Earlier in the year, we waxed lyrical about a new Twitter chat service called Bonfire, a browser extension that integrates a real-time chat service into the official Twitter website. While the service gained a loyal userbase, the company has decided to close its chat tool, telling users it will turn off its servers on September 26.

In a blog post, the Bonfire team says that despite launching to high praise from the media, gaining significant early traction (it initially went down under heavy loads at launch) and raising funding from a “great group of investors”, the company’s founder Josh Russell and his team made the “hard decision” to discontinue the service.

Russell writes:

We’ve always been a very small team, and we’ve overcome a lot of very specific and unique challenges that working to augment the Twitter experience brings. We had grand plans, and an exciting roadmap, but unfortunately we’ve not had the resources to be able to move forward as quickly as we’d liked to have done.

Bonfire browser extension dropped a chat layer on top of Twitter’s web experience, which utilised its own chat infrastructure. That meant that it would work even when tweets were delayed and when Twitter was dealing with another Fail Whale.

By installing Bonfire, the service would look for mutual connections that also use the service.

Whether it’s the real end for Bonfire remains to be seen. At the bottom of the post, Russell states that if anyone is interested in “the roadmap, technology, opportunities for the future of BonfireIM,” then they should get in contact. It would suggest that if a company believes it can provide the resources that Russell and his team couldn’t, the service could be spared.

We have reached out to Josh for comment on whether this is the case.

[Image Credit: natalielucier]