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Summary:

Web 2.0 which I define as ability to do a lot more with a lot less inside of a web browser – and the ensuing funding madness has finally started to go global – albeit very slowly. Netvibes, a Paris-based start-up last week raised a million […]

Web 2.0 which I define as ability to do a lot more with a lot less inside of a web browser – and the ensuing funding madness has finally started to go global – albeit very slowly. Netvibes, a Paris-based start-up last week raised a million dollars in angel funding from the likes of Martin Varsavsky, the founder of WiFi network, FON, Pierre Chappaz, founder of Kelkoo and Marc Andressen, founder of Ning.

Netvibes, if you are not familiar with the company, allows you to add small modules of different kinds of information – blog feeds, news feeds, weather reports and financial information etc – and create a “portal” of your own. These Ajaxian-home pages are quite a rage, and you have a virtual potpourri of offerings to choose from: about half a dozen and that’s not including the GYM gang. (See round-up by Richard McManus.) Most if not all are going to flame out, and be forgotten, despite cute names. How many, outside of early adopters are using these services? I bet you not enough!

Netvibes seems to have the most traction in this market, with Pageflakes close behind. Goowy, which does similar things in Macromedia Flash, is running neck-to-neck with Netvibes. Martin on his blog, has about a million users, and the Alexa chart kind of bears that out, to some degree.

Tariq Krim, the founder of Netvibes, called me following the announcement, and we stalked about where his company is going, and what will those million bucks be spent on. “We want to scale the service, and stabilize the platform, so we can roll it out to more users,” Krim says.

Krim said that the original concept of Netvibes came to him, when he wanted to build a little page where he could read all the RSS feeds. And then he add ability to take web notes, and from there is grew. Apparently, a lot of people wanted that service, and when they launched their product as a beta, it grew from zero to 15,000 users. “We grew from a concept into a product in one day,” he says. Krim points out that at present nearly 60 percent of Netvibes users are coming from the US, but that’s changing slowly, as new global users start to use Netvibes. Of course a million dollars buys the company to cook-up a way to make money.

Update: Tariq emailed and point out that, “Alexa doesn’t bring us justice don’t forget that we don’t have only one page (vs tabs on others services one user use many pages). You can check other metrics like reach to see the difference !” Such as daily reach.

  1. They have solid initial growth but one million users? Now way, no how.

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  2. narendra, is there any way we can correlate the reach, page views and rank in alexa. i am having a tough time believing the one million users number a bit hard to believe.

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  3. The Microsoft entry in this space – Live.com is actually very good and has been getting a lot of my attention lately. I’m not sure that any of these smaller players will out live this or the Google ig home page.

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  4. Netvibes doesnt neccessary requires registration to create a homepage. They drop a cookie on the computer everytime a new visitor comes to the site. So 1M # is certainly impressive but I’m guessing it is not 1M “registered users” but more equivalent to 1M unique visits (double counting people that flushes their cookies) since launch. . . 1M cookies created = 1M home pages created = 1M users . . .

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  5. Om, you can compare the reach rank with ranking.websearch.com. Most sites within a industry will have similar alexa reach rank to ranking.websearch.com reach rank. If the ratio is really off for one site they are either big time spammers or if alexa rank is really high they have early adopters, if websearch is really high then they have more mainstream.

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  6. How many active users, do you think, do these companies need to achieve breakeven critical mass?

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  7. I think you are severely underestimating the importance of AJAX desktops. If the web is the platform, then this is a glimpse of the future. Yes, I agree, there is one major flaw: it is for early adopters only. Why? The problem lies with RSS.

    RSS is consistently being hailed as the future, however, I strongly disagree. It has been around for many years now, and it is still not for the mainstream audience– nor will it ever be. People understand services, not feeds. They will never understand it, especially if they won’t go more than 3 clicks to find what they need. If the web is the platform, the future will look like Netvibes– not with feeds, but a page consisting of full fledged services.

    These services won’t be ordinary servces, more specifically mashups. The companies that we see now will serve more as the backbone of the internet. API’s will slowly see a shift in oursourced user interfaces as we are slowly witnessing with RSS (think delicious linkrolls on blogs).

    After all, isn’t the idea to be everywhere your users are? Services like housingmaps.com (which cannot yet make money due to service level agreements) create more value than the individual services themselves. This is what people want– not a feed that updates every so often. I think you will find that Netvibes is going to start a revolution– not flame out.

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  8. markus,

    thanks for the pointer, and well, that page doesn’t seem to be pulling data right now.

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  9. It’s protopage not prototpages, which is why it’s not showing up in your chart. I believe it’s probably #3 or #4. It’s the ugliest of the lot of them, but I actually find it the most useful.

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  10. ted,

    thanks for pointing that out. i just updated the graphic and included goowy.com as well. what i find most interesting is that netvibes.com is clearly ahead of rest of its competitors.

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