Sometimes in business we create products and services aiming to fill a particular need only to discover that our customers actually value something else entirely.

This recently happened with Xmarks, my favourite free bookmark sync service which recently announced they’ll be shuttering.

Xmarks’ business model was an ad play using aggregated bookmark data. Their free service came under threat from similarly free browser integrations from the likes of Mozilla (Firefox).

But what I value about Xmarks is that it is a cross-browser solution. Basically, my bookmarks are synchronised irrespective of which browser I am using at any given time. I need this, most people don’t. I’ll pay, most people wouldn’t. But that doesn’t mean a viable business doesn’t exist.

It seems the Xmarks guys didn’t quite realise why their customers valued the product. Do yours?

(If you use Xmarks they have set up a pledge page here, where you can promise to pay some cash if 100,000 peeps do too.)