When Will the Madness End?

What’s that jazz about history repeating itself? Techdirt is reporting about a hot, new, exciting start-up being covered by all the tech press called Onfolio. What does it do? Onfolio is a…wait for it…bookmark manager!

But that’s not all! Onfolio is following in the footsteps of failures like iHarvest and TheBrain by basing their product around a desktop download which captures webpages, graphics, notes, etc about the sites you visit. The primary benefit is supposedly collaboration.

Well, since I’ve been doing bookmarks for 5 years now, I’ll give my 2 cents:

  • People like the idea of collaboration, but they rarely actually collaborate.
  • The materials found on websites are usually not the most important data in a project. In most projects I have worked on, the bookmarks turned out to be of minor importance since all of their salient information was cut-and-pasted into Word or Excel docs.
  • Requiring users to install a program in order to collaborate is a certain route to failure since only the most motivated people in the group will want to go through the effort.
  • Even if you get great feedback from your motivated hard-core users, keep in mind that there are very, very few of them.