Twitter Competitor Pownce Falls Silent

Microblogging site Pownce, co-founded by Digg's Kevin Rose, has been sold to Six Apart and will shut down in mid-December. The Twitter-like site debuted with a media splash but never locked down a sizable audience.

There has been no lack of news lately about the expansion of social networking sites such as Facebook and, but there isn't enough room in the social media market for every would-be connector. Microblogging site Pownce, a Twitter competitor founded last year, announced its technology has been acquired by blogging company Six Apart and will shut down on Dec. 15.

"We will be closing the service and [co-founder] Mike [Malone] and I, along with the Pownce technology, have joined Six Apart," founder Leah Culver wrote on the company blog. "We're bittersweet about shutting down the service but we believe we'll come back with something much better in 2009."
When the site launched on June 27, 2007, the company received much favorable media coverage, bolstering the site's profile. Much of the buzz stemmed from the involvement of co-founder Kevin Rose, of Digg fame. Although invitations to join the service were once in such high demand that they were selling on eBay, Pownce was never able to wrest a sizable share of the microblogging market from Twitter, despite Pownce's ability to let users share multimedia such as videos and photos as well as events.
"We'll be closing down the main Pownce Web site two weeks from today, Dec. 15," Culver writes. "Since we'd like for you to have access to all your Pownce messages, we've added an export function [to] import your posts to other blogging services."
Six Apart CEO Chris Alden commended Culver and Malone on their vision for Pownce. "We are very happy that they will be joining us," he said in a prepared statement. "The Pownce team and Six Apart share the same passion for social blogging, and we're really proud to have them on board." He also said Rose and co-founder Daniel Burka will join Six Apart as "advisers."
While the demise of a social networking platform is not unexpected, given the multitude of options people and businesses have for connecting, it does underline the caution with which small and medium-size businesses should invest time and energy into a social media site for their company.