Last week, Pownce went live, and you can now sign up for an account with no invite. The website is great and the fact that they have some form of business model is even better (at least from a VC standpoint). Not to mention you can get some pretty neat uses out of Pownce if you plan a lot of events, or just want to share photos/files in general. However Pownce seems to be missing a few things to really help propel it forward and make it a true competitor to Twitter and even Jaiku.
- Let me to receive updates via instant messaging (preferably Google Talk). Why is this feature missing? Is it because of the Adobe AIR application they have and have spent a considerable amount of time developing? The AIR application is neat and it allows you to post all the kinds of things you can post using Pownce, but for updates when I am away from a PC, I really need instant messaging updates.
- Let me post updates to Pownce via IM. Speaking of instant messaging features, , the ability to post simple messages via IM is a great feature that is sorely missed on Pownce. Maybe making something that can parse incoming IM updates and turn them into link updates or event updates. The completely missing IM feature is something I would really like to see come to Pownce. For example if I send “Really cool site my friend just told me about link:http://www.digg.com”, it would parse the URL after the “link:” part as link kind of post.
- Allow me to post from a mobile device via SMS as well as a mobile page. It is great that Pownce has a mobile site that allows me to post from my BlackBerry while on the go, but one of the things that makes Twitter (and Jaiku) so easy to use (thus giving Twitter its mass appeal) is the ability to easily update while on the move. It doesn’t matter where I am, I can always send an SMS message to get my status updated.
- A complete API. Looking at the Pownce API, you’ll notice that there is one important function that is missing (at least I can’t seem to find it at the moment). That would be the ability to post. Without this function, the API is almost completely worthless. Pownce (as with other micro-blogging sites) is about the ability to post updates, links, events, and even files. If you can’t post from the API, then what point is there to having an API at all?
Pownce is a fantastic website, and I believe that it’s invite-only status might have severely hindered its growth (if you can’t get an invite then you went to Twitter where you could definitely sign up). The features it offers give it a slight lead over Twitter in the area of true usability. It’s role can be expanded beyond micro-blogging. But the above list are things that will keep it out of most peoples “use cycle” for a good while. Even if they implemented every missing feature tomorrow, it would still take a while for people to move off of the other services.
Some of this might be related to the fact that they really still only have one developer and until they sell enough pro accounts or get bought, some of these missing features might be a long way out. Time will tell if Pownce can maintain relevancy in a Twitter world, and these features can only help it grow even more.