The extremely handy bookmark synchronization tool, Xmarks is pulling the plug and calling it quits.

How does this happen? Xmarks, formerly, foxmarks, is/was really the best and most user-friendly tool for cross-browser synchronization of bookmarks and favorites.

Now today I read that come January 10, 2011 – the synchronization will cease.

In a somber post on the Xmarks blog yesterday, Todd Agulnick, co-founder and CTO, posted the following, “…As I write this, it’s a typical Sunday here at Xmarks. The synchronization service continues operating quietly, the servers chugging along syncing browser data for our 2 million users across their 5 million desktops. The day isn’t over yet, but we’re on track to add just under 3000 new accounts today.

Tomorrow, however, will hardly be anything but typical, for tomorrow one of our engineers will start a script that will email each of our users to notify them that we’ll be ceasing operations in around 90 days…”

The Beginning of the End

Agulnick continues by detailing how the wheels began to fall off the wagon, “…By Spring 2010, with money running tight and options fading, we started searching for potential buyers of the company. Over the past three months, we have been remarkably close to striking a deal, only to have the potential buyer get cold feet. We also considered refocusing Xmarks as a freemium sync business, but the prospects there are grim too: with the emergence of competent sync features built in to Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, it’s hard to see users paying for a service that they can now get for free. For four years we have offered the synchronization service for no charge, predicated on the hypothesis that a business model would emerge to support the free service. With that investment thesis thwarted, there is no way to pay expenses, primarily salary and hosting costs. Without the resources to keep the service going, we must shut it down. Our plan is to keep the service running for another 90+ days, after which the plug will be pulled.”

As alternatives to Xmarks, Agulnick points to the following alternatives here.

Truly a sad day for an internet startup that actually provided some phenomenal value to us users. We wish Todd and the team well and look for a future endeavor.