Posted July 2, 2007 12:31 pm by with 11 comments

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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.

  • “Pownce is a way to send messages, files, links, and events to your friends.”

    Am I the only one who sees email as the easiest way to do this instead of having yet another online account to monitor?

  • Yeah I see your point, I think some of the point is there’s no spam as only your friends can contact you.

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  • graywolf … wolf … wolf dog … dog person … not cat person … sheesh 🙂

  • Thanks for the overview Kelvin. I received an invite over the weekend and joined, but haven’t had a chance to explore yet.

    I do have to admit I’m like Mark above. Email has always worked as an easy way to be in touch with people. For the people I really want to talk to all the time I have IM. It does become tedious having to monitor different sites to stay in touch.

  • Sorry but I dont agree mainly because…
    1. twitter already has network effect.
    2. any new features pownce has twitter can simply add them to twitter.
    3. twitter will fix their stability, and already is far better than a couple of months ago.
    By the way – I am a twitter user.

  • Clay I’m a twitter user as well and am quite a fan of their service but I think amongst my friends usage has really dropped off recently. I’ve gone from five or six tweets an hour from my contacts down to five or six a day. The passion that was there seems to have gone.

    It might be possible for Twitter to replicate the functionality of Pownce but they haven’t responded to Jaiku’s extra features yet

    I think the stability has only got better because of the loss of traffic I might be wrong though!

  • Someone send me an invite!

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  • Mah Hua

    Pownce is really very feature limited.
    You post a comment on a freinds page. That friend replies you. The reply does not reach your page but is actually gets posted in that same freind’s page. What they call trackback is USELESS !
    There cannot be any comparison to twiiter which is something “bigger” and better.

    @ Mark
    You are NOT the only one who sees email as the easiest way 🙂
    Those who are sceptical about spams etc will be eased to know you can easily set your email to receive mails from your “trusted” ones only or have just a special folder to receive those things.

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