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pinboard.in is like del.icio.us
July 14, 2009 12:53 PM   Subscribe

Maciej Ceglowski of Idlewords has made a new bookmarking service called pinboard.

The goal seems to be to recreate and improve on del.icio.us, which is kind of crazy now. The site has a membership fee which grows as the userbase grows (number of users * $0.001). Maciej Ceglowski calls this a financial CAPTCHA.
posted by chunking express (41 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I signed up. Amount: $2.91 Though I am not 100% certain I'll use it much.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:00 PM on July 14, 2009


Signed up too. $4.48
posted by yeoz at 1:13 PM on July 14, 2009


The site has a membership fee which grows as the userbase grows

Can someone explain to me how this won't eventually make membership prohibitively expensive?
posted by hifiparasol at 1:18 PM on July 14, 2009


Based on my reading of the Terms of Service, you probably have the right to sell your account. (IASNALY, IANYL, etc.) Guess I should buy one and see if it takes off.
posted by grobstein at 1:20 PM on July 14, 2009


I'm guessing at some point the membership fee will become stupid expensive, but I doubt he's going to keep the fee structure like this forever. It does seem like a smart way to throttle the growth of the site down to a more manageable level.

Also, that's a pretty shocking jump in users in 13 minutes.
posted by chunking express at 1:22 PM on July 14, 2009


The site has a membership fee which grows as the userbase grows

Can someone explain to me how this won't eventually make membership prohibitively expensive?


My guess is that they will freeze the fee at a certain amount once it stops being profitable to raise the price.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:23 PM on July 14, 2009


Man, it took me at least six years to decide to spend $5 on a Meta account. By the time I've had time to ruminate enough on this, new accounts will be in the low four digits. Or maybe they'll still be cheap, which would mean that it sucks and no one uses it. Kind of a catch-22.
posted by echo target at 1:23 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


As membership grows, the value of the site increases. Presumably this means it will level off at some nominally useful but also manageable size of userbase, too, which is pretty clever.
posted by mhoye at 1:25 PM on July 14, 2009


As membership grows, the value of the site increases.

I dunno. Wouldn't this only be true if there were absolutely no other way to find the links that get bookmarked?

I see shit from my del.icio.us page show up all over the web. It's not like bookmarking stuff on pinboard will keep it secret.
posted by hifiparasol at 1:28 PM on July 14, 2009


Well, The Nine Fives names is clever.
posted by mkb at 1:28 PM on July 14, 2009


I think part of the point is to make it prohibitively expensive. This keeps the user base smaller, allowing him to administer the site easier, and presumably it will keep it faster. See, even at $4.48 I probably wouldn't have signed up.

I got in when I did, not because I am even sure if I will use it, but rather to support something that may end up being cool, and I liked the idea of a progressive payment system like that.

del.icio.us was never really important to me, and I don't expect pinboard to be either. I synch my bookmarks across my computers, so I was never sold on the purpose. Maybe it's just one of those things I don't get. But I signed up all the same. I'd hate to find out it is the next cool thing and I didn't have an account.

John Gruber on pinboard and metafilter.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:30 PM on July 14, 2009


Just curious -- why is del.icio.us "kind of crazy now"? I use it to bookmark stuff and share it with my network, it seems to suit me just fine.
posted by statolith at 1:30 PM on July 14, 2009


This [one-time signup] fee is non-refundable! Please be aware that even if you end up hating the site and everyone associated with it, the money will be gone.

It's now up to $4.49 (it was $4.48 when I first checked the user creation page). Why not make it $5, same as in town on MetaFilter? This "financial CAPTCHA" works well enough, with some extra moderation. Throttling new users is interesting, and it'll provide some notion of how much people are willing to pay for an unseen product and the simple pitch that "it's better than Product X! Trust us!"
posted by filthy light thief at 1:32 PM on July 14, 2009


I find delicious slower, and the site crazy busy. I liked the site more before all the navigation changes and all that. I'm not a big delicious power user though. I user the site more for backing up links I post to my blog more than anything else I suppose.
posted by chunking express at 1:33 PM on July 14, 2009


I missed the part where someone explains why this is worth money.
posted by odinsdream at 1:36 PM on July 14, 2009 [8 favorites]


Wow, he's made 10 grand already.
posted by mkb at 1:39 PM on July 14, 2009


It's a pretty good business plan, I guess, if only because there are enough early adopters out there eager to grab up whatever new tech comes down the pike. The price rockets up dramatically, then when it becomes uncool in favor of whatever's new, it's too expensive for anyone to sign up anyway.
posted by hifiparasol at 1:39 PM on July 14, 2009


whoops -- no offense, cjorgensen, yeoz, etc.
posted by hifiparasol at 1:43 PM on July 14, 2009


Well, there is a scrolling list of the posted sites, so I was amusing myself checking what people found worthwhile.

I also posted one of my sites, so we'll see if it brings in any extra traffic.

Who knows, it might be worthless, and maybe I'll want my $2 back, but if I find new cool things, or pick up additional eyeballs for me sites, then it will be worth it.

If twitter charged $5 an account (like a certain other site), then I don't think I would be spending 10 minutes a day vetting new followers to see if they are real people or not. Yeah, once the site starts costing more than $5 I can see adoption going way down.

I am also guessing once he gets all the bugs worked out, gets it stable and fast, he may add new users, or start the sign up price at a penny again. Heck, if he reset the signup fee annually, this would be a great way to throttle growth.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:51 PM on July 14, 2009


I wonder what effect literal buy-in has on user experience? Since we've paid $5 or whatever, does cognitive dissonance affect our impression of MeFi or pinboard?
posted by zamboni at 1:54 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am also guessing once he gets all the bugs worked out, gets it stable and fast, he may add new users, or start the sign up price at a penny again. Heck, if he reset the signup fee annually, this would be a great way to throttle growth.

This makes a lot more sense than the indefinite model that seems to be in place now, but thinking on it, I wonder if even that would achieve the desired result. If the site became really popular, wouldn't it see a huge clot of growth every January, then level off to almost nonexistent growth over the rest of the year once the membership fee became prohibitive? It'd be like a Halloween store.

I feel like to truly throttle growth rather than just bottleneck it, he'd have to reset the signup fee a lot more often.
posted by hifiparasol at 1:59 PM on July 14, 2009


I feel like to truly throttle growth rather than just bottleneck it, he'd have to reset the signup fee a lot more often.

Yeah, but Halloween can be planned for. Additional server capacity, space on Amazon, etc. Like buying candy for the kids. Get it ready, open the floodgates, make some cash, put the brakes back on. And this is just speculation, since I can't imagine even the geekiest nut would ever pay more than $20, but who knows, maybe we'll be reading about how Steve Jobs bought the most expensive account to date at $5,000,000 beating out the previous record held by Bill Gates.

If he doesn't resent the signup cost, I see the user base freezing at some point. But if I remember right, even metafilter did that (not allowing new sign ups). A $100 signup effectively does this. but I suppose leave the door open for someone that really really needs it (I don't know who that would be).
posted by cjorgensen at 2:11 PM on July 14, 2009


I'm sorry... what? I'm supposed to pay ~$5 to share my bookmarks? Fuck that. Are people seriously running out of places to find links? Does the fact that I bothered to pay $5 make the links I post any better?

hifiparasol: It's a pretty good business plan, I guess, if only because there are enough early adopters out there eager to grab up whatever new tech comes down the pike. The price rockets up dramatically, then when it becomes uncool in favor of whatever's new, it's too expensive for anyone to sign up anyway.

Pretty much sums it up.
posted by mkultra at 2:14 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


metafilter: I'm supposed to pay ~$5 to share my bookmarks? Fuck that.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:17 PM on July 14, 2009 [8 favorites]


Are people seriously running out of places to find links?

This, to me, is the downfall. It's not like the links on pinboard are special in any way; they're just behind a wall (and, if someone chooses the Creative Commons option, even that disappears). If it's a popular link, it'll show up in a ten thousand other places. And if it's not a popular link, it'll show up in three thousand other places.

Though, hey, I'm just some guy. This could be the big thing that changes e-commerce and distribution models forever. Maybe this'll save the newspapers somehow. Or maybe there's some SEO angle I'm missing.
posted by hifiparasol at 2:25 PM on July 14, 2009


Even if you make all your bookmarks private, then in a sense you're paying a US$5 (ish?) one-time fee for hosting them permanently on the site, with attendant backups and security looked after by technicians rather than yourself, and for the use of the application that manages them. Bonus if you use many different computers and want your bookmarks centralized.

I'm not saying pinboard is the only site that does that, but if it's lean and mean, saving you time and trouble, it could be a win.
posted by Maximian at 2:29 PM on July 14, 2009


Maciej is an awesome guy and a helluva painter, I hope this works out well for him!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 2:34 PM on July 14, 2009


This alone makes del.icio.us worth much more than $4.93 (or whatever). The automatic sync to wherever you're running Firefox is such a massive boost in browser usability. Set your bookmarks bar to "favorite tags view" and you don't even notice that you're running an addon, it just looks like a bunch of bookmark folders.
posted by mark242 at 4:32 PM on July 14, 2009


I am a person who never got any use out of delicious, despite trying, and hardly uses bookmarks at all. When you've got a smart browser history, Google Search and Google Reader, what's the point?
posted by grobstein at 4:55 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maybe the service isn't meant for you? I mean, does everything on the Internet need to cater to everyone? Sometimes I'll see that a new Twitter client has come out for the iPhone, and almost instantly the complaints start rolling in. "Doesn't have bit.ly support, who would want to use that?" People need to use their imaginations, and picture a world where everyone has their own needs.
posted by chunking express at 5:04 PM on July 14, 2009


I wish you could re-read my comment and take back your weird response. ("People need to use their imaginations"? That seems passive-aggressive. What gives?) I understand that other people have different needs than me -- I know that people love delicious, so the conclusion follows immediately. I posted my comment because I don't understand how or why something like delicious or bookmarks generally are really useful anymore. I would like to understand, in part because it might reveal that even I could get something out of them (or a service like pinboard).
posted by grobstein at 5:31 PM on July 14, 2009


Yeah, I don't get the social bookmarking either. Every weird niche interest has A Major Blogger (if not 9 or 10) covering "the scene" already and that person posts all The New Hotnesses.
posted by DU at 5:56 PM on July 14, 2009


My bad, I thought you were just being a jerk ass. Why it's useful? Well I know some people like browsing the popular page on delicious, and you can only have something like that if everyone is sharing their links. If you want to share what you find with your friends, but don't want to send them emails, they could just read your delicious page. If you're interested in a particular topic, you can see what people have tagged with some set of keywords. I actually don't think it's very hard to figure out uses for things to do with shared public bookmarks.
posted by chunking express at 8:03 PM on July 14, 2009


I was tempted to sign up simply because one of the as-yet-unimplemented plans for site is "get acquired by Yahoo and slowly grow useless". But I never use delicious and would probably never use this.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:53 PM on July 14, 2009


I don't know if the pinboard is worth anything or not, but his essays on idleword are money!

Milan Kundera is the Slavic Dave Matthews, for example.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 8:58 PM on July 14, 2009


I was one of the early (pre-fee) beta testers for Pinboard, and I've been using it a lot more than I ever used Delicious. Maciej's been great about fixing issues as they come up (including adding support for the moon-man character set I occasionally tag things in), and the site's been zippy and cruft-free, which is more than I can say for Delicious.

Also, seriously, check out his blog. If his essays don't make you want to spend $4, then I don't know what to say.
posted by bokane at 12:50 AM on July 15, 2009


Amazon seems to have refused my payment, but Pinboard gave me an account anyway.
posted by scruss at 1:53 AM on July 15, 2009


I use delicious to maintain a set of over 1000 reference links focused on a subject I'm interested in - instead of googling every time I'm asked a question, I can just go to my account, bring up the relevant tags, find what I'm looking for and maybe a bonus extra link, and either send it on or just refresh my memory on the topic. If the question is broad, I send a link to delicious/myaccount/relevanttag and let them browse for themselves, knowing that I won't have bookmarked any ads, splogs or fluff.

I don't find it "social" so much as "public".

But yeah, delicious is getting fiddlier and slower to use. A swift new setup would be nice...
posted by harriet vane at 4:39 AM on July 15, 2009


His best essay is the one about Polish police.
posted by chunking express at 4:40 AM on July 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


mkultra: I'm sorry... what? I'm supposed to pay ~$5 to share my bookmarks? Fuck that. Are people seriously running out of places to find links? Does the fact that I bothered to pay $5 make the links I post any better?

You're not supposed to do anything. Congratulations! You've been filtered by the financial captcha. The service is obviously not worth that much to you, so move along.

It's not a business plan. It's a throttle that's slightly more profitable than invite codes. Seems to be working properly.
posted by deusx at 10:40 AM on July 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


Come to think of it, obtaining invite codes typically involves social capital. Both types of throttling will create a manageable base of invested clients who believe your project is worth something, or they wouldn't have gone to the effort of obtaining access.
posted by zamboni at 4:23 PM on July 21, 2009


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