I’m saddened by the demise of Pownce - in its current form. They were acquired by Six Apart earlier this week which means...I don’t know exactly what it means. I wasn’t a heavy user of Pownce, but I did use it to communicate with friends. I was able to privately share small files, photos, links, and messages with various friends. I’m not sure if Pownce will be integrated with one of Six Apart’s services such as Vox or Typepad, but it won’t be the same.
And this brings up a problem that I fear on the Internet - the loss of content you created / posted on the Internet.
Luckily Pownce provided a way to export your data and time to complete the export. But other services that have gone the way of the dodo, such as Digital Railroad, didn’t give their users this opportunity. Imagine losing all the photos you posted online? What if you didn’t have a backup?
I have over 9000 photos posted on flickr, another 24GB of photos posted on Smugmug. My blog has 473 entries, and there are only about 100 entries on my tumblr account. Most of this data - minus the tumblr posts - I have on hand a local backup. But some data cannot be copied, such as my Facebook and MySpace account. Plus any comments made on the photos above cannot be backed up - or at least I’m not aware of a way to do it at this point.
My greatest fear is that flickr or Smugmug goes under without notice. It was a fear I had with Vox which is why I moved my blog back to my personal site. (If Vox provided a means to export my blog posts it would make me feel more comfortable using it as my primary blog.) I’m sure this reality is far from possible at this point, but with this economy you never know. I have always hear that flickr is a losing proposition for Yahoo! This unconfirmed fact makes me more confident that Smugmug is a stronger choice to share my photo data online. But I enjoy flickr’s community so much.
And this is the other aspect that is lost with the demise of Pownce - the community. A solid community is difficult to build - let alone maintain. While Pownce may have not had a choice but to sell itself to Six Apart, it is a shame it wasn’t able to keep the community it had built together.