because of friends who will not see past Twitter (even though its different) or the privacy mess of Facebook. The thing with social networks is that no matter how well designed the network is, they can become useless if none of your friends will join in.

  6. I like pownce because it allows you to add links to your other profiles and sites. I don’t know what the limit is, but more links is better. Right?

  7. Unfortunately Pownce will be shut down on December 15th. This sucks, because i liked the service. Really don’t know where to move my logging now…

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