Peter Kafka

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HuffPo Vet Paul Berry Unveils Rebel Mouse, a “Social Front Page”

After Paul Berry left his job as the Huffington Post’s chief tech wizard, he linked up with a bunch of other high-level HuffPo alumni and started working on something he vaguely described as a “social platform.” And now you can see what that means: His Rebel Mouse service opens for business this morning.

Rebel Mouse will strike many people as a publishing platform more than a social platform, but I’ll let the smart folks figure out the semantics. The basics: It’s a service that lets you quickly assemble a Web page populated with links from your Facebook and Twitter streams, using a slick graphical presentation that looks quite a bit like Pinterest.

Here’s my page, for instance:

And here’s one from Jonah Peretti, the HuffPo co-founder who now runs BuzzFeed and who also helped back Rebel Mouse, along with Lerer Ventures:

If you want to, you can simply tell Rebel Mouse to run your page for you, using the stories and images it finds in your feeds. Or you can be more active and insert stuff on your own, via a Web-bookmarklet tool. You can also edit headlines, move stories around, add annotations, etc. Berry will add more features soon, like a direct integration with Instagram.

Okay, but why? Who needs yet another social platform — or, as Berry calls it now, a “social front page” — that lets you “explain who you are and what you’re thinking”?

“It’s a massive use case,” Berry argues. “It’s one of these where everyone who’s on Facebook, and everyone who’s on Twitter is a target.”

Well, that’s a mighty big use case. If you want to narrow it down a bit, you could say, as Berry does, that he’s looking to attract people who might be using Tumblr or WordPress now, but want to be able to blog/publish using a different tool set. The big selling point is that their page will be as dynamic as their social networks/feeds are.

His freemium business model is loosely based on the WordPress version: The basic service is free, and costs $3 a month if you want to use your own URL. He’ll charge corporate customers $3 a week. Later on, he plans to offer some users the ability to integrate sponsorships and e-commerce.


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I’m a giant vat of creative juices.

— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo