PownceKevin Rose’s new company, Megatechtronium, launched Pownce yesterday. It was rumored to be a new instant messaging client, but I’m not too sure if that’s a good term for it. I see it more as a combination of Twitter and Tumblr. Pownce allows you to communicate with friends much like you would with Twitter, but it also allows you to send special messages in the form of links, files, and events. There’s also strong group messaging features which enables you to send messages to a single friend, a group of friends, or all Pownce users.

Pownce comes in two flavors: Web and Adobe AIR application. We’ll take a look at both, but you’re free to use whichever one you’d like. The web interface has a similar structure to Twitter. You will find a list of all your friends on the left, a form in the middle for posting messages, and past messages right below the form. There’s also a list of filtering options on the right so you can narrow down on message type, messages in reply to you, and messages that you have sent. You can also find a settings area in which users can customize their profile with a custom blurb, a profile photo, and theme. (Four preset themes to choose from)

Pownce Main Profile

The stream of messages on your main profile page consists of public messages, private messages, and replies. Each message is formatted differently depending on its message type and shows additional information like how many replies have been made and who else can see the message. You can also navigate into an individual message to create a reply, rate the message, and view other replies from other Pownce users. You will also find a handy forwarding feature that lets you pass any message you come across to your own friends. And don’t forget about advertisements. Pownce offers a pro plan for $20/year which disables advertisements, but if you’re not pro, expect to find advertisements appear in the form of specially styled messages. To be honest, I wonder why Twitter hasn’t done the same because they really aren’t all that obtrusive.

Sending a message is very simple and can be done in either the web interface or Pownce application. As of now, users can send messages in the form of text, links, files, and events. Clicking on a message type that you want to send will dynamically change the form with the appropriate fields. For example, sending a link will let you fill in an address with a description; file lets you choose a file and write a description (also has a nice progress bar show as you upload); and when adding an event, you can fill in the what, when and where with a message. Unfortunately, you can only upload one file at a time (unless you make your own zip file) and you are limited to 10MB if you don’t have a pro account (pro can upload 100MB files).

Pownce Adobe AIR ApplicationNow let’s take a look at Pownce’s Adobe AIR based application. As mentioned earlier, Pownce lets you use either the web interface or Pownce AIR app, but you only get a small fraction of the features in the AIR app. You can add messages and view messages and that’s about it. The only real benefit of using the AIR app at this point is that it’s easier to keep open than a browser and you can quickly keep track of messages and add messages. Another thing I like is how each message is displayed in a collapsed format only to show the full message when you click it. This makes it easier to look through your list of messages and removes clutter. Otherwise, I found the application to be a little buggy at times (explains the alpha status). For instance, when using the scroll wheel, it would sometimes scroll in the opposite direction I would tell it. Also, when you add a friend, you have to quit the application and open it again for the drop down list of friends to update. Lastly, you see a flicker every time the list of most recent messages refreshes, which can be a bit distracting, but not a major issue.

To be honest, my first impression of Pownce was not good. During the first 30 minutes of testing, I thought to myself, “Did they really just hype up yet another twitter clone?” I was wrong. Pownce does feel like Twitter in many ways, but it’s much more structured and feature rich. Perhaps my favorite feature of Pownce is the ability to add replies to specific messages and then viewing all the replies in a threaded discussion. This becomes much more useful as you start having multiple private discussions and public discussions at the same time. I also found that messaging on Pownce just doesn’t feel the same as Twitter, which isn’t a bad thing. Twitter feels much more free-form where I can just say whatever is on my mind. But with Pownce, I feel I have to refrain from submitting multiple messages in a row and say something actually worth sharing.

Even though I’ve only had an account with Pownce since last night, I’m already finding it to be a great way to communicate with friends. It’s not too far off from your basic instant messenger, but the format in which messages are displayed and group messaging features makes it much more appealing. I can’t say I’d pay $20/year for it, but I must admit the pro badges look awfully nice. Unfortunately, Pownce is only accepting invitation-only registration at this time and I do not have any invites to hand out. You can find me on Pownce with the username, bbenzinger. Lastly, I owe thanks to Rafe Needleman for an invitation to Pownce. You can find his review of Pownce on Webware.


29 Comments on “Pownce on Your Friends”

  1. Noah Everett says:

    I didn’t get it at first either, but its starting to seem more useful now. Let me know if you got an invite I could use. I’d like to try the service.

  2. Pownce, lo último de Kevin Rose - Online says:

    [...] Tengo unas ganas locas de probarlo, de momento me he tenido que conformar con robarle las fotos a la gente de Solution Watch que es de donde saqué la noticia. [...]

  3. John says:

    As always, great and insightful overview of the product. Keep up the good work. If you do happen to get invitations i would be very grateful if you could send me one. Newtux [at] gmail dot com

    Keep up the amazing work, it is really a pleasure to read your blog.

    John

  4. Pierro says:

    howdy;

    my name is pierro and im from germany; thats why my english is all

    others than good, anyway, i will start a small question: can i get a invite
    for the nice “musing thing” pownce ? if you get one .

    I would be pleased . Salut from Germany

  5. Aidan Henry says:

    Hey Benzo,

    Great write-up as always. Good to see you’re alive and still posting ;) Keep up the good work.

    I posted my thoughts on Pownce on my blog here: http://www.mappingtheweb.com/2007/06/28/pownce-review-profile/

    Cheers,
    Aidan
    http://www.MappingTheWeb.com

  6. Olganza » Pownce, lo último de Kevin Rose says:

    [...] Tengo unas ganas locas de probarlo, de momento me he tenido que conformar con robarle las fotos a la gente de Solution Watch que es de donde saqué la noticia. [...]

  7. Killeroid says:

    Hi Brian, nice writeup on Pownce. Good to see you are still alive :). Could you drop me an invite when you have one free?

  8. share.websitemagazine.com says:

    Pownce on Your Friends…

    Kevin Rose’s new company, Megatechtronium, launched Pownce yesterday. It was rumored to be a new instant messaging client, but I’m not too sure if that’s a good term for it. I see it more as a combination of Twitter and Tumblr….

  9. Pierro says:

    pradon for the stress – I received now one

  10. Jacksorx says:

    If anyone has an invite to spare they could send me, I would laude your existence with salutations and great mirth ~!

  11. avinash says:

    I was online over at TechCrunch when they posted about Pownce but nice to read your detailed review. :) If possible, please send an invite my way when you’ve invites available.

    Thanks in advance!
    - Avi

  12. Judofyr says:

    Is it possible to get an invite? Please send it to judofyr[at]gmail[dot]com :)

  13. Alan says:

    Hi, can anyone send me an invitation at alankennedy100 [at] gmail [dot] com ?

    Thanks!

  14. Kate says:

    I’d love an invite if there are extras!
    ketw [at] yahoo [dot] com

  15. Aaron Krill says:

    I posted on mashable but never got an invite like it said I would. Anyone reading this got an invite they could send me? aaron@krillr.com is my email address.

  16. IslamCrunch - Technology, Web 2.0, Muslim Ideas & Projects says:

    [...]  What is it? “Pownce is a great way to send stuff to people you know. Add friends, then send them big files, invite them to upcoming events, share great links, and whip off a note to anyone, everyone, or just a few people.” For more reviews, check out: Mashable.com (and another), Solution Watch, Mapping the Web, CenterNetworks (with a video tutorial, see below), WebWare and Jeremiah Owyang has a list of categorized reviews. [...]

  17. Alan Poon’s Blog ???? « says:

    [...] Solution Watch – Pownce on Your Friends http://www.solutionwatch.com/589/pownce-on-your-friends/ [...]

  18. Ale says:

    Hi! Can anyone send me an invitation at talktoale [at] gmail [dit] com ?

  19. Göran Askeljung says:

    Brian,
    excellent and informative Blog on Pownce.

    I’d like to invite you as beta user for eBlizz.

    eBlizz is similar to Pownce, but uses different technology and has a potential to allow for more user defined interaction and to be more creative with what you build/share/publish than Pownce.

    For all who are interested, go to http://www.eblizz.com
    and hit sign-up. The beta will be released later in July and is then reduced to invitation only, so be fast!

    I would als appreciate an invitation to Pownce on this Email: askeljung@gmail.com

    Thanks!

  20. zymee.com says:

    Pownce on Your Friends…

    Pownce allows you to communicate with friends much like you would with Twitter, but it also allows you to send special messages in the form of links, files, and events. There’s also strong group messaging features which enables you to send messages t…

  21. Carol Castro says:

    Can you invite me please!? :)

  22. Alejandro Ixus says:

    I’m interested also, so if there is a way to invite me as beta user for eBlizz I would appreciate it. For any details, you can mail me or post here. Thanks, Alejandro

  23. Rose says:

    Hello Alejandro, you can come on my web, there is an open invitation for anyone who wants to try. Best regards, Rose

  24. DUI says:

    It does look a lot like Twitter. How does one get an invite for it?

    How in the world do you find all of these new launches and applications Brian? You must know a lot of people that are in “the know”.

  25. Bay Area personal injury says:

    Thanks for this post and i say that sarcastically bc I looove twitter and this is like twitter on steroids! You’re right it does have a great User interface and much better for organization. With Twitter its’ almost like you need a tutorial or be a twitter guru to truly feel comfortable using it. My only setback with Pownce is there is no way I’m paying $20 a month for people to keep updates on what I’m doing. This service should be free or at least cheaper. Let’s hope Google buys it so it becomes a free service.

    ~Steve

  26. Columbus GA Realtor says:

    Thanks for the info on Pownce. Where do you guys see it going from here? What do you see the future applications of Pownce and Twitter?

  27. Kaszub says:

    Nice app but i can’t get rid of twitter habbit :)

  28. Fort Myers Real Estate Lawyer says:

    It was pretty cool but I’m a have to stick with Twitter.

  29. Sports Artist says:

    Why would anyone pay for something thats is already offered free? They need to make it a free service and it would stand a chance against Twitter.