Everyone is comparing newcomer Pownce to various existing services. Names such as Jaiku, Tumblr, and Box.net keep arising. In particular, Twitter has been mentioned the most. Furthermore, comparisons are being made to IM clients, e-mail applications, and P2P programs. None of these seem to fit the bill for me. After some hard thinking and due diligence, it became abundantly clear to me that Pownce is more like Digg than anything else. This should have been obvious from the start, as Kevin Rose is the mastermind behind both operations.
When you think about it, Digg is nothing more than a link-sharing network. Users are encouraged to share links that they think the community and other users will find useful and valuable. Pownce is no different. However it takes the concept a couple steps further.
Firstly, Pownce enables sharing with a select group of people that you have control over. You can share with one individual, a group, or your entire contact list. With Digg, you are forced to share with everyone. Taking this concept one step further, one could say that Pownce is a Digg-like social network - the main difference being that stories (i.e. links) are not voted to the front page, but rather viewed by a select group of individuals.
Secondly, Pownce further expands upon what you can share using Digg. The service allows you to share links like Digg, but also messages, files, and events. These cannot and will not be shared using Digg for several important reasons:
- Messages often provide little value unless you know the author;
- Files may be corrupt or copyrighted;
- Events are only relevant to certain people and regions.
Furthermore, these three categories do not bode as well as stories and links for creating hype and buzz. This is the very basis for Digg.
My guess is that Kevin Rose an his team recognized these downfalls and wanted to create a more personalized method of sharing. Hence, Pownce was born. Instead of sharing a generic link with the world, you are now able to share more meaningful, relevant content with a select group. The core idea of sharing remains the same. However, the target group and item of interest have changed.
Is this a reasonable comparison or are there other services that Pownce is more closely related to that I have overlooked?