I’m not sure how it’s possible that four companies with nearly identical ideas launched within a few months of each other, but here we are with four new social aggregator startups. There is now Paul Berry’s RebelMouse (a Sarah Lacy favorite), ERA-backed Glossi (an Erin Griffith favorite), TechStars-backed Vizify, which I’ll have a full review of shortly, and now Hypemarks, launched a few weeks ago with seed funding from Bill Gross of Idealab.
All of them promise to be your social homepage, pulling in feeds of your content from Twitter, Facebook, and other networks, in their own special way. They create a dynamic version of About.me, which has withered under its AOL ownership. Glossi builds 10 feeds into a design-heavy “magazine.” Rebelmouse’s page looks a bit like an informational Pinterest. Hypemarks takes a similar tact. Vizify twists your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare feeds into a super fun-looking reactive series of pages.
So that’s the front page part. There’s also the dashboard feature which allows you to follow your friends’ feeds, similar to Tumblr’s dashboard. Glossi just launched its social mega-feed, which does just about what you’d think — it’s a digest of your friends’ social activities. Today Hypemarks launches its version of the social feed, which allows you to see the content shared by the friends you follow on the service grouped automatically by collections. The goal is if your friends or followers want to learn more about it, they don’t need to look any further than the collections you’ve curated, says co-founder Tim Sae Koo.
With four startups working on the social aggregation problem, I trust one will actually break through the noise. This category is starting to look like the travel inspiration category. There are probably five to ten travel sites that create pretty logs of your comings and goings, and like the social homepage startups, they’re in a landgrab for users. My guess is that it won’t take too long before one pivots into something else, does a talent acquisition, or bows out. In travel, we’ve already seen the pivots begin — Gtrot changed it focus from travel to local recommendations.
The problem is I’m not entirely convinced most people are aching for more content to absorb. RebelMouse does a good job of filtering the feeds and emphasizing the most meaningful items — I imagine its version of the megafeed, if it builds one, will do the same. But going there for content will require me to change my existing media diet of Twitter, Facebook, RSS, and email.
Whether a winner will emerge or the entire category is a wash, it’ll be a fun few months to watch them compete.