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Pownce – it’s not very original but it’s going to be bigger than twitter

The invites to Kevin Rose’s latest twitter-like project, Pownce, have been like hotcakes, and after 24 hours playing with the site I’ve come to the conclusion though it might not be the most creative web2.0 app out there, but it’s got a very good chance of becoming far more successful than any of it’s more innovative predecessors.

Figurehead – as much as we may like to believe that the web has made marketing a more level playing field, you only need to look at a couple of recent launches to see the power of having a ‘web celeb’ as a figure head. Jason Calacanis at Mahalo & Guy Kawasaki at Truemors have been able to harness the cult of their personalities to attract attention and hype to their latest ventures, even if they might not deserve it. With Digg’s Kevin Rose at the helm, it’s very likely the project will be able to punch well above its weight when it comes to press and social media coverage.

Functionality – there’s a number of features in Pownce that really highlights how spartan twitter and even Jaiku’s service is. The one that proves most appealing to me is the ability to segment your contacts into groups. That way I can keep all my SEO friends up to date with Matt Cutts’ gossip and avoid sending Graywolf news about my kittens. Combined with the ability to send attachments and links, it certainly makes its competitors seem a little basic.

Community – twitter only really got going once it reached a tipping point around SXSW and tools like this only prove useful when there is enough users. It’s not easy to attract that kind of community over night, but if you are the enigmatic head of one of the most militant communities on the web, you’ve got a pretty good head start.

Stability – twitter has been plagued by reliability issues caused by its surge in popularity. With a service that relies on constant updates, frequent outages really spoils usability. Again I think the experience of dealing with the huge traffic at Digg might mean Pownce has had suitable load testing carried out and hopefully is better able to deal with the demands that will be put upon their servers.

Personality – I love site’s that have personality. The small touches on Pownce like the quirky About Us help you feel part of something intimate. When building a community is vital to the future of a venture, these little things, no matter how clichéd, can have a huge impact on the allegiance the user has to the company.

2nd Mover Advantage – conventional wisdom usually states that there is a competitive advantage of being first to the market. However Google wasn’t first to market with their Adwords Platform, and there is very little unique about Facebook, but both were able to rectify the faults in their predecessors, produce a superior product and ultimately has overshadowed their competitors.

There’s not a huge amount available on Pownce that I can’t achieve elsewhere using a combination of my existing social media services. But I think there are a combination of factors working in Pownce’s favour that might see them superseding their more inventive older siblings.


  1. [...] Let me get this straight, Kevin Rose, who last year criticized Jason Calacanis for using Netscape to launch a “Digg clone”, now has a Twitter clone? [...]

  2. [...] Pownce – it’s not very original but it’s going to be bigger than twitter [...]

  3. [...] close to the paradigm-shifting changes of sites like Digg(even people who praise Pownce note its lack of originality ). At best, all three new startups present a repackaging and rebranding of existing technologies. [...]