I was an invited member for a while and never really paid much attention to Pownce since I knew very little contacts using the site. Since its infancy Pownce has changed a great deal and added many new features which will certainly make it an internet sensation, however, its lack of a few key features leave much to be desired.
It's no Twitter
Pownce is certainly not a Twitter clone in certain respects. To its credit, however, this is not really what it saught out to be.
The main developer, Leah Culver has stated over and over again that the goals of Pownce were never the same as those of Twitter.
I believe this quote perfectly sums it all up:
Our motto -- "send stuff to your friends" -- is so vague, yet I think it fits perfectly. Pownce is for sending all these different types of stuff to the people you know in a new and exciting way. Pownce is really a communication platform at its core. It has these concepts of types of messages -- links, events and files. We're working on new ways to interact with these specific types of messages, such as a new chronological view page for events. A more complete API is also in the works, and we're pretty excited about the mobile version, both of which focus on Pownce as a communication service, rather than a Web site," said Culver.
Ever since the idea of Pownce emerged people have been making this comparison. The blogosphere is riddled with posts about which service is better or will receive the greater user base, or a number of other comparisons.
To me, its not about who will with the microblogging wars. Certainly the idea of microblogging is here to stay and many will try to ride the twitter-wave all the way to the bank. In the end, though, there are some aspects of Twitter that I would like to see Pownce adopt.
A few of quick suggestions:
- Sync with Twitter, facebook, etc
- In-line spell check in the desktop widget
- Smaller desktop footprint of the desktop widget
- Import friends from LinkedIn, Myspace, and others not on the list
...to name a few!
I am a huge fan of Twitterific and enjoy the ability to have an out-of-browser widget to work with. Pownce was smart to incorporate their desktop widget into their package and not rely on any third party help (aside from Adobe Air).
As I have listed before, I wish the thing would just have a smaller footprint. It is huge and chunky, and not as intuitive as I would like. Additionally I would like to see some sort of "preferences" button within the app itself.
On the other hand, I do enjoy that the app takes you to dedicated windows for messaging, linking, replies, etc. It seems to adjust well to my work flow with this sort of program.
There are several other aspects of Pownce that I enjoy as well.
For one, there is no character limit. Type as much as you want. Some suggest that this is not the best model for a microblogging service, but as I stated before, that's not exactly what Pownce aims to be. I'm sure a certain character limit will be observed among the users, unofficially enforced of course.
Also it's really aesthetically pleasing (read: pretty in that web 2.0 way). Not to mention you can customize your profile and personal home page with several different themes. One could also customize these themes with a "Pro" membership.
And speaking of going pro...
A winning business model
Many microblogging sites of this type have has issues with their business model sending them scrambling to find a gimmick which they could profit from. Pownce is off to a good start on the business end with their "pro" package.
Going pro will enable extra Pownce features. For example you can send up to 100MB files and have the advantage of not dealing with ads on your page. This service will cost $20 a month.
Selling the Pro version (similar to Flickr's model) will get them off to a good start. Additionally, when the advertisements come piling in as the user base grows the service stands to profit. Profit means stability and site upgrades/updates which means happier users, i.e. me!
Pownce certainly has a long way to go in order to be where it needs to be as a service. Not to mention it is up against tough competition. Their ambiguous goals leave it sitting on the fence. The question becomes, what do we compare it to? You can't really shackle it to other microblogging services, but it sort of leads you down that path.
Pownce needs to find a focus and settle into that niche. Otherwise it will just be another novelty and overlooked in favor of other sites that offer a similar product.
Currently the reviews of Pownce are expansive in their scope (to say the least). Some love it, some hate it, and some can care less.
I for one will allow Pownce the benefit of the doubt and give it the 'ol college try.
If your brave enough to test the waters with me then pownce me(?) at http://pownce.com/jstamant.