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Screenshot by Ghacks


Xmarks Bookmark-Syncing Service Shuts Down

If you’ve been using the Xmarks service to sync bookmarks across browsers and platforms, you may have wondered why it hasn’t been working of late. It turns out that Xmarks is pushing up daisies, since parent company LogMeIn shut it down on 1 May 2018 with just a month of warning. TidBITS reader Gib Henry alerted us to this situation, noting that when he complained, he was told that users had been sent an email on 30 March 2018, although he hadn’t received anything.

Bookmarks synced by Xmarks remain accessible everywhere they are currently, but no future syncing will occur, so you should remove Xmarks from your devices. If you’re looking for replacements, Ghacks lists several options, but none appear to offer the same breadth of browser and platform support as Xmarks.

Xmarks, originally called Foxmarks, originated in 2006 from a company founded by Mitch Kapor (of Lotus 1-2-3, EFF, and Mozilla fame). Despite racking up over 15 million downloads by April of 2009, Xmarks’ reliance on voluntary donations wasn’t sufficient to keep the service alive, but it was rescued from oblivion in 2010 when password-management firm LastPass acquired it. When LogMeIn bought LastPass in 2015, LastPass said that they planned to continue supporting Xmarks. Was there ever a viable business model behind cross-browser and platform bookmark syncing?

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Comments About Xmarks Bookmark-Syncing Service Shuts Down

Notable Replies

  1. I’m still hanging on with URLMPro! But it’s a 32-bit app and almost continually reports an error with each new site I add. There was no “business model” for it, as far as I know and no income tends to deter continued development/support. :wink: Hopefully, others will mention some useful replacements. OTOH, I seldom use different browsers like I did 10 years ago, so having cross-browser support is not as important. And, if it’s a site that requires logging in, 1Password can handle that, anyway.
    Perhaps this is a good time to slim down my 2,880 bookmarks plus the 1,000 most recent items in the History list? 8+|

  2. I used Xmarks (and LastPass) for a few years but was never totally satisfied with either service. The most significant criticism I had was with the quality of their software. LastPass’s web-based management UI was prone to being unavailable at times and was clunky to use. And Xmarks’ synching wasn’t always reliable. I eventually switched to 1Password for password management, and Pinboard for bookmark management. 1Password has rock-solid support for all the devices I use (Android, iOS, macOS, Windows). And Pinboard, while primarily web-based, benefits from a broad base of third-party clients. Most importantly, they both just work.

  3. I have been using Bookmacster from It does an excellent job of syncing between browsers on a Mac. I use iCloud to sync Safari bookmarks between my various devices. Firefox and Chrome can do the same. Sheep Systems also has other apps with a subset of Bookmacster’s features. The product is well supported.

  4. gib

    No business model? Subscription! I was paying $12/year. I think there was a free version, but if you really wanted to sync across machines, devices, and operating systems, you had to pay. Maybe not enough?

    I suspect the code was getting old and creaky, and they didn’t want to bother updating it. Then again, it seems to me that their LastPass software is getting the same way. Time for a change!//Gib Henry

  5. gib

    For a while they sold a bundle of LastPass and Xmarks for $20. My last payment to them was for $24.96 in December 2017; not sure why the strange amount. Say, now that I think of it, I never saw a refund either…//Gib

  6. I used Xmarks what seems like a decade ago. It was a great service back then, because there simply wasn’t a lot of competition. There’s a ton of competition now, and a lot of it is really good. But quite frankly, I find iCloud syncing to work fantastic. Of course that doesn’t help me (or anyone else) if I decide to use Firefox or Chrome (which isn’t likely to happen).

    1Password is great, but it’s not really a bookmark manager. LastPass is great, but I still have a bad taste in my mouth over their data breach years ago. And I really don’t trust any company that isn’t large enough to avoid being bought-out or suffering enough financial difficulties that they’re forced to change their service or shut down completely.

  7. Indeed, but our point was that not enough people must have been paying them or it would have been worth their while to keep the service going. What’s unknown to everyone but LogMeIn is whether those numbers might have been good enough for a company that did nothing but focus on the Xmarks product—all too often, acquired apps don’t get the attention they need from the acquiring company.

    Well, sort of. All the major Web browsers can sync bookmarks across platforms, but don’t do anything for syncing bookmarks across different browsers. Perhaps this is one of those things that only certain types of users would want or need at this point, since most people stick with a single browser now.

    1Password not a password manager? I use LastPass, but I can’t think of any notable password management features that LastPass has that 1Password doesn’t. (The main reason I use LastPass is its ability to autofill and autologin, whereas AgileBit considers that slightly dodgy and requires the user to take an action.)

    As far as the breach goes, it certainly wasn’t good, but no passwords were exposed, and LastPass’s approach minimizes the risk even if they had been.

    LastPass’s interface isn’t nearly as slick as 1Password’s is, but in many years of using it, I’ve never noticed its online component not being available. And I use it really heavily, with many logins per day.

  8. all too often, acquired apps don’t get the attention they need from the
    acquiring company.

    ​So very true!​

  9. I don’t know of any bookmark managers that DON’T sync across browsers. They’re all cloud based, so none of the ones I’m aware of are limited to a specific browser.

    Sorry, I meant to say 1Password is great, but it’s not really a bookmark manager. Original post corrected.

    I can see that you like LastPass… but we’re talking about a bookmark manager here, not a password manager. So LP and 1P are kind of pointless to discuss here. I brought up 1P and LP because I knew someone would, but neither are bookmark managers.

    The biggest problem I see with most of the bookmark managers out there is that they try too hard to be fancy-pants managers so they can distinguish themselves from one another.

    The reality is that most people who have enough bookmarks to manage and use multiple browsers is they simply want a bookmark SYNCING app, not a manager. Most people don’t want or need all the fancy layouts and image displays (Pinterest style), etc… they want their bookmarks, the way they’ve categorized them (via folders right in the browser) just synced across the web to work with all their browsers. That’s it.

    In fact, I should edit my original post to say there are plenty of great alternative apps & services to bookmarks in general. However there are NO alternatives to Xmarks. None. Not a single one.

    If anyone has even a single alternative to Xmarks that uses your browser’s built-in bookmarking mechanism and simply Syncs the resulting bookmarks to other browsers using their respective built-in bookmarking mechanism, I would LOVE to know what it is.

  10. Ah, no worries. Yes, LastPass and 1Password are ancillary to the topic at hand. I should have noted my confusion privately. :slight_smile:

    As far as my comments about syncing, I was querying it because it sounded like you were saying browser and platform syncing was a solved problem but no one had yet linked to any services that did what Xmarks did. Sounds like we just had a communication mismatch, since you’re looking for the same thing (as is @gib). The Ghacks article we linked to offered some suggestions, but they didn’t seem comparable to Xmarks.

  11. Agreed. I think we’re on the same page, I just didn’t say it right.

    As far as the problem being solved, I think it has been- at least technically speaking. After all, Xmarks has been solving it for years. They cancelled it because you can’t make money unless you insert ads, and you can’t insert ads into a list of bookmarks. All these other solutions out there are web page based solutions that do or eventually will insert sponsored links and ads.

    It’s sad that we don’t have any alternative for Xmark, but I suspect 95% of people have settled on using one browser on all their devices by now for day-to-day use, so it’s not an issue for them.

    James Dempsey

  12. I was a long time Xmarks user but have since moved on to Bookmark OS and have never looked back. It is a website so syncing never gets messed up and it is designed to feel like Mac OSX or Windows so its easier to manager everything. If you’re still looking for an alternative I would check it out

  13. It works. Thanks. I’ll try it in Safari on my iPhone later.

    Thanks again.

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