After writing my review of Pownce a few weeks ago, I figured I’d never write about the site again. However, after reading an idiotic article published in the New York Times yesterday, I knew I’d have to. Author Jason Pontin had me shaking my head right from the opening paragraph:
JUST now, the hottest startup in Silicon Valley — minutely examined by bloggers, panted after by investors — is Pownce, but only a chosen few can try out its Web site.
Hottest startup in the valley? News to me. Maybe three or four weeks ago. Anyway, let’s continue.
Within days, invitations were selling on eBay for as much as $10. Mr. Rose has declined all requests to be interviewed about the service, including my own. But as a consolation, he sent me a coveted invitation. I enjoyed the rare thrill of cyberhipness — and got to experiment with the site.
Coveted? Are you kidding me? Pownce tells me I have nine invites to give out. I’ve had them for weeks. I am positive I’m not the only one. Sorry Jason, receiving an invite to Pownce is anything but a hip cyber experience.
After some general information and background on Kevin Rose, Jason concludes that media executives should keep an eye on Pownce:
What struck me most was the site’s potential to be powerfully disruptive. Most file-sharing occurs on public sites, which can be monitored by media companies; if the users violate copyrights, the sites or the users themselves can be threatened into compliance or litigated out of existence (as happened with the original Napster). File-sharing on Pownce would be difficult to police.
If I didn’t know any better I’d think Jason was trying to make a joke. Because I sure laughed.
The RIAA has sued children, senior citizens, and everyone in-between. They’ve shut down company after company, and they’ve successfully petitioned ISPs for records detailing the activities of their subscribers. Somehow I don’t think policing Pownce (a system which knows exactly who is sharing what with whom, btw) would be a problem. Evidently Jason hasn’t heard of BitTorrent, which actually does make it difficult to police file-sharing (especially with the recent work done on protocol encryption).
I really wish the NY Times would stop publishing useless fluff pieces like this one.
I should mention that my main criticism of Pownce is set to be remedied soon – they are starting an API. Should be available in September, though the undocumented API that their desktop app uses has already been, um, documented.
Read: NY Times