Clipmarks: A Highlighter for the Web

The NY-based team at Clipmarks just launched 2.0 of their product, a unique web clipping system that allows you to take just the paragraphs, sentences, or multimedia you want from a page while maintaining a link to the original document.

Their CEO, Eric Goldstein, was a lawyer who was fed up with cutting and pasting citations into a Word file only to discover that the 100 page mess became unreadable and unusable. He and his team launched a first iteration of the product, which Marshall looked at months ago, but the latest version is considerably more fully-featured and quite interesting.

The product is a Mozilla/Firefox or IE plugin that brings up an interactive clipping menu. When you scroll over text, Clipmarks highlights it and allows you to clip it to an email, to a blog — many CMSes are supported including WordPress and Blogger — to print, or just save. The clips are stored on the Clipmarks server and can be “popped” to the front page to share with other readers.

These popped stories allow voting and there is a running tally of popular stories on the homepage. Goldstein mentioned that there is no way to vote against a story so stories can only rise in the ranks or peter out, not be demoted by nefarious popularity gamers.

This social aspect is second to the actual usefulness of being able to grab snippets of text, store them, and even use them in blog postings. There are a number of Javascript things that perform similar tasks, but the formatting choices and methods afforded by Clipmarks is inconspicuous and potentially addicting.

In the brief time that I used it, I was able to grab videos, individual sentences, and even whole posts and drag them to a number of locations. There is a huge Clipmarks button that appears next to the menu bar in Firefox and things get really annoying if you hit it accidentally and start seeing blocks appear over everything on a page, but this is a small price to pay for the functionality afforded.