PlayerSearch Blog

by Ted Kasten, Founder of PlayerSearch

Pageflakes Acquired by Live Nation | MyPlayerSearch is a Pageflakes for sports

Michael Arrington at TechCrunch is reporting that Pageflakes has been acquired by Live Universe. Pageflakes built a great product but was unable to monetize it or match the growth rate of its direct competitor Netvibes. About a year ago, both sites had similar traffic levels but Netvibes had a better UI and made it slightly easier to add/discover news feeds…I stuck with Netvibes and I now depend on it daily…apparently others felt the same way as Netvibes traffic grew rapidly over the past twelve months to about 2.5mm monthly users today compared with just 203,000 for Pageflakes. Pageflakes raised $4mm from Benchmark Capital Europe (Balderton) and had 20 employees. With the poor state of the economy, I imagine the prospects of raising additional capital where slim with no revenue in sight, a $300,000 monthly burn rate and a product in last place on the market share chart in a highly competitive market. A sale was likely inevitable. I hope this sale enables them to continue to improve their already great product and grow their customer base. Here is the profile page for Pageflakes on CrunchBase.

Stand alone personalized start pages such as Pageflakes and Netvibes may never get the traffic levels of My Yahoo or iGoogle, but they do fill a need for an easy to use site that enables users to follow the news they want to follow without worry of editorial/selection bias (i.e Yahoo only promotes the feeds that help Yahoo, not the reader). One short coming I found with both Netvibes and Pageflakes is that they don’t go very deep in any content vertical and it is difficult to discover popular feeds in my area of interest (they have both gotten better at this). Most of the feeds I have on my Netvibes page I had to find and then insert. Each site had only a few news feeds for sports and none of the feeds I wanted to follow. That is where MyPlayerSearch excels…we have a directory of over 1,400 sports focused feeds covering just about every popular sport. It is incredibly easy to discover new feeds for your favorite players or teams in fact we have already done the legwork for you (do a search for Brett Favre and PlayerSearch searches all the local Packer news sites, sports blogs, team video, NFL Network video, ESPN video, etc.) MyPlayerSearch is basically a Pageflakes for sports and is currently the only sports focused personalized start page.

Michael Arrington of TechCrunch has posted some updated traffic stats on the leaders in general personalized start pages including (in order of traffic size) My Yahoo, iGoogle, MyMSN, MyAOL, Netvibes and Pageflakes.

Update on 4/18:

This acquisition has been confirmed by TechCrunch and Mashable. TechCrunch has a very insightful quote from Dan Cohen, CEO of PageFlakes, on how Netvibes distribution deals were key to its growth. Pageflakes did not have distribution deals and was not able to grow traffic fast enough organically or virally.

Dan Cohen states:

A lot of the growth in the personalized start page category has historically been kickstarted and is still derived from internal and external distribution deals, not organic or viral growth. The original My Yahoo of ten years ago received an incredible amount of traffic from the main portal (and it still does), and the same went for iGoogle when it launched in 2005 – that little “iGoogle” link in the upper right hand corner of the standard page was the engine that drove (and continues to drive) traffic to the site.

Comscore shows that even our friends at Netvibes derive most of their current traffic from one deal, the white-label page they did with MIVA, and didn’t experience any growth until that deal occurred last fall. In short, to really thrive in this category, you need big distribution deals with generous revenue share percentages.

I do think that the number of traditional personalized start pages that can co-exist as standalone sites (not affiliated with a distribution network) is pretty small.


April 14, 2008 Posted by | Netvibes, Pageflakes, Personalized Start Pages | , , | 1 Comment

Interview with Pageflakes CEO has a lengthy interview with Dan Cohen, CEO of Pageflakes. It is worth reading if you are interested in learning more about one of the leading general personalized start pages (we have created the same concept with but focused entirely on sports).

One comment that caught my attention is when Dan mentions Pageflakes is built using Microsoft .Net technologies as is MySpace…so is MyPlayerSearch. It is typically not the start-up technology du jour for some legitimate reasons, but there are also some very good reasons to use MSFT technologies…I am glad Dan agrees with us!

April 7, 2008 Posted by | Pageflakes | , , | Leave a comment