This weekend I was whisked into the thrilling world of a private beta launch of a new Web 2.0 site, started by Digg founder Kevin Rose. A select few had invites, and they used a pay-it-forward system for sharing entry into Pownce. I got mine from Mashable.
I’m not certain about the benefits of Pownce just yet. It’s visually appealing and has a great user interface, but for many who already use social networks, adding just one more will become overkill. Whether it can kill Twitter is still to be seen. Twitter, founded by Evan Williams, founder of Blogger and Odeo, already has a headstart with applications — such as plugins in Facebook, Firefox, and desktop applications. Besides Twitter is mobile reader, through both text messaging and a simple mobile browser interface. Yet, that Pownce enables file sharing is definitely a major advantage. For branders and marketers, especially those of gadgets and tech products, both already have the built in audience of early adopters that you want to reach.
Michael Arrington of TechCrunch did a feature by feature analysis yesterday on his site that you can read here. In his review, Arrington says:
“Frankly, unless you really like the mobile aspect of Twitter, there isn’t a whole lot of difference between the two services. I expect Twitter will add most of the Pownce features in the short term anyway. And many of the unique features of Pownce – like file sharing, group messaging, etc., are handled pretty well already by…email. Gmail, for example, lets users send files of up to 20 MB. Pownce lets you send up to 10 MB files, unless you pay for a pro account (then the limit is 100 MB). And email is certainly very useful for private and group messaging.
People use Twitter to quickly tell the world (or at least the people who care) what they are up to and what they are looking at on the web. Like blogging, it’s a one-to-many application that works very well. Twitter does that perfectly, and does little else. Pownce does it, too, but all the other features are really just distractions.”
As expected in beta, Pownce has been choking a lot lately. Most likely it’s growing faster than expected and the system wasn’t yet quite ready. In fact, that might be the only thing that stops me from testing it out and figuring out whether it’s a better communications tool than the umpteen others I use or not. From the point of registration, I was quickly setting up, adding friends and sharing messages about the site’s advantages and disadvantages. We were even discussing Pownce on Twitter. But once I had problems getting into the site and became inundated with email notifications of all of my friends’ actions (I have since turned them off), it suddenly became yesterday’s news. Just like that.