LastPass, the online password manager that stores your passwords in the cloud and syncs them to browser plug-ins and mobile apps, has acquired Xmarks
, the troubled online browser bookmark sync service. Xmarks went under for a short time in September.
Xmarks quickly came back to life after user outcry. The company has since tried to stay afloat for its dedicated users. LastPass CEO Joe Siegrist said in an interview:
“They had a large dedicated audience, but their free offering and advertising model was not working,” he said. “We really want to figure something out that could keep it going.”
The "something that could keep Xmarks going" is a freemium model. LastPass using the same model for its service. While LastPass is free, in general, there are premium add-ons that some pay for. An example is synchronizing passwords to mobile devices, which requires a subscription.
On their blog
, Xmarks said the following:
Xmarks is transitioning to a “freemium” business model, the same model that allowed LastPass to grow into a thriving, profitable business. The browser add-on and the vast majority of what users have enjoyed remains free. Users can then opt to purchase Xmarks Premium for $12 per year, which includes new enhanced features like Android and iPhone mobile phone apps, priority support, and more. The Xmarks and LastPass Premium offerings are also available bundled together at a reduced subscription rate of $20 per year.
In the interest of full disclosure, it's true that we use LastPass in our browsers and mobile devices. It's also true that we pay for the premium service so we can get mobile access. However, we don't really use bookmarks at all, anymore. Since LastPass will actually browse to a site and then login for us, we see no reason to have bookmarks, or sync them either.
Still, it's good to see that Xmarks will remain. It's well loved, after all.