Sad news folks, the developers of the awesome (and free) Xmarks cross-browser bookmark syncing service have decided to pull the plug on the popular project in 90 days, ending a nearly five-year run. In a lengthy blog post detailing the rise and fall of Xmarks, Co-Founder and CTO Todd Agulnick says it just became too costly to maintain.
"For four years we have offered the synchronization service for no charge, predicated on the hypotheses that a business model would emerge to support the free service," Agulnick explains. "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."
The decision to kill the service came as a last resort after all other options had been exhausted.
"By Spring 2010, with money running tight and options fading, we started searching for potential buyers of the company," Agulnick said. "Over the past three months, we have been remarkably close to striking a deal, only to have the potential buyer get cold feet."
Agulnick also considered making Xmarks a premium service, but described the prospects as grim, saying "it's hard to see users paying for a service that they can now get for free," in reference to sync features built into Firefox and Chrome.
So that's it. Barring any changes in the next three months, on January 10, 2011, Xmarks will fade away, with no real alternative available for cross-browsing syncing. Bummer.